B-BBEE certificates and the Accounting Officer

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Accounting officers have played a major role in helping small companies comply with B-BBEE codes. Under the old codes Accounting Officers were required to issue EME certificates confirming turnover and black ownership. However recent amendments to the codes are changing the way accounting officers service EMEs.

Background

The Broad-Based Codes of Good Practice were launched in 2007 and provided a framework for measurement of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in terms of the BEE Act 53 of 2003.

On 11 October 2013 an amendment to the codes was published. The amended codes included a transitional period during which companies could prepare for measurement under the amended codes. The original transitional deadline was 12 October 2014, this deadline was extended on 18 March 2014 to 1 May 2015. All measured entities must use the amended codes as a basis for measurement.

The amended codes applies to Exempt Micro Enterprises (EME), Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSE), and Generic Sized Entities (GSE).

EMEs Old vs New codes

In terms of the previous codes EMEs where required to obtain an EME certificate from an accounting officer stating whether the EME did in fact qualify to be an EME.

In terms of the new codes from 1 May 2015 the verification as an EME is no longer dependent on obtaining a certificate issued by an accounting officer. The thresholds determining whether an entity qualifies as an EME has also been amended.

Under the new amended codes an EME is only required to obtain a sworn affidavit from the owners/manager on an annual basis confirming the following:

  1. Annual total revenue of R10 million or less; and
  2. Level of black ownership

Any misrepresentation in terms of in respect of the above constitutes a criminal offence.

Under the new codes an any enterprise with an annual turn over of R10 million or less qualifies as an EME.

An EME is deemed to have a B-BBEE status of level 4 contributors having a B-BBEE recognition level of 100%. However an EME which is 100% black owned qualifies for elevation to level 1 contributor having a B-BBEE recognition level of 135%. An EME, which is, at least 51% black owned qualifies for elevation to level 2 contributor having a B-BBEE recognition level of 125%.

Verification of QSEs and GSEs may only be performed by either a SANAS accredited verification agency or an IRBA accredited auditor. Accounting officers may not issue verification certificates for these types of entities.

ACCOUNTING OFFICERS UNDER THE NEW CODE

A BAP(SA) may assist a client seeking assisttance with obtaining an EME affidavit and additional confirmation in the following manner

1. Acting as Commissioner of Oath

EMEs will from 1 May 2015 be able to submit an affidavit attesting to its EME status. This affidavit must be taken in front of a Commissioner of Oaths. Accounting Officers that are registered with SAIBA as Business Accountants in Practice (SA) are recognised as Commissioner of Oaths and may therefore assist clients in this manner.

An example affidavit for BBBEE purposes is available here

Steps to performing an oath is available here

2. Issuing EME certificates on a voluntary basis

The new codes only require an entity to submit an affidavit in respect of its EME status. This does not mean that the entity cannot request additional and independent confirmation of its EME status.

An accounting officer may therefore on request of the entity perform the same engagement as was performed under the previous codes, and issue an EME certificate. The accounting officer would have to follow the same rules of engagement as required under the previous codes and enumerated below. All the thresholds and other requirements related to ownership will just have to be amended in line with the new codes. A BAP(SA) has to ensure that the EME certificate is issued in terms of the guidance and rules as issued by SAIBA. This page references the minimum requirements and provides the guides and rules.

In addition to the above requirements a BAP(SA) has to make an annual declaration to SAIBA.

Click here to submit your mandatory annual EME competency declaration

Rules

The accounting officer is required to confirm, as the case may be:

1. Turnover only

That the annual turnover of the above-mentioned entity was less than or equal to R10,000,000-00 (Ten Million Rand) in terms of the most recent annual financial statements.

This cofirms a level 4 status

2. Turnover and the percentage black shareholding of the company

That the annual turnover of the above-mentioned entity was less than or equal to R10,000,000-00 (Ten Million Rand) in terms of the most recent annual financial statements and

That the entity is/is not a level one (1) contributor, and is 100% black owned and have a B-BBEE recognition level of 135% or

That the entity is/is not a level one (2) contributor, and is 51% black owned and have a B-BBEE recognition level of 125%.

Certificates issued by an accounting officer will be issued on his or her letterhead with the practice number and contact number clearly specified on the face of the certificates.

When confirming the validity of such a certificate, the following should be detailed on the face of the certificate:

  1. The accounting officer’s letter head with full contact details
  2. The accounting officer’s practice numbers
  3. The name and the physical location of the measured entity
  4. The registration number and, where applicable, the VAT number of the measured entity
  5. The date of issue and date of expiry
  6. The B-BBEE Status Level of Contribution obtained by the measured entity
  7. The total black shareholding and total black female shareholding
  8. The professional body that they are registered with
  9. The standard used to perform the required work

A SAIBA member that accepts the appointment to issue a B-BBEE certificate for an EME should agree with the EME the nature and extent of the work to be performed. The parties may agree that the service should be conducted in terms of the following engagement principles and standards:

  1. The SAIBA framework for accounting officers reporting engagements, as appropriate to the context
  2. The accounting officer duties as prescribed in the Close Corporation Act, 1984 with necessary amendments to the context
  3. ISRS 4400: Agreed-Upon Procedures

The minimum procedures that an accounting officer will have to perform before issuing an EME certificate are:

  1. Sign an engagement letter with the client
  2. Obtain an understanding of the clients business
  3. Maintain documentation of the engagement
  4. Obtain evidence – click here to view relevant procedures
  5. Review your work
  6. Obtain management representation letter
  7. Issue an appropriate EME report

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