CPA course in Kenya – all you need to know

Become a CPA (certified public accountant) can open doors for you in a variety of fields- accounting, auditing, taxation, corporate management, investment banking, business consulting, business finance expert, and more.

Of course, you’ll first need to pursue a CPA course in Kenya to get this crucial certification from KASNEB (The CPA course in Kenya is tested by the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board).

Below is everything you need to know about pursuing the CPA course in Kenya and qualifying as a certified public accountant.

Let’s dive in:

CPA course in Kenya – all you need to know

First thing first: what are the minimum entry requirements to be registered for the course?

Here they are:

CPA course requirements in Kenya

KCSE mean grade: C+ (plus) overall or its equivalent.

Alternative acceptable entry requirements:

You can also be allowed to register with the following qualifications…

A degree from any recognized university OR

Be a holder of KASNEB Accounting Technician Diploma (ATD) course (Or ATC/KATC) or any other KASNEB diploma, technician, or any KASNEB’s professional examination certificate.

That means graduates of KASNEB courses such as DICT (Diploma in Information Communication Technology), DCM (Diploma in Credit Management), CS (Certified Secretaries), and CCP(Certified Credit Professionals) will be accepted.

In addition, KASNEB considers these qualifications for admission into the CPA course:

  • IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) examination- you need to have scored grade C in six papers and have a C in both Mathematics and English.
  • Various certificates/diplomas as might be approved by the examiner. These may include courses like a KNEC Diploma in Accounting and ACCA.

The good thing is that those who apply with various certificates, diplomas, or degrees get exemptions in several papers across various CPA Sections (more on this later) so you’re likely to complete the course in a shorter time.

Your next step if you have met the above entry requirements is registering with KASNEB- registering with KASNEB makes you a member of KASNEB meaning you’ll be allowed to sit for exams in future CPA exam sittings.

So, how should you register with KASNEB?

 

How to Register With KASNEB (how to get KASNEB registration number)

The registration is simple:

  1. Head over to KASNEB website (kasneb.or.ke) and download the new student registration form. Also, download the application for student ID card form. Print the two.
  2. Next, fill in the required details and remember to fix a passport-size photo on the provided slots on both forms.
  3. Attach your transcripts, KCSE results slip/certificate, a copy of your national ID, and every other supporting document.
  4. Now present your documents to KASNEB offices at Upper Hill or your nearest Huduma Center.

Note: Make arrangements to pay the KASNEB registration fee (Kshs.7500) before- the amount (and all other KASNEB monies) can be paid via the KASNEB collection bank accounts listed below (Carry the payment slip with you as you deliver the documents).

KASNEB collection account (how to pay KASNEB fees)

  • Kenya Commercial Bank(KCB)- A/c no. 1203681194
  • National Bank of Kenya (NBK)- A/c no. 01001031572601
  • Equity Bank – A/c no. 0170299238025
  • Post Bank – A/c no. 0744130009246
  • Coop Bank – A/c no. 01129128535900
  • UBA Kenya – A/c no. 55030160004156

How to pay KASNEB fees via MPESA

You can also pay via MPESA as follows:

  • Go to your mpesa menu.
  • Select Lipa-Na-MPESA option.
  • Click on paybill
  • Enter KASNEB business No. 832222
  • Enter the amount payable(Kshs.7500).
  • Enter your normal mpesa pin.
  • An alert is sent to your phone confirming that the fee has been deposited to your KASNEB wallet.

How to pay KASNEB fees via e-KASNEB app

KASNEB encourages students to pay via the e-kasneb app.

Go to PlayStore and download the app then follow the steps in this document to make your payment.

KASNEB Payment Deadline

Now, registration is done twice a year (May and November) and you need to apply for the registration and pay the required amount before the regular deadline.

Traditionally, new applicants should submit their registration documents before 31st May each year (this makes you eligible to enter the November CPA exams) or before 30th November (this makes you eligible to enter the May CPA exams).

Quick tip: If you register for the CPA course in Kenya well ahead of the deadline, KASNEB sometimes offers a significant discount – you may pay just Kshs.6000 instead of kshs.7500. To get the discount, the applicable dates are between 1st October and 31st December (May applicants) and between 1st April and 30th June (November examinations).

After registration, you’ll be allocated an official student registration number- this is sent to you via post office to the postal address you indicated in the registration forms.

Be patient- this can take one to three months to be processed. Your student ID card is also going to be sent a few months after registering successfully. Your syllabus is also sent.

Your next step is booking for your first exam- here there are a couple of things you need to be aware of…

CPA exam fees in Kenya / KASNEB CPA Fee Structure

The exam fee depends on the section you’re booking exam for (each section under the current CPA syllabus has 3 units- refer to the CPA course structure after this section to confirm the units students tackle in each section).

