South African Institute of Professional Accountants
24 March 2014
Bringing your tax practitioner up to speed – fast!
Why a smooth handover to your new accredited tax professional ensures better service
Many companies are hurriedly appointing new tax practitioners following government’s directive that businesses should only be employing professionals who are registered with the 11 professional bodies accredited by SARS in terms of the Tax Administration Act.
During his 2014 Budget Speech, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan noted that there are 15 000 such tax practitioners in South Africa. But, having engaged with one of them, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) says there is still the task of ensuring a smooth handover from one’s previous tax practitioner.
“Time is money and there’s no sense in wasting either when it comes to bringing a new tax professional on board,” says Faith Ngwenya, Technical and Standards Executive at SAIPA.
Ensuring that the new tax professional is fully up to date when they are taking over your account is really up to you, notes Ngwenya. “In order to compile financial information properly, the tax professional requires a general understanding of the nature of your business transactions, the form of its accounting records and the accounting framework on which the financial information is to be presented – all of this information they need to get from you.”
Areas of understanding
Here is a list of key areas that your tax professional will need to be briefed on before they’ll be able to provide your company with a comprehensive service:
The size and complexity of your entity and its operations.
The complexity of the applicable financial reporting framework.
The entity’s financial reporting obligations or requirements, whether it exists under applicable laws and regulation or in the context of voluntary financial reporting arrangements, for example with third parties.
The level of development of the entity’s management and governance structure regarding management and oversight of the entity’s accounting records and financial reporting systems that underpin the preparation of financial information for financial reporting purposes.
The degree of complexity of the entity’s financial accounting and reporting systems.
The level of development and proper design or relative sophistication of the entity’s accounting systems and related controls.
“Covering all these bases may sound like a tall order at first. But, if you’ve taken time to choose an appropriate accredited tax professional, it’s also worth investing enough time with them to ensure that they know your business – almost as well as you do,” concludes Ngwenya.
“Given time, the results will speak for themselves as your tax professional partners with you to provide the best possible advice and service to benefit your business.”