This cross-cultural study examined the career choices of Asian, black and white students at the University of Pretoria to identify the factors motivating Accountancy students to become chartered accountants (CAs), as only 2.5% (609) of 24 308 registered CAs in South Africa in 2005 were black, and only 6% (1573) were Indian. Understanding the attitudes and the perceptions of CA first-year students (identifying key career choice factors) can help course administrators/curriculum designers (the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the Public Accountants and Auditors' Board (PAAB)) to align marketing and recruiting strategies with specific personal occupational preferences of different racial groups enrolled for local CA courses.
Factors such as decision time-frame of career choice, socio-economic background, students' perceptions of the benefits/constraints of the CA profession, and other jobrelated factors, were analysed. Students attributed their career choice to their school Accounting performance. Most chose this career in Grades 8 to 11. All three groups like the availability of employment as a CA. Constraints were the cost of qualifying (according to black students), and the difficulty of qualifying (Asian and white students).