PwC Africa CEO on efforts to restore trust in auditing

20 November 2019 2 min. read
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While many have spoken of the need to rescue the auditing profession in South Africa, the South African Auditing Profession Trust Initiative (SAAPTI) is taking concrete steps to ensure that the industry’s reputation is restored. CEO of PwC Dion Shango is the SAAPTI Technical Committee Chairperson, and has elaborated on some of these measures. 

Starting with the Gupta scandal and extending through the Steinhoff International saga all the way to the state capture at the South African Revenue Services (SARS), auditing, accounting and advisory services in South Africa have come to have their very fibre questioned for integrity.

Experts have indicated that the profession is suffering from a trust deficit within the South African business environment. The Big Four accounting and advisory firms have featured prominently in the events in recent years, and have been vocal in the efforts since to restore balance in the profession.

Dion Shango, CEO of PwC South Africa

KPMG South Africa Chairman Wiseman Nkuhlu recently elaborated on the issues that currently plague the South African accounting sector, and how these translated into potential pitfalls for fraud and malpractice. PwC Africa Chairman Dion Shango is also involved in the introspection process.

SAAPTI consists of senior members from some of South Africa’s largest accounting firms, who collaborate to identify the means to rebuilding trust in the country. Among these measures is a revision of corporate culture to return to basic principles that govern the purpose of the auditing profession in the first place, such as “integrity, objectivity and due care.” SAAPTI is working towards this goal.

“The committee has also launched a consultation process with various stakeholders, to listen and better understand their issues, concerns and needs.  Many of these discussions focus on the traits expected of the auditing profession. The “concept of professional scepticism” is one of those key traits, enabling auditors to dig deeper and pay closer attention to the answers that management of the entities they audit clients provide them with,” writes Shango.

“Themes in other areas, such as thinking about ways to strengthen auditor independence, and considerations related to governance and transparency of audit firms are similar to ongoing debates in other parts of the world, most notably in the UK. More also needs to be done to address transformation and market concentration of the audit profession in South Africa,” he added.