Johannesburg, 01 August 2018 – The accountancy profession has been under various forms of challenges and in the spotlight for some time and this necessitated the need to review the purpose, relevance and governance processes of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) to deliver on its mandate and stakeholders’ expectations.
At the SAICA Annual General Meeting held on 26 June 2018, the SAICA Board announced it would initiate a thorough governance review of the organisation with the intention of rebuilding public trust in the profession and re-establishing the reputation of the CA(SA) brand. The Board also committed to reviewing the constituent nature in which the Board was appointed and also aligning the Board composition with the relevant standards of Corporate Governance. This is to ensure that SAICA continues to add value and sustain the Institute’s relevance to its members and all the other stakeholders who rely on the chartered accountancy profession.
Since then, SAICA has appointed Professor Mervyn King, world-renowned corporate governance specialist and chairman of the King Committee on Corporate Governance and lead author of the Institute’s integrated reporting guidelines, to advise and lead the governance review. Professor King is highly regarded for his work advising corporates and professional services bodies, including international auditing and accounting member institutions. Professor King has assisted with similar reviews of accounting and other organisations to ensure they remain relevant and are able to respond to societal and regulatory demands for improved governance and increased transparency.
On Saturday 28 July 2018, Professor King led a workshop at SAICA’s head office which was attended by over 50 people representing SAICA’s major stakeholders. These included the SAICA Board, its Advisory Council, chairpersons of regional Board committees, as well as the senior management team.
The meeting produced robust debate about the issues and challenges facing the profession. There was widespread concern that recent events impacting negatively on the profession should not be allowed to irreversibly taint the reputation of members who are adding substantial value to the economy and society. It was also noted that SAICA needed to further consider the broader range of challenges to the profession ranging from the impact of new technology, to maintaining relevant education and standards, and the respect accorded to members by the broader spectrum of stakeholders who rely on the value delivered by members.
The workshop concluded that SAICA’s purpose would be premised on three important principles, namely: ensuring quality, trust and integrity in the chartered accountancy profession. Not only is this in the public interest, but it is also vital in guaranteeing the continued value and relevance of the CA(SA) designation, which remains of paramount importance for all current and future members.
Another important step in rebuilding trust in the designation as a guarantor of trust in the profession is to align SAICA’s governance structures with the highest standards of corporate governance. “SAICA needs to embrace the impetus for change and use this as an opportunity to build a member organisation that is not only fit for today but also for where the profession needs to be”, stated SAICA Board Chairman Lwazi Bam. The meeting resolved to establish a task team of senior and respected members of the profession to work with Professor King as Phase 1 of SAICA’s governance review. This task team will comprise members of the Advisory Board Council as well as respected external leaders and corporate governance specialists. The focus of Phase 1 will be:
- Redrafting the sections of the SAICA Constitution relating to the composition of the Board. The objective will be to establish a balanced Board in line with current guidelines on good corporate governance.
- Consulting with SAICA members on the outcomes of this process before making final recommendations. The task team will be engaging members throughout the country on a series of roadshows to be held from August to October 2018.
Upon completion of this review and the resultant proposed amendments to the constitution, it is anticipated that a new diversified SAICA Board will be appointed by the provisional targeted date of 30 November 2018. This new Board will be tasked with leading the final phase of the governance review which is to undertake a fundamental review of the rest of the SAICA Constitution as well as its by-laws and the disciplinary processes. Their role will be to ensure buy-in and support for common purpose and vision for SAICA and to ensure that the Institute take considered steps to adequately future-proof the value and relevance of the chartered accountancy profession.
The task team is required to report back to the Board and members throughout the various stages of the process. Calling on members to participate in the roadshows and provide input to the task team, Fanisa Lamola, SAICA Acting CEO, said: “We have made good strides on the journey we outlined to members at the AGM in June and look forward to receiving members’ input during the roadshows.”
SAICA, South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 46 000 members and associates who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], as well as associate general accountants (AGAs(SA)) and accounting technicians (ATs(SA)), who hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in every sphere of commerce and industry, and who play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.
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