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UP-TO-DATE: Keeping you informed of Business Today

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The Special General Meeting of members of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) will be held at The Wanderers Golf Club (Rudd Road, Cnr Corlett Drive, Illovo, Johannesburg) on 20 September 2013, at 09h00. The purpose of the meeting will be the consideration and passing of resolutions to amend the SAICA Constitution.

The proposed amendments to the Constitution are the result of recent amendments to the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 (the Act). Consequently, SAICA is required to align its Constitution to the Act in order to maintain its income tax exemption status.

Due and proper notice will be provided of the aforementioned meeting via the following means:

1) Electronic mail – if you are registered on our database as a member capable of receiving this type of communication from SAICA.

2) SAICA website – visit www.saica.co.za Proxy forms will be available on www.saica.co.za
from 21 August 2013. If you do not receive the notification and proxy forms timeously,  contact SAICA for assistance at 0861 072 422 or +27 (11) 621 6600, or email
China’s economy grew “only” 7,5% in the second quarter of 2013. What does this slowing growth mean for this country and for the global economy?

Weak demand
China’s biggest customers, Europe and the United States, are not buying enough to keep its factories humming. China covets greater domestic demand, but its consumers haven’t yet picked up the slack.

New priorities
China’s leaders are trying to reform its banking system, which has a record of propping up inefficient state-sponsored companies that would not be able to compete without subsidised loans.

Under new management
President Xi Jinping suggested that local officials should be judged to a greater extent according to their integrity and capability rather than aiding overproduction, to (falsely) boost the GDP.

Rising wages
Workers’ salaries have risen about 20% annually, but this new wealth also drives up prices.
Factor in higher energy costs, and China has lost some edge as a world manufacturing hub.


125 Million
Number of women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation, as estimated by UNICEF in a new assessment. There is good news, however – this practice is declining.
Percentage of citizens of Sierra Leone who admitted to paying a bribe in the past year, according to a survey by Transparency International of 95 nations. The worldwide average stands at 27%.
11.1 Million
Barrels of oil the United States is projected to produce per day by 2020, surpassing Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer.

CAs(SA) Want More Done
South Africa’s Chartered Accountants (CAs[SA]) strongly believe that more should be done to assist the country’s struggling municipalities with their finances, according to a new survey of more than 400 CAs(SA), conducted by PPS, the financial services provider focused on graduate professionals.

According to Gerhard Joubert, head of group marketing and stakeholder relations at PPS, there has been widespread concern about the state of finances at the country’s municipalities.

“The South African Local Government Association (Salga) recently called for municipal heads to improve their financial management practices,” says Joubert.


A Few Essential Facts About Spain’s Corruption Scandal
With its economy still reeling, Spain faces a political crisis in the wake of reports about Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and a past bribery scandal.

Luis Bárcenas, the former treasurer for Rajoy’s Popular Party, and who is now jailed and under investigation over secret bank accounts, testified that the Prime Minister and other party members accepted big payouts from a slush fund.

Rajoy has been accused of pocketing money from businesses that gained state contracts in exchange for preferential treatment, while he served in several government positions over a period of two decades. Rajoy denied the allegations that he or other party members received kickbacks.

Despite the emergence of text messages between Rajoy and Bárcenas that appear to show Rajoy’s sympathy with Bárcenas: “We are doing what we can. Cheer up,” Rajoy dismissed demands from the rival Socialist Party to resign.

Rajoy isn’t going anywhere. His party has a big parliamentary majority, and Spaniards seem numb to yet more trouble. His coalition should hold.

Source: Time magazine (29 June 2013)

South Africa’s Chartered Accountants (CAs[SA]) strongly believe that more should be done to assist the country’s struggling municipalities with their finances, according to a new survey of more than 400 CAs(SA), conducted by PPS, the financial services provider focused on graduate professionals.

According to Gerhard Joubert, head of group marketing and stakeholder relations at PPS, there has been widespread concern about the state of finances at the country’s municipalities.

“The South African Local Government Association (Salga) recently called for municipal heads to improve their financial management practices,” says Joubert.

Willi Coates, head of marketing at SAICA, said: “SAICA has over the last few years assisted municipalities with delivering clean audits, using the skills of some SAICA members.”

A total of 51% of respondents are concerned about the quality of mathematics education in the country and how it may impact on their profession.

