Select Page

Fighting together to beat

global corruption and economic crimes
South African Institute of Professional Accountants
4 September 2022

Fighting together to beat global corruption and economic crimes

Corruption and related economic crimes, such as money laundering, bribery, tax evasion and fraud, are significant obstacles to economic growth and human development.

In response, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has developed an action plan for fighting corruption and economic crime. The anti-corruption action plan rests on five pillars that will provide a consistent framework for action, says IFAC CEO Kevin Dancey.  He says many of the actions will be conducted by IFAC, but it is an action plan for the whole profession. The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) has stepped up to the plate and fully supports the IFAC action plan.

Taking control again

“It is long overdue since rogue accountants and possible enablers of corruption have already damaged the image and reputation of the global accountancy profession,” says SAIPA CEO Shahied Daniels.

The reality is that (within any profession) there will always be bad apples. “It is not so much the readiness to fight corruption rather than the political will to deal with this animal. We must take control of the profession when it comes to corruption and economic crimes such as money laundering,” says Daniels.

Skills and expertise are critical in the fight, but one element that is not receiving sufficient attention is the lack of forensic accounting. He believes it must become a compulsory module for new entrants in the profession and through upskilling of existing members on an academic and practical level.

Social responsibility

Self-regulating bodies must at all times be vigilant and continue to create awareness about the importance of ethical conduct.  SAIPA warns against taking on assignments when the accountant is not sufficiently capable to deal with them. It will impact directly on their conduct.

On an individual level, accountants need to have a moral compass to guide them. “It remains our responsibility as a professional body to continuously create ethical awareness.  We have a social responsibility towards society to fight corruption,” says Daniels.

The importance of collaboration

Detecting and deterring non-compliance with laws and regulations should be the ultimate guide in fighting corruption. He adds that some accountants are not always on top of all the rules and regulations. Some things may fall by the wayside.

“It is important that we work in collaboration with others.  We encourage our members to surround themselves with a pool of experts from various disciplines such as legal, human resources, asset management or estate planning.”

When non-compliance stands out like a sore thumb it must be reported to the relevant authorities, despite the risks associated with whistleblowing.

The framework for our fight

The IFAC anti-corruption action plan is built on five pillars:

  • Harnessing education and professional development
  • Supporting global standards
  • Contributing to evidence-based policymaking
  • Strengthening impact through engagement and partnership
  • Contribute expertise through thought leadership and advocacy.


SAIPA, through its technical and standards department, will develop its action plan that will focus on our specific challenges, but it will be aligned with the IFAC plan, says Daniels.