South African Institute of Professional Accountants
Member | Established: 1982 | Member since 1995
SAIPA is a professional body uniting professional accountants in practice, commerce and industry, government and academia. The majority of its members are in public practice, offering accountancy and allied services, excluding auditing, to the general public and the business community. Membership of SAIPA provides accountancy professionals with local and international recognition and facilitates the necessary knowledge, competencies and functional skills members need to effectively execute their responsibilities in a manner that complies with local and international regulatory frameworks and standards through ongoing training and education on the latest local and international developments in the accountancy profession.
Statements of Membership Obligation (SMO)
The Statements of Membership Obligations form the basis of the IFAC Member Compliance Program. They serve as a framework for credible and high-quality professional accountancy organizations focused on serving the public interest by adopting, or otherwise incorporating, and supporting implementation of international standards and maintaining adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure the professional behavior of their individual members.
SMO 1: Quality Assurance
The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) is responsible for carrying out quality assurance (QA) reviews of auditors and firms for all statutory audits; however, since 2008, SAIPA members have been authorized to perform independent reviews for organizations with low public interest scores. SAIPA indicates that its members must comply with ISQC 1 and ISREs and it has implemented a QA review system that is compliant with SMO 1 requirements for its members carrying out these independent reviews.
As of Q4 of 2016, SAIPA reports that it has progressed with the following activities related to its review system: i) implementing an accreditation process which consists of an online certificate course on ISREs; ii) maintaining a register of members certified to perform independent review services and conducting annual monitoring and inspection visits as part of maintaining the accreditation; iii) inspecting and reviewing the documentation supporting the independent review services performed; iv) developing a quality assurance checklist for independent review service providers and a manual for small and medium practitioners. Furthermore, SAIPA indicates that it trains assessors and monitoring officers to ensure that the reviewers’ inspections meet SAIPA’s performance standards.
Additionally, SAIPA also conducts trainings and continuing professional development for its members on IRSE 2400, the preparation and maintenance of documentation to support independent review services, and ISQC 1.
Lastly, SAIPA states that it collaborates frequently with the IRBA as they serve on various committees, including the Accounting Standards Board, Department of Trade and Industry, the Companies Intellectual and Property Commission as well as tax stakeholder forum that is part of the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
In its next Action Plan submission, SAIPA is encouraged to report on any available statistics resulting from the implementation of its review system for independent reviews.
SMO 2: International Education Standards
SAIPA is responsible for determining initial and continuing professional development (IPD and CPD) requirements for its members and has established an Education Committee to ensure its requirements remain aligned with the IES.
SAIPA indicates that it is involved in multiple initiatives to maintain and monitor its requirements with each of the IES. These include: i) accrediting universities and tertiary education providers that incorporate the IES into their accounting curriculum and conducting visits to the institutions every three years to monitor compliance with IES requirements; ii) including representatives from universities on its Education Committee to maintain communications and ensure that accounting curriculums continue to include new and revised IES; iii) automating its CPD and practical experience monitoring by permitting candidates to submit progress made with practical experience requirements online and mandating full members to upload their completed CPD hours online; iv) providing CPD workshops on a variety of topics and through different mediums such as online courses, webinars, in-person workshops, and technical articles in its quarterly magazine in order to better serve their members’ needs; v) amending its examination to comply with revised IES requirements; vi) updating its specialized education to meet the developments of the profession; vii) serving on SAICA’s Assurance Guidance Committee to support fulfillment of IES 8; and viii) participating in the international-standard setting process by providing comments either in its own capacity or through entities such as the Financial Reporting Standards Council.
In particular, SAIPA states that it is strategizing how to implement more competency-based assessments by shifting its examinations away from subject-based case studies to more integrated case studies where candidates are placed in a business case scenario with a potential client to provide advice and apply their learned technical knowledge.
Additionally, SAIPA has focused on including training in areas of specialization such as the public sector, commerce, tax, and banking. SAIPA details that it has taken a number of steps to strengthen its training on public sector accounting and that it has received approval from the South African Qualifications Authority so that its members may be tax practitioners.
Furthermore, the institute reports that it is collaborating with academia to develop a short course that promotes mobility into and throughout the profession.
Separately, SAIPA reports that it will soon be required to comply with a new authoritative body—the Quality Council for Trade and Occupations (QCTO)—which would require SAIPA to develop a new curriculum and qualification. SAIPA states that it has been approved for two qualifications, Professional Accountant in Practice and Professional Accountant in Business, with effect from August 1, 2016 but is still in the process of submitting the qualifications documents in compliance with the requirements of QCTO which were due by November 30, 2016. It highlights, however, that its existing qualification does not expire until June 2018.
As the accountancy profession is undergoing a change in overall regulation, SAIPA is also encouraged to work with relevant stakeholders to unify the requirements. In its next Action Plan submission, SAIPA should provide an update on its new curriculum and qualification to comply with the QCTO and any changes to its education requirements.
SMO 3: International Standards on Auditing
The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) is the entity responsible for setting auditing standards in South Africa; however, given that SAIPA members may now conduct independent reviews of companies with a low public interest score, SAIPA ensures that the International Standards Regulation Engagements (ISRE) as issued by the IAASB are being applied.
To support its members, SAIPA has developed an online training and assessment on the ISRE. Once a member successfully passes the course, they are certified to act as an independent reviewer. Additionally, SAIPA provides trainings in the form of workshops, training forums, and continuing professional development to improve the competencies of members carrying out independent reviews. Beginning in 2017, SAIPA states that it will offer trainings that cover the following topics: (i) engagement letter, (ii) accounting officer’s report, (iii) independent reviews, (iv) agreed upon engagements, and (iv) quality assurance.
Lastly, SAIPA states that it contributes to the international-standard setting process by providing comments either in its own capacity or through the entities as the Financial Reporting Standards Council.