Despite this, CAs(SA) remain confident about the quality of training within their profession, as well as its future over the next five years.

“We would encourage government to consider engaging with CAs(SA) as well as the appropriate industry bodies about how the private sector can provide urgent assistance to improve the financial standing of municipalities,” concludes Joubert.

South Africa profiled in the IFRS Foundation’s progress report on IFRS adoption
In its feedback from an initiative to assess progress towards the global adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the IFRS Foundation published the IFRS adoption profiles of 66 jurisdictions, including South Africa. Of the 66 jurisdictions, 95% have made public commitments supporting IFRS.

The IFRS Foundation’s progress report on IFRS adoption can be found on the IASB website. The audio presentation speech by the chairman of the IASB, Hans Hoogervorst, about the first phase of the initiative to assess progress towards global adoption of IFRS, can also be found on the IASB website.

Clarification made to disclosures regarding the recoverable amount of impaired assets
IFRS 13 – Fair Value Measurement, modified some of the disclosure requirements in IAS 36 – Impairment of Assets, regarding the measurement of the recoverable amount of impaired assets. One of the amendments made at the time potentially resulted in the disclosure requirements being broader than originally intended.

The amendment to IAS 36, which has been issued by the IASB, seeks to clarify the disclosure requirements about the recoverable amount of impaired assets if that amount is based on fair value, less costs of disposal. Recoverable Amount Disclosures for Non-Financial Assets – Amendments to IAS 36 are effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2014, and earlier application is permitted if the entity has already applied IFRS 13.

The amendments can be downloaded from eIFRS, and the IASB press release can be found on the IASB website.

Project to be undertaken to address the quality and quantity of financial statement
In response to recommendations made to it by the disclosure forum, the IASB has indicated its intent to develop guidance on ‘materiality’ and to undertake a project to improve the quality and quantity of financial statement disclosures.

The feedback statement on financial reporting disclosure can be found on the IASB website.

VAT registration set to undergo major changes
The minister announced that the current provisions in the VAT Act regarding compulsory and voluntary registration will be streamlined. It must be remembered that these proposals are not yet law, and the effective date of their implementation is also not known. SAICA has made submissions related to the proposals.

The proposals in the draft legislation will address the following:
• In the compulsory space, businesses that make taxable supplies in excess of R1 million over a continuous period of 12 months, and businesses that will surpass this threshold in a future period of 12 months (owing to a contractual commitment in writing to make those supplies e.g. government tender work, etc.), will be obliged to register for VAT.

The predictive element for compulsory VAT registration is eliminated, and it is hoped that most of the disputes surrounding VAT registration in this area will be eliminated.

• In the voluntary space, VAT registration is simplified with the ultimate objective of speeding up VAT registration for small and medium businesses, as well as large businesses that undertake huge capital investments (e.g. mining, forestry, warehousing, etc.).

It is proposed that voluntary registration follows a two pronged approach:
1. traditional VAT registration, and
2. fast-tracked VAT registration. Under the traditional approach, municipalities, welfare organisations, foreign donor-funded projects, etc., will be allowed to register, with no threshold test being applicable for supplies made, or to be made, by these entities.

Further, other entities seeking registration under this traditional approach (e.g. mining, forestry, warehousing, etc.) must incur a minimum of R5 million in expenditures. Vendors registered under this approach can claim refunds for expenses incurred in respect of supplies received. Under the fast-tracked approach, persons/entities seeking registration will again be registered with no threshold test being applicable for supplies made, or to be made, by these entities. A safeguard will be added to ensure that refunds are blocked until that person/ entity makes R100,000 of taxable supplies in a continuous period of 12 months.

Only 13% of Fines collected
Only 13% of Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) fines have been collected since 2008, Beeld reported on Wednesday. In a written reply to a parliamentary question, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said about 3.8 million notices were sent out in 2012/13, but only 371,626 had been collected and paid. Aarto is the new system government wants to use to administer traffic fines.

The world’s greatest prison breaks
It’s been a rough summer for security in the Middle East, with prison breaks in Iraq (about 500 inmates on 22 July) and Pakistan (243 inmates on 30 July), both instigated by militants.

