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UP-TO-DATE: CPD platform changes

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CPD platform changes

SAICA is excited to announce that the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) system will be migrating from the current CPD website to be hosted by on Click2Start on the SAICA website.

This change means that, with effect from 1 June 2013, you will no longer answer the CPD questions on the current CPD website. All CPD questions from April 2013 and onwards will be loaded onto the new system. A document with instructions on how to use the new system will be sent to all readers via a bulk email and will also be made available on Accountancy SA, Integritax and Click2Start websites.

For more information contact:

Accountancy SA: Mpho Netshivhambe – 011 621 6724 /mphoh@saica.co.za;
Integritax: Njabulo Mngomezulu 011 621 6965 /njabulom@saica.co.za

Growing need for public sector auditors
The results of the 2012 Public Practice Examination (PPE) showed an improved pass rate of 76% from the previous year (2011: 74%).
In an awards ceremony for the top 10 PPE candidates, Bernard Agulhas, CEO of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), said that despite the pleasing progress achieved, there is still a severe shortage of black auditors.

The number of black African PPE candidates has risen from 481 in 2008 to 570 in 2012, with the pass rate rising from 204 to 331 over the same period. The IRBA views this transformation as a national imperative because auditors protect the public by providing assurance about the accuracy and reliability of financial statements.

Recent findings from the Auditor General regarding the 2011-12 audit outcomes of national and provincial government, revealed a declining number of public entities with clean audits. Less than a quarter received clean audit opinions.

The AG’s report showed that a root cause of the poor audit outcomes was the failure to perform requisite internal control and assurance. It was also revealed that R102 billion was paid to consultants over a three year period to help departments perform their duties.

CORPORATES SITTING ON CASH

Despite stories of South African companies sitting on “piles of cash” and being reluctant to invest in the local economy, a closer look at the data reveals that companies actually have far less cash on hand, according to Rian le Roux, chief economist at Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa.

An examination of the SA Reserve Bank deposit data by le Roux showed that, rather than the total R1.34 trillion held as bank deposits by non-financial companies as at the end of November 2012, “true” non-financial corporate deposits were only R578 billion,
or 43% of this total.

The remaining R762 billion was mainly deposits held with banks by fund managers and unit trusts (including money market unit trusts). “The most common interpretation is that this ‘cash pile’ is evidence of the private sector’s unwillingness to invest in the economy”, noted le Roux.

Numbers to remember

Career Suite offers job seekers an all-in-one, easy to use online platform to post their CVs where it’s sure to be seen by the right people, plot their next career move and even manage their entire career journey. At the same time, it provides recruiters, employers and professional service providers with access to the best recruits in the business. Visit www.careersuite.co.za to upload your CV or start browsing candidates.

Africa and global growth

A Fin24 report notes that according to recent IMF data, sub-Saharan Africa should have 5.6% growth in 2013. McKinsey & Co said in a recent report that Africa has the world’s fastest growing population and booming consumer demand – not natural resources – would drive growth. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook predicts that economic activity in Africa’s reinvigorated economies will ‘remain robust’ this year and next.

The Economic Times supports this, stating that resource-rich economies like Nigeria (7.2%) and growing lower-income economies like Mozambique (8.4%) are expected to lead the way.

Source: Africa Business Brief

Merger of equals

Grant Thornton and PKF in Johannesburg have announced on 6 May 2013 that they will merge the two significant mid-tier assurance and business advisory offices to create a formidable professional services firm in the city of gold.

The merger is effective 1 July 2013, when PKF Johannesburg will officially become part of the Grant Thornton Johannesburg member firm and Grant Thornton South Africa.

This is hot on the heels of another recent two-way merger when TIS/Fintis and Rebahale, two black-owned professional services firms, merged with Grant Thornton South Africa in March 2013 to enhance its position in the public sector, underlining the firm’s commitment to continuing transformation.

The new CEO of Grant Thornton Johannesburg will be Andrew Hannington. Jeanette Hern who plays a significant leadership role in Grant Thornton will assume the role of deputy CEO in Johannesburg. “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to work with a firm with similar goals and truly well aligned cultures, coupled with a global force to be reckoned with,” says Andrew Hannington. “This is a merger of equals. It unifies the strengths and specialised expertise of each entity resulting in a formidable firm which will be unparalleled in the mid-tier market.”

