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Great reasons to celebrate 40 years of SAIPA

South African Institute of Professional Accountants
7 March 2022

Great reasons to celebrate 40 years of SAIPA
Authored by: Kantha Naicker, SAIPA Chairman

This year, SAIPA celebrates its 40th Anniversary.

Certainly, we can all agree that, after four decades in the business of being in business, we are more than just a hashtag. Throughout our 40-year history, SAIPA has been a dynamic organisation, growing, adapting and evolving to serve members, the profession and the broader business, and the community.

We provide education to improve members’ technical expertise, business, personal effectiveness and leadership skills and to ensure these skills remain relevant and current. This in turn provides our members with employability and professional recognition. By virtue of their education and skills, SAIPA members influence the economy, businesses and markets.

Being #SAIPAproud means we are aware of where we came from, what we have achieved and our ability to create the future of accountancy. For 40 years members have gathered together to discuss matters of mutual interest, to contribute their experience and expertise to assist others and to learn from each other.

40 years ago, SAIPA was formed as a means to build accounting capacity for South Africa’s blossoming small business sector. For 40 years members have volunteered their time to give back to the profession, promote the benefits that the profession brings to the community, and collectively work with governments, regulators and standards-setters to ensure that the public interest and the profession’s interests are protected.

And for 40 years members have been at the heart of everything SAIPA does. Today, SAIPA is a force to be reckoned with. The Institute plays an important role in influencing global accountancy trends at every level. In addition, we make daily significant contributions locally, continentally, and internationally.

An international influencer
At the highest tier, we are a global influencer.

As a voting member, ae participate at decision-making levels at the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). IFAC is our parent body and is home to 180 member and associate organisations, representing over 3 million accountants worldwide.

This is not a small-time operation and, as a SAIPA member, you are a part of IFAC and what we accomplish through them.

We are a tireless ambassador for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and developing economies around the planet through the Edinburgh Group. This is a coalition of 16 international accountancy bodies, representing over 900,000 professional accountants in countries from Africa, North America, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America.

As a lobby group, it also champions the voice of small-to-medium practices (SMPs) in the accountancy profession. We are particularly #SAIPAproud of the fact that our CE Mr Shahied Daniels is the Chairman of the Edinburgh group.

A strong proponent of small business and professional accountants as catalysts to economic growth, Mr Daniels is ideally suited to this position. In 2006, he delivered a speech titled “Role of the Accountancy Professional in Economic Development” at an IFAC workshop in Nairobi, attended by delegates from over 30 African countries. Not only did it highlight SAIPA’s relevance beyond South Africa’s borders but also his ongoing passion as a leader on this subject.

We actively help develop and implement many programmes that are changing the way the world thinks about accountancy.

Because of this work, the profession – your profession – is no longer seen as a mere financial health check. It is no longer just a compulsory compliance function.

Instead, accountancy is being embraced as an essential facilitator of global economic growth, sustainability, and equality.

It is now widely acknowledged that, without the alchemy that is accountancy, these goals cannot be realised.

A continental influencer
In Africa, we are a continental influencer.

SAIPA is the fifth largest professional accountancy organisation (PAO) on the continent. We are also a co-founder and voting member on the Board of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA). With 114,800 members from 55 PAOs across 44 countries, it is the largest host body in Africa.

Through this position, we are positively influencing the quality of accountancy across the continent.

We are ideally placed to promote international standards, best practices, and ethical commitment and ensure that financial systems are robust and function cooperatively between these jurisdictions, upholding the public interest at all times.

Through our contribution on the PAFA technical standard setters and education forums, we are influencing change especially within countries that lack a unified national accountancy framework.

Working in collaboration with our African counterparts, we are making an enormous impact on national economies and trade continuity.

A national influencer
In South Africa itself, SAIPA is a national influencer.

Here, we actively contribute to the development of business and financial legislation.

We are still one of only two professional bodies that sit on the boards of IFAC and PAFA as macroeconomic enablers.

Our initiatives effect lasting change in government, business, academia and society.

Our programmes, like the National Accounting and Maths Olympiad, Project Achiever, and the University of the Western Cape Advanced Diploma in Public Finance, support future accounting capacity for companies, NPOs and the public service.

In serving our community and their needs as Professional Accountants (SA), we commit no less passion and energy to our internal programmes and initiatives.

We are particularly proud of our seamless transition to digital services and events in the face of COVID-19, while others have struggled to achieve a smooth digital transformation.

Our CE Mr Daniels speaks consistently about how it is natural for our clients to see us as trusted business advisors and how important it is that, over and above our professional duties, we excel at this role.

If you don’t yet know what our Centre of Business Advisory (CoBA) is, we encourage you to visit the SAIPA website and check it out. You will discover how to qualify as a Professional Business Advisor (SA) to help your client succeed both financially and operationally.

In addition, our Centre of Future Excellence (CoFE) has designed a Competency Framework and monitors emerging trends to develop forward-thinking policies, practices and CPD content requirements. Its work ensures you remain relevant and future-ready in the face of disruptive 4IR technologies and AI-driven businesses.

Does this sound like you will be wearing too many hats? Not at all. As automation becomes commonplace in the accounting and reporting process, it will free us to focus on becoming Chief Value Officers to our clients and employers.

In this role, we will add value by extracting meaningful insights from corporate data that will be critical to predictive strategic decision-making. We will also guide clients to build sustainable businesses and realise growth opportunities. Make no mistake, this is not science fiction fantasy. Organisations are quickly becoming more dependent on Professional Accountants (SA) as business enablers, and we will be expected to step up and take charge.

So, we must embrace change and ensure we are constantly enhancing our knowledge through both CoBA and CoFE, both specifically established for this purpose.

These examples are not even a fraction of SAIPA’s active involvement and contribution to the future of accountants. But they illustrate that what we do is making a difference every day, everywhere.

To the world. To Africa. And to South Africa.

A local influencer
You should not be surprised that you, as a Professional Accountant (SA), are SAIPA’s greatest contribution to the world.

You are both the embodiment of all the Institute stands for and the last mile in delivering the very best that accountancy has to offer.

You carry our principles, practices and ethical commitment to your business circles, client base, professional network and society in general. And the world wants more from you.

Without a doubt, you are the very essence of SAIPA’s ability to make a difference and you are needed now more than ever.

Our work as a top PAO and an unbreakable community is far from over.

A reason to celebrate
For the past 40 years, making a difference has become what SAIPA does best and that is an amazing reason to celebrate this year.

Join us for the whole of 2022 in remembering who we are, honouring what we have accomplished, and looking confidently to a future of our own exciting design.

Here’s to 40 more years of outstanding achievements.