The much-bemoaned state of the audit and accounting professions — laid bare by a growing list of scandals including Steinhoff, Eskom, KPMG, the Guptas and VBS Mutual Bank – has cast a glaring spotlight on the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) own shortcomings.
Hanna Ziady writes in Financial Mail that picture isn’t reassuring. And this has led to a growing number of the institute’s 43,000 members demanding that action be taken against delinquent accountants to protect the brand equity of their own Chartered Accountant of SA — CA (SA) — designation.
Only 10%-15% of Saica members are registered auditors and therefore regulated by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba). The rest are, in effect, self-regulated.
Saica hasn’t questioned “the value of the right to add CA (SA) behind your name,” says Trevor Manuel.
“Is it still cherished? There may have been a time when membership meant something and CAs wore that with pride,” the former finance minister and current Old Mutual chair tells the FM.
“”Ticking boxes and signing declarations is meaningless if this is not backed up with action against transgressors, he says.
The seriousness of the challenge facing Saica goes far beyond a few miffed members, considering that CAs are relied on for everything from corporate valuations to verifying the integrity of state expenditure.
CAs lead a third of SA’s listed companies, according to Saica, which, apart from suffering from a chronic failure to uphold the good name of its members, is beset with its own internal ethical failures.
Late last year, the institute commissioned PwC, its internal auditor, to conduct a forensic investigation into various whistle blowing reports alleging wrongdoing by its own staff members.
Read more on the ethical challenges the insitution and its members are facing at the moment on a variety of fronts
It is worrying that the body tasked with upholding professional standards and integrity among chartered accountants can barely keep its own house in order.
Naturally, Saica sees it differently.
Read more on the variety of opposing views across Saica, its members and the industries they operate in.