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A new pathway for professional development

AFROSAI-E and CREFIAF, the linguistic regional organisations in the AFROSAI community, are two of the partner organisations who have established the African Professionalisation Initiative (API). The API is about to launch its eagerly anticipated “Accelerated Learning” programme. The programme is an online, problem-based, professional development learning offering which targets SAI financial auditors and public finance officials who do not have a formal accountancy qualification. In this article we will share why the programme matters, why it can be trusted and the value it will bring SAIs.

Why it matters

The API’s vision, as articulated in its recently published Strategy Plan for 2021-2023, is :

“an African public sector capacitated with competent, ethical and influential professionals who support accountability, transparency and good financial governance.”

In INTOSAI, we recognise ‘Competent People” as one of the four fundamentals of SAI professionalism.TWEET This new API learning programme will provide incumbent SAI auditors (and senior public financial management officials in the wider public sector) with an opportunity to build their professional competence in public financial management and its related subject areas. In the spirit of the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee’s guidance on developing pathways for professional development of auditors in a SAI, the programme is designed to form part of an auditor’s pathway to obtaining a professional qualification in their country.

In summary: the learning programme can lead to greater competence and professional recognition.

Why is professional recognition important? When an auditor holds a professional designation from a professional accountancy organisation (PAO), the SAI can be confident that the auditor has been through a comprehensive process of initial professional development and that they will be accountable for:

  1. their adherence to the profession’s code of ethics;
  2. conducting their work in accordance with relevant professional standards, including the ISSAIs; and
  3. their commitment to life-long learning.

The API’s Accelerated Learning programme is designed to build the competence of the learner where they need the most support. Learners are fast-tracked through topics where they are already competent, allowing them to focus on gaps in their knowledge and skills.

Thanks to the generous funding support provided by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (under the International Federation of Accountants PAO Capacity Building programme), the content will be offered at a fraction of the cost of similar learning programmes.

Why it can be trusted

The API has followed a comprehensive due process in the development of the learning programme, under the oversight of its Academic Advisory Committee (AAC). The AAC is composed of public financial management, accounting, auditing and education experts from across Africa. The core development work was outsourced to IASeminars, a consultancy, that established robust internal quality assurance processes for the project. The combined efforts of the AAC, IASeminars and the API secretariat meant that each piece of the learning journey was subjected to careful interrogation to ensure it: (a) supports the development of the respective competencies and learning objectives; (b) meets the needs of the target audience; and (c) is designed to maximise learning.

The content has been further tested by a group of pilot learners, including several SAI auditors. Their feedback on the learning programme has been overwhelmingly positive and they have helped us to improve the content where required.

The API, through its partner the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA), is working with PAOs to enable them to recognise the learning programme as a substantial component of an accelerated pathway for experienced public financial management officials and auditors to obtain a professional accountancy qualification. The programme has been designed to allow PAOs or other stakeholders to easily integrate relevant country content into the API’s core content. Through the API Learning platform, learners will work through core content and country content in a seamless experience.

A value-adding opportunity for SAIs

The learning programme covers topics which are of increasing relevance to SAI financial auditors. These include a suite of financial reporting modules which take the learner from the basics of double entry accounting to a deep understanding of how financial statements are produced under IPSAS (cash and accrual basis) or IFRS. Other modules cover topics including public financial management, performance management, ethics, public sector auditing and much more.  A complete list of modules is available here.

It is worth noting that this learning programme is different but complementary to the forthcoming PESA programme from the INTOSAI Development Initiative. The API considers the two programmes to be complementary components of a professional development pathway for SAI auditors.

The API’s accelerated learning programme will launch near the end of June 2021. Anyone will be able to purchase access to the programme for a nominal fee, but SAIs are encouraged to work in partnership with their local PAO to ensure auditors completing the programme will be recognised for their achievement.

Interested SAIs and other stakeholders are encouraged to reach out to the API via Please also follow on us on LinkedIn or visit our website where the launch of the accelerated learning programme will be announced later this month.


By Bruce Vivian

Senior Manager: Professionalisation – African Professionalisation Initiative (API)