The merger will entrench Grant Thornton’s position as 5th in South Africa (ranked by fee income) according to the November 2012 International Accounting Bulletin (IAB) SA survey.

Jeanette Hern, deputy CEO elect, says, “For our businesses, today’s merger of equals forms the next step in our national strategic growth plans. The new combined Johannesburg staff complement of over 500 enhances our capacity and will be beneficial to our clients. The merger is not expected to have any impact on staff numbers and will bolster the South African firm with a national staff complement of over 900.”

Both firms have ‘growth’ as a key strategy and the merger will see the Grant Thornton tagline – An instinct for growth – continue to inform the way in which we deliver our client service – a commitment to which we passionately adhere.

The merged offices will operate as Grant Thornton Johannesburg within the national network. Other PKF offices in South Africa will continue to trade under the PKF name and will not be part of the merger at this stage.

Samsung Galaxy S4

This sleek and innovative smartphone makes every moment of life very meaningful; it understands the value of relationships, enabling true connections with friends and family; it believes in the importance of effortless experience, making your life easy
and hassle-free.

The real beauty of the phone is the highly crafted design encompassing a larger screen size and battery, minimised bezel; all housed in the light (130g) and slimmer (136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm) shape. Samsung GALAXY S4 is less to hold yet more to see, being made from polycarbonate, a durable, scratch resistant yet lightweight material, making it ideal for everyday use.

The GALAXY S4 has the world’s first Full HD Super AMOLED display to showcase images at their very best. Its 5-inch large screen crams in 441 pixels per inch for stunning viewing quality.

GALAXY S4 also utilises S Travel – a durable travel companion for all of life’s adventures. International travel is a joy, with ‘S
Translator’ providing instant translation, using text or voice translation on applications including email, text message and ChatON.

The GALAXY S4 supports HSPA+42 Mbps so wherever you are in the world, you can rely on perfect connectivity. The GALAXY S4 empowers your life by keeping you up to date with your health and well-being using the new ‘S Health’ software.

The sensors built within the device systematically and automatically monitors your health, surroundings and so much more to improve your quality of life.

Accounting news

CA(SA) representing the SA standard-setter at the newly established IASB technical advisory body CA(SA) representing the SA standard-setter at the newly established IASB technical advisory body

The Trustees of the IFRS Foundation have announced the membership of the newly established Accounting Standards Advisory Forum, an advisory body to the IASB. Kim Bromfield from KPMG will be representing the South Africa standard-setter and Africa
on the ASAF. The Forum will initially comprise 12 members from Africa, Asia-Oceania, Europe and America. More information on the appointments to the ASAF can be found on the IASB website.

IASB’s priority: Complete convergence projects

IASB Chairman, Hans Hoogervorst, provided an update on their projects, including the four convergence projects, at an IFRS international seminar held in Indonesia. Hoogervorst also encouraged Indonesia to work towards full adoption of IFRS. More information on his speech at the IFRS international seminar can be found on the IASB website

Ethics

IESBA strengthens key sections of Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has released strengthened provisions in its Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (Code) to address conflict of interest and breach of a requirement of the Code. It also released amendments to the Code’s definition of the term ‘engagement team’.

Conflicts of Interest
The IESBA has revised the Code to provide more comprehensive guidance to support professional accountants in identifying,
evaluating and managing ethical questions and challenges that can arise from conflict of interest. The revisions affect professional accountants both in public practice and in business, taking into account the different circumstances in which they work.

Breach of a Requirement of the Code
The revisions to the Code establish a robust framework for addressing a breach of an independence requirement in the Code.

They include requiring a firm to:
a) Terminate, suspend or eliminate the interest or relationship that caused the breach;
b) Evaluate the significance of the breach and determine whether action can be taken and is appropriate in the circumstances to satisfactorily address the consequences of the breach;
c) Communicate all breaches with those charged with governance and obtain their concurrence that action can be, or has been, taken to satisfactorily address the consequences of the breach;
d) Document, among other matters, the action taken and all the matters discussed with those charged with governance.

