FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 

This FAQ aims to inform and update members and stakeholders about the current state of what SAICA is doing to address allegations of improper conduct against CAs(SA) in an effort to restore trust in the profession.

NOCLAR

In line with the changes to the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (IESBA Code), the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct (the Code) has been updated to include new ethics requirements and guidance relating to responding to non-compliance with laws and regulations (NOCLAR).

The new NOCLAR provisions are effective as from 15 July 2017 and apply to all SAICA members and associates, whether in public practice providing professional services to clients, or whether in business carrying out professional activities for an employing organisation. The NOCLAR provisions establish a comprehensive response framework that guides members and associates in terms of the factors to consider and the steps to be taken when they become aware of NOCLAR or suspected NOCLAR. SAICA believes that these changes are a significant development in positioning the chartered accountancy profession to play a positive role in the fight against non-compliance and the adverse activities that often stem from it, such as financial fraud, corruption, money laundering, etc. This is expected to drive positive behaviour by SAICA members and associates, which in turn will impact on the behaviour of their clients and employing organisations, as applicable.

NOCLAR stands for “Non-compliance with laws and regulations”. In the context of the Code, NOCLAR comprises acts of omission or commission, intentional or unintentional, committed by a client or by the CA(SA)’s employing organisation, or by those charged with governance, by management or by other individuals working for or under the direction of a client or the employing organisation which are contrary to the prevailing laws and regulations.

The NOCLAR provisions have been incorporated in, and form an integral part of the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct (SAICA Code). The SAICA Code is applicable to all SAICA members and associates, as well as trainee accountants under registered training contracts. Furthermore, CAs(SA) who are registered as Registered Auditors (RAs) with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) are also required to comply with the IRBA Code of Professional Conduct for Registered Auditors (IRBA Code).

It is important to note that the NOCLAR provisions apply to all members and associates, irrespective of role or function. Therefore, it applies to members and associates in public practice providing professional services to clients and those in business performing professional activities for an employing organisation.

In line with the opening statement in the SAICA Code, namely “A distinguishing mark of the accountancy profession is its acceptance of the responsibility to act in the public interest”, these provisions give recognition that in the appropriate circumstances further action may be required in the public interest in responding to NOCLAR. The requirements clarify that turning a blind eye to potential NOCLAR is not an appropriate response from SAICA members and associates, while placing renewed emphasis on the roles of management and those charged with governance (TCWG) of organisations who have the primary responsibility to ensure that business is conducted in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

The objectives of the CA(SA) or SAICA associate are to comply with the fundamental principles of integrity and professional behaviour by alerting management and, where applicable, TCWG about the matter to seek to enable them to take appropriate action to rectify, remediate or mitigate the consequences of the identified or suspected non-compliance, or deter the commission of the non-compliance where it has not yet occurred, and to take such further action as appropriate in the public interest.

Further action could, among other actions, include the reporting of a matter to an appropriate authority under the appropriate circumstances, despite the absence of a legal obligation to do so, and without being limited by the ethical duty of confidentiality. Disclosing a matter to an appropriate authority would be at the end stage of the process in relation to serious identified or suspected NOCLAR, after consideration of a range of factors, including the appropriateness of the response of management and, where applicable, TCWG.

However, when applying the NOCLAR response framework, the CA(SA) or SAICA associate must still comply with the law and should not take any action that is contrary to the law. This would include considering whether specific legislation in the circumstances already imposes a reporting obligation, whether there are any laws or regulations that may preclude the reporting of a matter and whether there will be protection from criminal, civil or professional liability for communicating or reporting a matter.

Visit the SAICA NOCLAR Apart from the Code and related publications, members and associates are also able to access additional resources relating to NOCLAR.