Moneyweb reports the number of accountants being investigated by professional bodies is through the roof as the profession tries to arrest the reputational carnage wrought by a string of corporate scandals.
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) is investigating 265 accountants, more than four times the whole of 2013. The Southern African Institute for Business Accountants (Saiba) likewise reports a spike in investigations, driven in part by a growing awareness of the responsibility accountants have to report wrongdoing. A swirl of negative press reports highlighting the enabling role of accountants in mismanagement and fraud, both in the public and private sectors, has a lot to do with the recent investigatory zeal.
Trust in the profession dive-bombed after a string of accounting-related scandals, from state-owned companies to Steinhoff and VBS Bank. Some of those under investigation include big names such as VBS Bank former CEO Andile Ramavhunga and Eskom’s former chief financial officer Anoj Singh.
Addressing Saica in June, former finance minister Trevor Manuel said SA’s accountants had become too comfortable being ranked number one in the world. Even the Guptas got in on the act, using their money to purchase an audit firm with the presumed intention of coming up with the kind of audits results that would escape more serious scrutiny.
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