SAIPA CEO Responds to ‘Allegations And Misrepresentations’

The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) is fully committed to consistently deliver products and services that promote the very best interests of all its members. Consequently, the article, Strains of Change, in the Financial Mail of 1 July 2011, in which reference is made to a “racial battle over transformation” within the organisation came as an unexpected surprise.

When embarking on organisational change of the magnitude that SAIPA has had to undertake since 2005, it is to be expected that these transformational changes may create considerable anxiety amongst some members.

Since developing and adopting its transformation plan, SAIPA has steadfastly proceeded with implementation, exercising due caution not to estrange members who may harbor some doubts about the process. This plan is not limited to transforming the member body to represent the demographic of South Africa, but is also aimed at ensuring that SAIPA conducts business in accordance with current best practice and mirrors changes in the local and international accounting profession.

One of the changes the SAIPA board embarked upon was to restructure its regional make-up, rationalise 11 regions into five in accordance with best practice, the ever-changing business environment and to reposition itself in a manner that will contribute to increased relevance, prevalence and service delivery to its members.

Rationalisation has unfortunately been misconstrued to be the disbandment of regions, whereas this was never a predetermined goal. Where regions represent too few members, these regions were recast as forums that could voluntarily align to adjacent regions.

Having taken cognisance of the dissatisfaction of its members with regard to service delivery levels, SAIPA in 2010 appointed a dedicated Client Care Officer. Since this appointment, several improvements have been implemented that have meaningfully decreased the number of service complaints, also significantly increasing the number of compliments SAIPA receives.

The SAIPA CEO, Shahied Daniels has strongly contradicted allegations of financial mismanagement, stating: “Financial statements are audited by external auditors, interrogated by the audit committee, and presented to the board and the AGM for approval. If any member is of the view that the SAIPA annual financial statements are materially incorrect, such member has the right to complain to the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), requesting that the IRBA take steps against the auditors for not having properly executed their audit responsibility before granting SAIPA an unqualified audit opinion.’

The decision to limit attendance at the recent SAIPA AGM to SAIPA members was taken to ensure that non-SAIPA attendees would not misinterpret the issues raised and discussed at the AGM. To accommodate the media, journalists were invited to meet with the SAIPA Chairperson, Ms Rina Hattingh, and the SAIPA Chief Executive, Mr Shahied Daniels after the AGM. Unfortunately comments made on this occasion by the aforesaid persons were misconstrued, culminating in an article that was not an accurate reflection of the interview. Understandably, those who were labeled as recalcitrant “white Afrikaner males” were very aggrieved and deserving of an unconditional apology.

Where members have concerns about any matter, their best recourse is via the SAIPA channels available to them. The board and secretariat are fully committed to interrogate any complaint submitted via these channels.