CPA Part I:

  • Section 1-shs..3500
  • Section 2-shs..3500

Total for CPA Part I-shs..7000

*Single paper-shs.1750

CPA Part II:

  • Section 3-shs..6000
  • Section 4-shs..6000

Total for CPA Part II-shs..12000

*Single paper-shs..3000

CPA Part III:

  • Section 5-shs..9000
  • Section 6-shs..9000

Total for CPA Part III -shs..18000

*Single paper-shs..4500

CPA exam payment deadline

The CPA Exams are usually booked by 15th of March (for May exams) and 15th September (November exams).

That is the official KASNEB deadline for exam registration although the examiner may extend it by a few days from time to time.

 

Other CPA Course Fees in Kenya / CPA fees in Kenya

  • Registration renewal fees– This is paid annually by 1st July to renew your KASNEB membership. The amount payable is shs..2000. Remember you cannot sit for exams without paying any renewal fee arrears. Actually, failure to pay for the renewal fee for three consecutive years may make your membership to lapse.
  • Registration reactivation fees- This is set at shs.4000 and the amount is paid by students who allowed their membership to expire as explained above.
  • ID replacement fees– You are required to pay shs..500 to receive a new student ID if you have misplaced your original KASNEB ID card.
  • Exemption fees- As explained earlier, students who apply for CPA with an acceptable certificate, diploma, or degree course will be exempted from certain units. The catch is: you have to pay for each paper you’re exempted in. The exemption fee is shs.2500, shs.3500, and shs.4500 per paper for exempted papers in Part I, Part II, and Part III respectively.
  • Sale of KASNEB materials- You may additionally purchase a CPA syllabus or/and past KASNEB exam papers at shs.500 (for the syllabus) and shs.200 per set of the three papers in one CPA section.

 

CPA course structure in Kenya / CPA Course Units in Kenya

The CPA is at the moment divided into three parts, each with 2 sections. You take 3 units in each section so to become a CPA(K) holder, you have to pass a total of 18 subjects/units.

Here are the units and the overall structure of the CPA course in Kenya:

CPA Part I

Section 1

  • CA11- Financial Accounting
  • CA12- Business Law
  • CA13- Entrepreneurship and Communication

Section 2

  • CA21- Economics
  • CA22- Management Accounting
  • CA23- Public Finance & Taxation

 

CPA Part II

Section 3

  • CA31- Company Law
  • CA32- Financial Management
  • CA33- Financial Reporting

Section 4

  • CA41- Auditing and Assurance
  • CA42- Management Information Systems
  • CA43- Quantitative Analysis

 

CPA Part III

Section 5

  • CA51- Strategy, Governance, & Ethics
  • CA52- Advanced Management Accounting
  • CA53- Advanced Financial Management

Section 6

  • CA61- Advanced Public Finance and Taxation
  • CA62- Advanced Auditing and Assurance
  • CA63-Advanced Financial Reporting

Quick Note: You’re awarded a certificate for each part (and not per section). Only a result notification is issued to prove you have passed its exam.

Remember that you can pursue 2 sections simultaneously and eventually be allowed to take their exams as long as they’re in the same part.

For instance, you can book for KASNEB exams in both sections 1 &2 at the same time. Similarly, you can register for both sections 3 &4 exams under the current rules.

By taking double sections each time, you can complete your CPA course in Kenya in three sittings (18 months) instead of the normal 3 years.

You cannot, however, be permitted to book for units taken in section 2 and section 3 concurrently since they’re in different parts.

In other words, you have to pass one part before progressing to the next.

Don’t forget the other way of shortening the time it takes to finish the course is by applying for the relevant exemptions when registering.

ALSO READ: CPA Kenya exemptions (for all courses)

 

CPA pass mark in Kenya

The pass mark is typically 50%. Put simply, you must attain a score of 50% in every paper for you to pass your section exam.

If you don’t reach this mark in one or two units, you will be awarded a credit score overall – you therefore have to retake the failed paper(s) (and pass) at an upcoming exam sitting to complete the section.

Note that you are deemed to have failed the section if you fail to reach 50% in all the three units in a section and you will need to retake everything at a future date!

How many times can you retake the CPA exam Kenya?

You have 6 consecutive sittings to retake (and pass the paper). Each sitting –starting with the sitting that comes immediately after the sitting you failed a paper- is counted whether you have booked for the exam or not.

Here is the most worrying part- if by the sixth sitting you’re yet to pass the referred paper(s), KASNEB downgrades your credit to a FAIL so you must retake all the three papers in the relevant section.

Joining a CPA college vs self-study

To help you prepare for the CPA exams -the exam needs thorough preparation to pass- you can opt to join one of the CPA colleges in Nairobi or choose to study privately.

