Daily Maverick | Ruan Jooste | 25 January 2021 |
The Big Four auditing firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – played a systemic role in financial crimes across the globe and evidence suggests that these firms have prioritised profit over professional duties and the law. Accountability reforms are around the corner, but will they be enough for the sector’s salvation?
The Select Committee on Finance (National Council of Provinces) will have its briefing with the National Treasury and the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) on the Auditing Profession Amendment Bill on 2 February. This is according to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, which on Monday announced Parliament’s upcoming daily schedule.
Other follow-up dates in February include the consideration of public submissions on the bill, on the 9th, while the consideration process of the policy and bill, clause by clause, will take place on the 16th. The consideration and adoption of a committee report on the bill will take place on the 18th, according to Treasury officials.
The audit reform proposals first formed part of the Financial Matters Amendment Bill way back in 2018, but after the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF) of the National Assembly conducted public consultation with stakeholders on the proposed amendments, the National Treasury withdrew the proposals a year later.
The same amendment was then introduced in Parliament through the Auditing Profession Amendment Bill in February 2020, and it has moved forward at great pace since then.
During the course of the year, the advocacy group Open Secrets, and EY, Deloitte, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and Cosatu, with the outgoing head of Irba, Bernard Agulhas, made public presentations on the proposals to Parliament. The regulator and the Treasury responded to the submissions shortly thereafter, and the SCOF adopted the bill with the additional amendments.