There was also one in Libya (more than 1,000 inmates on 27 July), the cause of which is still undetermined. Here’s a look at how they stack up against some of history’s biggest:

FEBRUARY 1864, Libby Prison
After digging a tunnel to freedom and hiding the entrance under straw, 109 Union soldiers escaped from a Confederate prison in Richmond, VA.

MAY 1938, San Cristobal
During the Spanish Civil War, more than 1,000 Loyalist fighters and political prisoners escaped from the fort where they were held by Franco’s forces.

OCTOBER 1943, Sobibor Concentration Camp
A total of 300 Jewish inmates escaped the camp in occupied Poland and fl ed to the forest, after overpowering a dozen SS soldiers. However, many were re-captured and killed.

JUNE 2008, Sarposa Prison
About 1,000 prisoners escaped when the Taliban used a truck bomb to blow up the main entrance of the Afghan facility.

SEPTEMBER 2012, Piedras Negras Prison
More than 130 inmates linked to the Zetas drug cartel escaped in broad daylight. Staffers at the Mexican prison have been accused of aiding in their escape.

Source: Time Magazine , 12 August 2013
This month’s must reads
10 Simple steps to Property Wealth By Jason Lee
Your step-by-step guide to financial peace of mind! How can you become financially secure with the resources at your disposal? What is the safest way to invest and accumulate money? Why is it never too late to start planning for your financial well-being?

This highly accessible book is aimed at anyone who wants to improve their financial situation, from the financial novice who needs clear basic guidelines on how to deal with money, to those who are more financially savvy but who want to enhance their knowledge.

Covering a range of topics including saving, investing, debt management, buying a house and blunders to avoid, this book provides people of all ages and levels of wealth with practical information on how to improve their finances.

Become your own financial advisor By Warren Ingram
Now, from the best-selling author of “Making Money out of Property in South Africa”, comes “10 Simple Steps to Property Wealth”, which distils – in a nutshell – all the tips, strategies and the most important and difficult lessons the author has learned over the course of his own career as a property investor.

Lee points out the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ of property investing, and shares with readers some very personal experiences. He explains, in an informative and accessible manner, how to make solid investment decisions in a volatile property market.

Lee believes that property is the cornerstone of wealth creation, and the 10 simple steps outlined in this book are designed to put readers on the right path to wealth creation through property.

Poll of the Month

We asked …
What must the government do to fight corruption in the Public Sector?

Nothing, public sector leaders are enjoying the practice – 4%

Government departments must resist corrupt Private Sector entities – 92%

They must put the right systems in place and employ skilled personnel – 92%

Politicians must not interfere with administrators’ work – 4%

In the Office

Computing – LENOVO X1 CARBON
Tablets may be all the rage these days, but laptops are still required for doing business. Lenovo, the number one PC manufacturer, has released one of the smartest laptops for the business market – the Lenovo X1 Carbon.

This laptop is ultra-light, with the latest Intel processors and the renowned Lenovo keyboard. Military-grade ruggedness meets sleek good looks with the X1 Carbon. All day battery life and an outstanding screen, complete the package.

The X1 Carbon is available with a standard high-res screen or a full ten-point touchscreen, both of which work really well with Microsoft Windows 8. The Lenovo X1 Carbon is available from R18,000.00, retail.

For more information go to www.lenovo.co.za.


Often ignored, a multi-function printer, fax, and copier is a key tool in any business. Brother has released a versatile multi-function colour laser with all the functionality and reliability you need to underpin a busy work day.

The Brother MFC9970CDW is a professional multi-function centre featuring automatic double-sided printing and wireless networking. A colour touchscreen and low cost consumables complete the package.

Brother printers also come with a lifetime warranty for complete peace of mind. The Brother MFC9970CDW has a recommended retail price of R7,499.00.

Further details can be found at www.brother.co.za.

The best high-end keyboard equipped smartphone on the market, the Blackberry Q10 is the answer to your business and personal mobile communications needs.

The Q10 has an outstanding hardware keyboard, and when connected to Blackberry Enterprise Server 10, Blackberry Balance comes standard. Balance offers enterprise class security with the ability to switch from a completely secure business mode to your personal mode, with all the apps, music and games you could want.

Your CIO will love this. BBM is standard, and an ever growing app store with 140,000 apps rounds out the package.

Available from all the networks. More details on www.blackberry.co.za.