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Saica taking steps to restore reputation following accounting scandals

Accountability will shape the culture, governance processes.

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants has come under a great deal of flack after a number of its professionals were found wanting in the exercise of their audit function in the last number of years. This is on the back of scandals in relation to state capture with the Guptas in the mix, Steinhoff and other corporate scandals.

Ryk van Niekerk caught up with Saica’s new CEO Freeman Nomvalo to find out how he plans to restore the chartered accountancy profession to its former glory.

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Wow, he managed to speak a lot without saying anything. The only time he answered adequately was regarding the failure rates at the end.

Well, the bad news is that SAICA is not the only thing in SA that needs to be ‘restored to its former glory’. In fact, I’m struggling to think of anything that has not been on a steep downward trend.

“nothing has changed in the way we train…”
errr, no:

The profession peaked at a time when:
‣Most CA’s were not graduates but had a “CTA” — Certificate in the Theory of Accounting.
‣ Articles were five years
‣ Bookkeeping was in books, not computers, where the transactions and audit trail were visible.
‣ Small companies required audits, creating work and experience for clerks and providing variety or experience and interaction with client decision-makers.
‣ The profession was more concerned with quality than “transformation”/AA/BEE

‣ No-one had made a movie with the meme “Greed is Good”
‣ The disconnect between owners (shareholders) and managers was not as great
‣ “Investors” (mutuals, pension funds, speculators) and assorted screen jockeys were not demanding homogenised numbers to crunch in spreadsheets
‣ The “Big Four” were the “Big Eight” with less billing pressure on partners
‣ SAICA does not have the power to subpoena witnesses or accused or to force them to testify under oath. (SAICA should lobby government to fix this)

Some of this is obviously outside the control of the profession, but SAICA has failed to act, particularly in calling out moral lapses or opposing the Corruptheid culture which has become pervasive in SA.

But even naming and shaming crooks is not enough in SA, as the ANC’s Parliamentary List demonstrates.

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