CIS, standing for Chartered Institute of Secretaries, is the commonly used brand name for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe (ICSAZ), an Institute of Chartered Secretaries, accountants and governance professionals. The Institute was founded in the United Kingdom in 1891 to promote and advance the efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs. Today, the Institute has divisions globally, and Zimbabwe is one of the nine divisions outside the UK.In Zimbabwe, the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators was incorporated in 1971 by an Act of Parliament, The Chartered Secretaries (Private) Act. CIS is recognised as an accounting qualification in Zimbabwe. As an Institute, CIS is one of the 5 professional accountancy organisations constituting the Public Accountants and Auditors Board (PAAB) and internationally, CIS is a full member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) and a member of Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA).
The entry requirements for those aspiring to study CIS are the normal university entry qualifications, which are five O’ Levels including English Language and Maths/Accounts plus two A Levels. The five O Levels and the two A Levels should be of academic nature (excluding all practical subjects e.g. Fashion and Fabrics, Food and Nutrition, Wood Work, Metal Work, Agriculture, Building etc).
If I have 5 Os with maths/accounts?
In order to cater for those people who have 5 Os with Maths/Accounts but would not have acquired the normal university entry qualification, i.e. 2 A Levels, the Institute introduced a foundation course, which is run under the banner Institute of Business and Accounting Studies (IBAS). The IBAS qualification is accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and has three levels; the Certificate Level, Diploma and Higher Diploma Levels. A person with 5 Os with maths/accounts can start with the IBAS course and migrate to CIS after Diploma level.
If I have 5 Os plus 2A levels?
If you have 5 Os plus 2 A Levels, regardless of your subjects’ combination, you qualify under normal entry to start studying CIS from Part A. As a course, CIS has 18 subjects covered under three Study Levels; the Intermediate Certificate level which has 10 subjects covering Part A and Part B, the Professional Programme 1 or Part C with 4 subjects and another 4 subjects at Professional Programme 2 or Part D.
If I have working experience in accounting and have basic education?
If you have working experience in accounting and have some basic education, you may qualify for special entry or mature entry. To qualify for special entry the applicant must be at least 23 years of age, must also have satisfied a substantial part of the normal education requirements and must have had at least 3 years’ working experience in accounting.
Absolutely! Yes. In fact, the CIS qualification, like any professional course, is intended to marry theory with practice.Actually, students who are employed, especially those employed in relevant positions, are at an advantage in grasping the learning content. The Institute provides self-study modules which students can followand complete within their own time. Students can also attend classes at Trusty Academy and other Institute-accredited colleges in preparation for examinations.
Study period? Generally, for one who starts CIS straight from A Level, the study period averages 2 ½ to 3 years of serious study full time. The period of study varies from student to student depending on 1) the mode of entry i.e. whether one got exemptions or has to study and sit for all 18 subjects, and 2) availability of time to study, preparing for examinations and thus progress in the course. As a general rule, the Institute expects students to complete the examinations within a period of 10 years from the date of first registration but this period can be extended to students on application.
CIS is predominantly an Accountancy qualification with specialisations in Corporate Governance and Company Secretaryship. Our Graduates and Members occupy leadership positions in the administration of organisations across all sectors of the economy as accountants, company secretaries, corporate managers and other governance professional positions.
With an academic qualification like a university accounting degree, you definitely need a course like CIS to be a professional accountant. To practice as an accountant or auditor in Zimbabwe, one must be registered with the Public Accountants and Auditors Board (PAAB) and only members of the five constituent bodies forming PAAB, of which CIS is one, are eligible for registration as Public Accountants or Auditors in Zimbabwe. So with a university degree in Accounting, one still needs to do CIS. At CIS, holders of Accountancy degrees and Higher Diplomas have direct entry to Professional Programme 1, i.e. they will be exempted all subjects at Part A and Part B and start their studies at Part C.This is in recognition of the fact that degree holders would have covered much of the learning content covered at Part A and B and now want professional training.
The CIS qualification is recognised the world over. The course’s curriculum is much broader than a strictly accounting qualification. As a result, our Graduates and Members know more than just accounting and take up leadership roles in the administration of organisations at all levels, across all sectors of the economy. Today’s business requires appropriately trained and versatile persons and the CIS qualification equips people with these requisites.
Chartered Secretaries, as our members are known, can venture into public practice like I have already mentioned, offering diversified accountancy and company secretarial services anywhere in the world including taxation, financial management, business planning and risk management. The CIS qualification equips you with not only accounting but all business skills and knowledge to start and manage any type of business venture.
Chartered Secretaries, because of the breadth and depth of the CIS qualification, are appropriately trained and equipped to manage the affairs of all corporate bodies, private or public. At board level, a company secretary who isa Chartered Secretarywill act as the guardian of the company’s compliance with both the law and best corporate governance practices.Chartered Secretaries are the best Governance Professionals because of the diversified business skills they possess. As an Institute, we participated in the crafting of the National Code on Corporate Governance which was launched recently, and as you may be aware, the Institute runs the Excellence in Corporate Governance Awards which aims to benchmark the corporate governance practices of local companies to internally accepted corporate governance practices. .