SMO 4: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
SAIPA has adopted the 2009 IESBA Code of Ethics as the SAIPA Code of Ethics for its members in accordance with its Constitution and By-Laws. It reports that it monitors developments and revisions to the IESBA Code in order to ensure alignment with its Code. As of 2016, it indicates that its Code of Ethics is under review and an amended Code will be implemented beginning in March 2017. In the meantime, it has made the 2013 IESBA Code of Ethics available for members via its website. Additionally, it states that any changes to the Code of Ethics are communicated to members via several mediums such as its newsletter, magazine, and continuing professional development (CPD) events.
SAIPA has mandated a CPD course on its Code of Ethics for all members and annually renews a memorandum of understanding with the Ethics Institute of South Africa whereby its members can attend seminars and workshops of the Ethics Institute at discounted rates. SAIPA has also produced additional educational materials on the Code of Ethics such as webinars, case studies, and explanatory articles in its quarterly magazine. It intends to produce a brochure and a pocket reference booklet on the Code in the latter part of 2017. Furthermore, the institute’s Compliance Officer and Legal Administrator is also available via telephone or email to address members’ ethics-related inquiries.
Finally, SAIPA states that it contributes to the international-standard setting process by providing comments on Exposure Drafts either in its own capacity or through the entities as the Financial Reporting Standards Council.
As the accountancy profession is undergoing a change in overall regulation, SAIPA is also encouraged to work with relevant stakeholders to unify the ethical requirements. It is also encouraged to specifically include information in its Action Plan related to how the NOCLAR standard (effective 2017) will be adopted and begin considering the specific training and other implementation support activities planned.
SMO 5: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) is the entity responsible for adopting public sector accounting standards in South Africa. The ASB has adopted accrual IPSAS which are referred to as the Generally Recognized Accounting Practice (GRAP); however in practice most government departments are applying a modified cash basis of accounting while the National Treasury is developing a roadmap to implement accrual accounting across all departments.
SAIPA supports both the national and international public sector standard-setting process by serving on the Public Sector Technical Forum of the ASB. SAIPA, along with other representatives of the Forum such as SAICA, the National Treasury, and the Auditor General, meet to discuss issues related to public sector accounting in South Africa. Through the ASB, SAIPA will also submit comments on Exposure Drafts issued by the IPSASB.
In its own capacity, SAIPA reports it has undertaken several strategic initiatives to further the understanding of IPSAS. It has presented its model for the professionalization of public sector accountants to key stakeholders such as the Treasury, the South African Local Government Association, the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority, and Forum of Accounting Bodies. The institute also engaged in discussions with the Treasury and other government authorities to encourage the provision of a short course on IPSAS and public finance. The course was envisioned as part of SAIPA’s growth strategy to attract members toward the public sector and promote mobility into and throughout the profession. Subsequently, it signed a memorandum of understanding with CPA Ireland to offer the short course on IPSAS online to practitioners and public finance professionals in South Africa.
Additionally, SAIPA has concluded a pilot project of public sector practical experience in July 2016. After a review of the results of the pilot, SAIPA indicates that it will carry out similar practical experience programs nationwide and is adding a public sector module and specialization into its existing qualification. Through the short course and learnership program, SAIPA intends to fast-track chief finance officers in the public sector to becoming Professional Accountants beginning in March 2017.
Furthermore, SAIPA is collaborating with the University of Western Cape to develop a post graduate program on Public Sector Financial Management which it expects to roll out in 2017 and separately, has endorsed the public sector qualification offered by the University of Cape Town.
In its next Action Plan submission, SAIPA is encouraged to provide an update on the status of its initiatives to enhance education and training of its members in the public sector and public sector accounting professionals.
SMO 6: Investigation and Discipline
SAIPA is responsible for the investigation and discipline (I&D) of its members and has established I&D procedures in its Quality Management System Manual that are in line with SMO 6 requirements. The institute has an Investigations and Disciplinary Committee as well as an Appeals tribunal which are to be reviewed every three years by SAIPA’s Legal Manager, an attorney, to ensure that the I&D policies incorporate the SMO 6 requirements. The Legal Manager also provides guidance on sanctions.
SAIPA reports that its I&D procedures will be under review by Q4 of 2016 to ensure continued alignment with changes in the SAIPA Constitution.
The institute notes that it informs its members of the I&D procedures during their induction ceremony, a new members’ packet, and through continuous communications from the Legal & Compliance Department. SAIPA added that although it cannot make disciplinary matters public due to the Protection of Personal Information Act 2013, it does draft disciplinary cases into case studies for publication in order to educate its members and the public.
As the accountancy profession is undergoing a change in overall regulation, SAIPA is also encouraged to work with relevant stakeholders to eliminate overlaps in the I&D function and develop a unified system.
SMO 7: International Financial Reporting Standards
IFRS and IFRS for SMEs have been codified by amendments to the Companies Act 2008 and approved by the Financial Reporting Standards Council (FRSC)—the entity responsible for setting accounting standards. As such, SAIPA supports the implementation process by providing mandatory annual continuing professional development workshops on IFRS and IFRS for SMEs and disseminating technical updates on the standards to its members through its various magazines. Additionally, the institute organizes trainings on IFRS for SMEs for its members that are led by approved training providers.
SAIPA states that it publishes articles on IFRS in various sources such as its weekly newsletter and journal to share information with its members and other relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, SAIPA reports it has produced a textbook on IFRS for SMEs as a tool for members and it is prescribed as study material at South African universities such as the University of Cape Town, the University of Western Cape, University of the Witwatersrand, and Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Lastly, SAIPA indicates that it participates in the international-standard setting process in coordination with the FRSC by submitting comments to Exposure Drafts issued by the IASB.
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