Engagement Team
In conjunction with the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s release of its International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 610 (Revised 2013), Using the Work of Internal Auditors, the IESBA is also releasing amendments to the definition of ‘engagement team’ in the Code. The amendments clarify the relationship between internal auditors providing direct assistance on an external audit (direct assistance) and the meaning of an engagement team under the Code.

Effective date
The changes will be effective in 2014 (refer to the individual pronouncements for details). Early adoption is permitted. The revised pronouncements will be printed in the 2013 Handbook of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants due out in the second quarter.

PUBLIC SECTOR Audits performed on behalf of Auditor General
The fees to be charged by audit firms for audit work done on behalf of the Auditor General South Africa are set out in a Circular that SAICA issues on an annual basis. The latest Circular covering the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 is available on the SAICA website.

POLL OF THE MONTH

We asked …

What do you think about Eskom’s load shedding this winter?

I am disappointed, they could have managed this process better this time – 44%
I support them, we must save energy – 9%
It is time we use other energy sources and stop relying on Eskom only – 47%

Southern Region Trainee Council
The Southern Region Trainee Committee (SRTC) was established by SAICA in 2010. Our role is to communicate to our trainees any policy changes implemented by SAICA. We do this through our social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) as well as our SRTC mail. We also ensure that any concerns or issues raised by trainees are directed to the appropriate person at SAICA.

As part of our Transformation and Growth initiative (one of SAICA’s strategic objectives) we have been able to create awareness
of the chartered accountancy profession in areas where such information wouldn’t be readily accessible. We are also involved with the Bookery Project, an initiative by Equal Education that aims to ensure that each school has a functional library.

Our aim this year is to establish a trainee forum where we can meet trainees from various firms in one venue and discuss issues that concern them. Contact srtc@saica.co.za for more information.

SAICA member volunteers in Zambia

SAICA member John Kruger recently returned from Zambia after volunteering on behalf of Accounting for International Development (AfID). This NGO sources volunteer accountants to coach staff and improve processes at charities in Africa, Asia and South America to make these organisations more financially efficient, sustainable and transparent.

John volunteered at IDinsight, an organisation developing HIV/AIDS prevention programmes. “My work was the establishment of basic cash and expense controls, learning their purchased accounting software and developing an accounting process for their specific ‘business’ to match their accounting software’s capabilities and processes. I also passed on my new knowledge of how the software worked to the newly appointed local accountant and set her up with the processes and procedures which I designed to facilitate accounting.

Overall, I gained some good friends and contacts from my experiences there, which I value, and personally I gained some additional skills working with accounting software! Living in Zambia, I shared a house with a local Zambian charity employee. Through that I made a friend and learnt a lot about Zambian culture and its current political and social situation (although I’m sure one-sided).

My impression of the programme by AfID is that the charities really appreciate it and that it is extremely valuable to them. For accountants, it’s a wonderful way to see the developing world and add more visible value.”

THIS MONTH’S MUST READS …

Just about everything a Manager needs to know in South Africa

This book distils just about everything relating to successful management practice into practical and immediately accessible ‘how-tos’, providing answers to all your management problems and questions in straightforward language with the minimum of fuss.

You no longer have to separate the practical ideas from entangling management jargon and theory – the authors have done all
that for you. Over 200 topics appear as double-page spreads, and each is cross-referenced and presented as a step-bystep
solution to management problems and issues.

About the authors:
Neil Flanagan is a management strategist, a sought-after keynote, motivational speaker, and a bestselling author; Jarvis Finger is a well-known author of a range of management publications.

100 Moments that Mattered by Peter Joyce

100 Moments that Mattered features a selection of 100 events, and the people involved in them, that shaped the nature of South African society over the centuries. It is a compendium of interesting stories presented in bite-size chunks, providing a coherent and colourful picture of the nation’s history. Written in an accessible style, and beautifully illustrated throughout, this book will entertain and inform.

It covers the main political events, as well as milestones in technology, culture, entertainment and sport, and a few stories that are included for their humour and charm.

From early landings and bloody wars, to dramatic upheavals and long-awaited freedoms, to medical breakthroughs and sporting triumphs, 100 Moments that Mattered gives a fascinating glimpse into our country’s history.