IRBA Newsletter Issue 51

Issue 51 | July-September 2020 2 CEO’S PERSPECTIVE VALUABLE INSIGHTS FROM STAKEHOLDERS ARE SHAPING THE WAY FORWARD “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin I have completed a fascinating four months as the CEO of the IRBA, and in that time have engaged with a number of stakeholders both internally and externally. I am grateful for the insights gleaned from these interactions, including the illuminating experiences and proposals on how to take the IRBA and the profession forward. No doubt, we have to be responsive to change; not only due to the novel world created by the pandemic, but also due to the outcomes of these dialogues. Parallel to the stakeholder engagement process, the organisation has embarked on a number of projects; and together as a team, we are starting to make good progress on these. • IRBA Strategic Plan Refresh Living in this era of COVID-19 allows one to reflect on how quickly and drastically circumstances can and have changed in these past few months. With regard to the IRBA, the following is worth noting: o We are living in a new normal where the pace of change has accelerated. As such, it is imperative that we acknowledge the uncertainties and opportunities of this turbulent, uncertain, novel, ambiguous (TUNA) world. o Stakeholder needs and expectations have evolved. o Being an organisation in transition, it is vital that we take cognisance of public and stakeholder sentiments regarding the audit profession. o To balance enforcement with growth and development in the profession, evolving stakeholder business platforms (which are moving to the digital space) call for agility in the IRBA’s processes. o The acceleration of 4IR during the pandemic requires the IRBA to re-evaluate the effective use of technology. o To facilitate remote working for IRBA staff, a redesign of the dynamic work policies will be necessary. o The recovery of economies post the pandemic will be long and arduous, thereby, impacting the sustainability of public and private sector entities. Against this backdrop of change and uncertainties, we have embarked on a strategy refresh to align our plans to the new realities and expectations, as necessitated by the impact of COVID-19 and the leadership change at the IRBA. The realignment entails a review of our processes, people, platforms and our stakeholder engagement model. Out of this process, a new fit-for-purpose IRBA will emerge to serve the profession and all its stakeholders. • Adequate Resourcing of the IRBA Parallel to the strategy refresh process, a review of the IRBA’s operating model is underway to ensure that we remain relevant and sustainable with adequate financial and human capital. • Auditing Profession Amendment Bill The proposed amendments to the Auditing Profession Act are receiving momentum with the assistance of National Treasury. In August 2020, a joint sitting of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Select Committee on Finance were briefed by the IRBA and the National Treasury on the proposed amendments. We hope that this process will be concluded soon after the public hearing process scheduled for October 2020. • Resetting Relationships Through our targeted engagements, we have heard our stakeholders who have expressed a need for a more collaborative regulator that will enable the formation of a cohesive voice for the profession to restore trust and confidence. While we are independent, it is imperative that we are proactive in regulating the profession and creating a stakeholder engagement framework that will allow us to interact and share information with all our stakeholders. • Audit Reforms The challenges facing the auditing profession call for an honest conversation, without fear or favour, on the reforms needed to rebuild trust in the profession. Through certain engagements, we have identified certain red flags in some areas of the profession and are starting to work through these as a collective. Recent actions emerging from other countries call for the South African market to commence its own discussions on some of the proposals that include the potential of separating the audit and advisory businesses of audit firms. • Repositioning the Registered Auditor (RA) Brand We have embarked on a very exciting project to reposition the RA brand. We have recently concluded the stakeholder immersions aspect of this initiative. In the near future, we will share with the market innovative ways of refreshing the RA brand and making it more appealing in order to attract and retain more candidates in the profession. The sustainability of the profession relies on all the role-players getting involved in ensuring that we have sufficient inclusive talent. The role that the IRBA plays in protecting the financial interests of the public cannot be over-emphasized. It is imperative that we are adequately resourced to implement our mandate. The strategic review, digital transformation, funding and human resources capacity will be our top key focus areas in the next few months, as we plan for a sustainable and more agile IRBA that is led by a resolute leadership. As Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu says in his latest book: “Specialised regulators such as the IRBA for the auditing profession in South