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SAIPA honours thesis excellence to boost research in accounting and tax

South African Institute of Professional Accountants
19 August 2019

On 14th August, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) hosted its Thesis Competition awards ceremony which recognises outstanding achievements in accounting and tax research. The competition has been held annually for the last ten years.

“It is our goal to encourage substantial increases in the volume and quality of research projects being conducted to ensure our industry remains at the cutting edge of thought leadership,” says Faith Ngwenya, Technical and Standards Executive at SAIPA, who presented the winners with their awards.

The ceremony was performed during a gala dinner as part of SAIPA’s Accounting iNdaba 2019, a three day conference with the theme of “The Future-Ready Accountant in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.

The need for quality research Ngwenya notes that 4IR technologies, like AI and robotic process automation (RPA), are already absorbing traditional accounting duties. This will free Professional Accountants to focus on providing business advice on the strategic direction of their clients and employers.

“It then becomes imperative that the Profession is informed by deeper insights and empirical evidence into the dynamics of business, finance and law that impact organisations as they strive to win market share,” she says. Better research in these areas is therefore crucial.

PhD winners The following PhD students were awarded for their submissions:

Dr Aletta Terblanche of UNISA for Developing Critical Thinking In Auditing Students Through Technology-Based Educational Interventions: A Conceptual Framework in the Accountancy category.

In the Taxation category, Dr Teresa Pidduck, a former Rhodes University student, for The South African general anti-tax avoidance rule and lessons from the first world: A case law approach.

Dr Rajendra Rajaram of UKZN for Success Factors For Business Rescue In South Africa in the Accountancy category.

Masters winners Winners for the Masters degree submissions were:

Remerta Basson of Stellenbosch University for The applicability of section 24I of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 to bitcoin gains and losses in the Taxation  category.

Also in the Accountancy category, Justin Logie of Wits University for Accounting for inventory: a synthesising of Accountability and Neoliberalism.

Recognition Every winner said their selection was unexpected. “There are so many other research projects out there, so I honestly didn’t expect to win; it was a complete surprise to me,” said Basson. “It encourages me to pursue further research.”

“I didn’t know if my research would be of value to others, but winning this award affirms that it is,” remarked Terblanche.

They also commended SAIPA for holding one of the very few competitions that recognise and encourage research excellence in accounting and taxation. “I don’t know of any other contests of this nature and, without them, research suffers,” said Dr Pidduck.

According to Logie: “SAIPA’s award helps overcome the perception that all accounting problems are practical and therefore do not benefit from theoretical solutions.”

Commitment to research excellence Shahied Daniels, Chief Executive at SAIPA, confirmed  that the Institute will continue to nurture research through its annual Thesis Competition. “We are committed to ensuring that accounting evolves rapidly in response to advances in 4IR – and now even 5IR. That vision is dependent on strong, forward-thinking research, which we support wholeheartedly,” he said.Both Daniels and Ngwenya congratulated all the winners for their outstanding achievement and wished them great success in their future endeavours.

Photo caption: Thesis Winners

Justin Logies, Masters: Accountancy, Wits University and Mr Shahied Daniels, CEO: SAIPA

Received on behalf of Dr Rajendra Rajaram, PhD: Accountancy (Business Rescue), UKZN and Kantha Naicker, Chair: SAIPA

Ester Aletta Jacomina Terblanche, PhD: Accountancy, UNISA


Remerta Basson, Masters: Taxation, Stellenbosch University and Mr Ettienne Retief

Dr Teresa Michelle Pidduck, PhD: Taxation, Rhodes University Kantha Naicker, Chair: SAIPA