|Johannesburg, Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has welcomed the public hearing scheduled by the Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF), to be held in Parliament on 15 February, on the regulator’s measures to strengthen auditor independence and contribute to the efficiency of capital markets. The IRBA decided in August 2016 that the preferred solution to achieve adequate auditor independence and enhance the credibility of financial reporting was Mandatory Audit Firm Rotation (MAFR).
Its announcement of the proposal and call for input into the transitional arrangements to be considered was met with stiff resistance even ahead of the official public consultation process which kicked off on 25 October 2016 and closed at the end of January 2017. On November 15, the IRBA was invited to parliament to present its annual report as well as the MAFR proposals to SCOF. At that time, the committee suggested that it would be appropriate to assist the process by hosting a hearing early this year.
Last week the IRBA reported that it had received 65 submissions near the close of the comment period, but this had since risen to 70. The board of the IRBA is considering the submissions which were received from a variety of stakeholders including audit firms, companies, civil society and shareholder groups, individuals, professional bodies and other regulators. The board meets this week to evaluate whether any new information has come to light as a result of the comment process.
For more information on the hearing: http://www.parliament.gov.za/content/FC0432_PSA.pdf
More about the IRBA:
The IRBA is a public protection statutory body established to protect the financial interests of the public by ensuring registered auditors and their firms deliver services of the highest quality. It upholds audit firm independence to ensure that audit quality is such that it enhances the accuracy and credibility of financial performance reporting. In this way, the IRBA has an important role to play in building the reputation of South Africa as an investment market for both local and global investors and driving economic growth for the country.
As an internationally recognised regulator of the auditing profession and other assurance services relevant to the South African environment, it has been recognised by the World Economic Forum as the top independent audit regulator worldwide for seven consecutive years for the strength of its audit controls and standards. The IRBA also registers suitably qualified accountants as auditors, who must adhere to the highest ethics standards, and promotes the auditing profession through the effective regulation of assurance conducted in accordance with internationally recognised standards and processes.