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AUDITING: SAÂ’s Top Ranking for Auditing & Reporting Breeds Confidence


Recent Gauteng Business News

South AfricaÂ’s decision to adopt international auditing standards as early as 2005 is certainly delivering benefits, with SA maintaining top spot for the second year in a row in the World Economic ForumÂ’s (WEF) ranking of auditing and reporting standards.

The WEFÂ’s Global Competitiveness Report which is conducted annually has ranked South Africa number one out of 139 economies in both 2009/10 and 2010/11 for the strength of its auditing and reporting standards regarding company financial performance. This was an impressive move up from second place in 2009 and fourth place in 2008.

“In a world still reeling from credit and Eurozone crises, achieving such a prestigious ranking consecutively for two years is good news for foreign organisations looking to invest in South Africa,” says Bernard Agulhas, CEO of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA). “Foreign and local investors will have more confidence in the integrity of the country’s auditing and financial reporting standards and increased investment indirectly leads to more employment.”

The WEF Global Competitiveness Report

The WEFÂ’s Global Competitiveness Report examines various factors that enable economies to achieve sustained economic growth and long-term prosperity. It aims to benchmark obstacles to improved competitiveness and to find solutions to overcome them.

“While we are proud to have earned the respect of the international community, we are equally glad that this achievement will contribute to a sustainable South Africa. The ranking sends a clear message to government, business, financial institutions and investors that, despite the many challenges faced by our country, SA is certainly a preferred place to do business,” adds Agulhas. “It gives us the upper hand if the international community recognises SA as a respected player in the global financial markets.”

He emphasises that the IRBA needs to work hard to maintain this credible position but adds that South Africa has an important role to play in supporting other countries on the African continent to improve standards and governance so that Africa as a whole can become a respected player in the global finance and reporting markets.

Agulhas says that the accolade is also a feather in the IRBAÂ’s cap as it pays tribute to the regulatorÂ’s superior monitoring and supervision of the assurance industry and its providers.

“The general public and international investor community needs to be able to rely on assurance services so that they can be confident in the state of South Africa’s financial markets,” he says. “We cannot afford to drop our guard – the IRBA must maintain the highest standards in order to remain a recognised player in the global arena while continuing to make the profession accessible.”

Combating the Shortage of Qualified Registered Auditors

While a lack of appropriate skills and transformation concerns could begin to impact the growth in the auditing industry, various strategies are underway to combat the shortage of qualified Registered Auditors in South Africa.

“The IRBA encourages all parties to develop strategies that will work towards further sustaining growth in the number of qualified auditors throughout South Africa, so that we can continue to maintain this leading position in the WEF Global Competitiveness rankings,” Agulhas concludes.

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