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Updated code for SA accountants

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The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants Code of Professional Conduct (SAICA Code) has been updated to include new, first of its kind, ethics requirements and guidance to assist members and associates in dealing with non-compliance with laws and regulations.
The move is in line with changes in 2016 to the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (IESBA Code).
“SAICA strategically focuses on protecting and enhancing the integrity and ethical values of the chartered accountancy profession,” says Willie Botha, senior executive: assurance and practice at SAICA. “In a broader context, SAICA’s long-term professional interests are always linked with the public interest and responsible leadership.
“The new NOCLAR requirements affect all professional accountants, whether in public practice providing professional services to clients, or whether in business carrying out professional activities for an employing organisation,” he adds.
“NOCLAR is defined as any act of omission or commission, intentional or unintentional, committed by a client or the professional accountant’s employing organisation, or by those charged with governance (TCWG), by management or by other individuals working for or under the direction of a client or employing organisation which is contrary to the prevailing laws or regulations.”
Juanita Steenekamp, project director: governance and non-IFRS reporting at SAICA, adds: “Section 225 and section 360 of the SAICA Code which will be effective from 15 July 2017, set out the professional accountants’ responsibilities when encountering or becoming aware of NOCLAR and guide accountants in assessing the implications of the matter and the possible courses of action when responding to it.
“The SAICA Code is expected to drive positive behaviour by its members and associates, which in turn will impact on the behaviour of their clients and employing organisations. These requirements clarify that ‘turning a blind eye’ to potential NOCLAR is not an appropriate response from professional accountants, while placing renewed emphasis on the roles of management and TCWG in addressing the matter.”
The proactive role of professional accountants in relation to NOCLAR can lead to an earlier response by management or TCWG, thereby mitigating any adverse consequences for stakeholders, or deterring potential NOCLAR for the greater benefit of business (and society). Furthermore, there could be timelier intervention from public authorities on reports of potential NOCLAR from professional accountants in appropriate circumstances, which is in the interest of affected stakeholders, as well as the general public.
“These new ethics requirements position the accountancy profession to play a greater role in the fight against NOCLAR, such as financial fraud, money laundering, and corruption. We are committed to assisting members and associates with guidance to apply the new requirements,” Botha adds.