012 346 3234 info@davisdean.co.za

Accounting Technician: Public Sector

About the Course

The Public Finance Management Act (1999) (PFMA) and Treasury Regulations (TR) have raised the bar for financial management in the public sector. These financial management regulations require finance practitioners with practical skills and competencies.

The AT(SA) qualifications are competence based and are defined by the current and future business needs. Qualified accounting technicians with an internationally recognised qualification, make a valuable contribution to organisational, national and economic success within the Public Sector.

This Accounting Qualification gives learners access to develop within the accounting field. Every senior accountant needs the support of skilled, competent accounting technicians to undertake the more routine and operational work. Those holding the qualification can work in all sectors of the economy in a number of positions, including accounts clerk, wages clerk, accounts assistant, sales ledger clerk, tax assistant and bookkeeper. The focus of this qualification is Public Sector and more specifically National and Provincial Departments. Many graduates progress to more senior roles in the accounts field and move on to hold positions such as Financial Controller and Accounts Manager.

The NQF Level 4 qualification progresses from the NQF Level 3 and is intended to provide skills and companies at a more complex level. This enables graduates to develop into supervisory and junior management accounting roles.

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Program Outline

1. Communication and Supervision.

Communication and supervision skills required to operate effectively as a member of an accounting team.

Performance criteria

  • Prepare a written memorandum to stakeholders requesting clarity and information
  • Prepare external reports in the given format observing confidentiality requirements
  • Plan the work flow for the component to ensure all timeframes are met
  • Delegate the work in accordance with organisational policies and procedures
  • Supervise the completion of the work
  • Review the work performed and provide feedback
  • Assess staff performance

2. Use Of Technology in Accounting.

Use of technology to process accounting transactionsand the use of computer software to support the accounting function in    a department to improve effectiveness and efficiencies Performance criteria

  • Create new workbooks and worksheets
  • Perform spreadsheet functions to assist with performing accounting functions
  • Format spreadsheets to assist with performing accounting functions
  • Protect spreadsheets for safeguarding of information
  • Use appropriate file names and filing protocol to organise electronic data
  • Explain the difference between manual accounting records and computerized accounting records
  • Identify the difference between standard software packages and customized accounting systems
  • Discuss the computerised accounting packages used in the public sector and the purpose of these systems
  • Explain the functions of the users required to process transactions
  • Review input forms to ensure it has been correctly completed
  • Document the functionality of the accounting system

Request the appropriate reports for different reporting requirements

3. Professional Ethics

The ethical duties and responsibilities necessary and the knowledge required to underpin ethical practice in this sector. Performance criteria

  • Highlight situations within accounting work that require objectivity and fairness, and where judgements and actions could compromise personal or organisational integrity and reputation
  • Recognise and explain why certain types of information should be regarded as confidential
  • Identify circumstances when it would be appropriate to disclose confidential information
  • Identify the key issues which ensure accounting work is performed within the scope of professional ethics guidance
  • Identify appropriate ethical behaviour when interacting with others in a variety of circumstances
  • Refer and seek advice from relevant sources for issues beyond own competence
  • Discuss, agree and resolve ethical conflicts
  • Describe the cultural values within organisations which support and promote high ethical values and helps resolve any conflict of loyalties
  • Resolve conflicting loyalties where an employer may ask you to perform tasks which are illegal, unethical or against the rules or standards of the accounting
  • Follow appropriate procedures where you believe a colleague has or will commit an act which you believe to be illegal or unethical
  • Respond appropriately to requests to work outside of the confines of your own accounting experience
  • Identify and apply the fundamental principles of honesty and integrity

4. Preparation of Reconciliations and Trail Balance

Preparation of reconciliations to ensure valid, accurate, correctly classified and complete financial records and to prepare a trial balance.

Performance criteria

  • Correctly identify and record all transactions in control and suspense accounts
  • Correctly calculate and record entries and adjustments in the appropriate records
  • Identify the records to which the control suspense accounts to be reconciled
  • Complete the reconciliation between the control and suspense accounts and the appropriate records
  • Ensure that the legislation and the organisation’s policies and procedures relating to control accounts and suspense accounts are adhered to
  • Identify discrepancies and either resolve or refer to the appropriate person if outside own authority
  • Identify adjusting entries required and prepare appropriate journal entries
  • Report on the control and suspense accounts and the related reconciliation
  • Differentiate between a trial balance and an adjusted trial balance
  • Understand the structure of the trial balance
  • Prepare a trial balance from the general ledger
  • Close off the accounting period

Make the relevant adjusting journal entries in preparation for the adjusted trial balance

5. Preparation of Financial Statements

Prepare the adjusted trial balance Understand the concepts related to financial statements and the preparation of a simple set of financial statements on the accrual basis of accounting. Performance criteria

  • Understand the purpose of financial statements for different users
  • Differentiate amongst the different components within a set of financial statements
  • Discuss the elements of financial statements
  • Discuss the principles related to the presentation of financial statements
  • Determine when to recognise, measure and record elements in the financial statements
  • Understand the process for the preparation of financial statements
  • Prepare a simple set of financial statements from an adjusted trial balance
  • Calculate certain ratios
  • Understand the different frameworks for the preparation of financial statements

6. Recovery of Debtors

How to record a debt, determine interest to be charged, payment terms, follow up procedures and the reporting of debtors.

Performance criteria

  • Identify the nature of debtors that the organization may incur
  • Know in which circumstances to charge interest
  • Apply the different methods of interest calculations
  • Compute payment terms
  • Use debt recovery methods appropriate to the circumstances of individual cases and in accordance with the organisation’s procedures
  • Calculate the ageing of debtors
  • Report on the status of the collection of debtors
  • Assess the recoverability of debtors
  • Communicate with relevant individuals within the organization on long outstanding debtors and recoverability of debtors
  • Identify inter-governmental transactions byreviewing source documentation
  • Record inter-governmental transactions on the accounting system and using the correct SCOA allocations
  • Reconcile inter-governmental accounts to supporting documentation
  • Complete confirmations of inter governmental accounts
  • Investigate and correct discrepancies
  • Calculate the ageing of inter-governmental transactions
  • Communicate with appropriate individuals in the department and the other government entities

Report on inter-governmental balances

7. Budget Preparation and Monitoring

How to prepare a budget, using different budgeting and costing concepts.

The monitoring of actuals against budgets is also addressed. The budgeting process andconcepts in the public sector is discussed, including unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Performance criteria

  • Explain and apply budgeting concepts
  • Understand costing concepts and how these impact the budget preparation
  • Prepare a budget using different budgeting concepts
  • Document rationale and assumptions used in the budget preparation
  • Present the budget and rationale used to appropriate individuals in the organisation
  • Compare the actuals to the budget and calculate variances
  • Analyse the variances between actual and budget
  • Present the comparison and analysis of the actuals against the budget
  • Explain the public sector budgeting process
  • Differentiate amongst the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved in the budgeting process
  • Discuss the framework and concepts for budgeting in the public sector
  • Analyse an MTEF budget
  • Define and differentiate unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure
  • Understand the policy and procedures for unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure
  • Compile the registers for unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure



To ensure ongoing professional development, this qualification leads to membership of AT(SA). In addition to Professional Body Membership, members are provided with support, advice and learning interventions. This helps to reinforce the skills and competencies required to perform optimally within their roles and advance their careers over time.