If you take the latter route, look for quality and updated study materials for the section(s) you are booking exam for.

You can purchase study packs online or even buy study videos from providers such as Manifested Publishers.

But if you’d rather have a professional CPA trainer holding your hand, you can shop around for a good college to join.

If in Nairobi, consider colleges such as:

  • Summit Institute of Professionals.
  • Royal Business School.
  • KCA university- a CPA course in KCA University (or universities such as Strathmore) can go hand in hand with your degree if you’re still a University student.

Another viable option is attending Online CPA Classes in Kenya (read about where to study for CPA online in Kenya in this article)

 

How long does the CPA course take?

So, how long does it take to study CPA in Kenya?

Well, it will take you 3 years to become a CPA-K holder (if you take the exams for one section at a time) and 1 ½ years (if you combine the exams for two sections in each sitting).

Of course, each section is scheduled to be studied for 6 months

Take into account that the assumption is that you’ll pass all the papers in the first attempt.

If you don’t, the course will take longer because you have to pass all referred papers before progressing.

 

CPA salary in Kenya – how much can I earn?

On average, CPAs start with the following salary scale depending on how far they have progressed into the course:

  • CPA-K holders- the starting range is between Kshs.35000 to Kshs.50000 in most organizations. The amount usually rises after working for about 2 years.
  • CPA Part II holders- Those with part II (and no other papers) earn between Kshs. 25000 to Kshs.35000
  • CPA Part I holders- CPA Part I holders earn anything between Kshs.15000 to Kshs.20000 at the beginning.

Keep in mind that these are just estimates in both public and private organizations.

Needless to say, organizations such as NGOs and some blue-chip companies tend to start fresh CPAs with higher pay.

 

Is CPA marketable in Kenya?

Well, while CPA graduates do not get absorbed as fast as they used to be some years ago (there are more CPA graduates nowadays), the course still has great opportunities in Kenya particularly if you match it up with other in-demand qualifications.

Traditionally, the Business Degree+CPA(K) was a hotcake but the trend has changed significantly over the years due to reasons such as technology taking over some of the jobs CPAs would do like computing taxes.

These days, a CPA course in Kenya is more marketable if combined with courses such as Computer Science again because of technological factors.

For instance, forward thinking organizations find it difficult to fill positions like Information System Auditor (This requires CPA+ IT/Computer Science degree+ CISA certification) to help them audit, monitor, control, and assess the information technology/business systems.

Another course that can make you more attractive to employers with a CPA is Forensic Accounting- you’ll need a degree in fields like Computer science or Statistics/Mathematics along with qualifications such as CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor), CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), or CIA (Certified Internal Auditor).

And so you may take that direction.

The other potentially lucrative alternative is starting your own consultancy firm specializing in areas such as taxation, investment advisory (people want to know how they can invest to retire young), computerized accounting systems (selling and consulting on accounting software), and auditing (you target small businesses that cannot afford to hire a fulltime auditor).

That’s doesn’t mean that there are no normal jobs- I usually see employers advertise conventional jobs for CPAs such as internal auditor and accountant.

However, you can be sure that the competition is quite tough and its best to come up with out-of-the-box ways to make yourself marketable as a CPA holder.

 

CPA vs ACCA Kenya – which is better?

In our opinion, none of the two courses is better than the other.

To start with, CPA is essentially more recognized by Kenyan employers and there are more CPA jobs in Kenya than ACCA jobs.

That said, some multinationals ask for an ACCA qualification so it still has its place.

It is also important to note that the two courses follow different structures although the ACCA seems slightly more flexible- for example, ACCA doesn’t have a fixed entry requirement and the only major condition is that you must be able to communicate proficiently in English.

Also, the number of units taken in each course is different not to mention that there’s a requirement that you must attend practical attachment when pursuing ACCA unlike in CPA- not much emphasis is put on the practical attachment bit by KASNEB (please ensure you go for attachment before you complete the CPA course anyway!).

Still on the same topic, the cost of pursuing an ACCA qualification is higher than that of completing the CPA- the exam fee and other ACCA charges are more than what KASNEB levies.

In a nutshell, you need to do your homework adequately before deciding on one over the other.

 

How do I contact Kasneb?

Use the following KASNEB contacts for further assistance:

Telephone: 020 4923000/ 0722 201 214 /0734 600 624 /020 2712640/020 2712828

Email: info@kasneb.or.ke

Website: http://www.kasneb.or.ke/

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2PeyFZN

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/Officialkasneb (Send Message)

 

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CPA John Gitahi is a former college lecturer and has been involved in education all his life. He's passionate about helping young people make great career choices. He studied Commerce and ICT at the University and runs several successful online entreprises. He is also an avid traveller.

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