INDEPENDENT REGULATORY BOARD FOR AUDITORS

INDEPENDENT REGULATORY BOARD FOR AUDITORS

Legislation and other mandates

The IRBA was established on 1 April 2008 in terms of section 3 of the Auditing Profession Act, 2005, (Act No. 26 of 2005) (the Act), replacing our predecessor body, the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board established in 1951. Its ability to continue creating value in its regulation of the auditing profession in South Africa under different political regimes, demonstrates resilience, adaptability to its changing roles and sustainability of core functions over the long term. The objectives was as set out in section 2 of the Act are as follows:

  • To provide for the establishment of an independent Regulatory Board for Auditors.
  • To protect the public in the Republic by regulating audits performed by registered auditors.
  • To improve the development and maintenance of internationally comparable ethics standards and auditing standards for auditors that promote investment and as a consequence employment in South Africa.
  • To set out measures to advance the implementation of appropriate standards of competence and good ethics in the auditing profession.
  • To provide for procedures for disciplinary action in respect of improper conduct.

The Role of the Board

The Board is the designated accounting authority that governs the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) in accordance with the provisions of the Auditing Profession Act (APA), the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (PFMA) and good corporate governance principles. It exercises its functions in accordance with the APA. The IRBA continuously assesses the extent to which it applies the best practice recommendations of King Ill.

Board members are appointed by the Minister of Finance for a period of two years, after which they can be reappointed for one more term. All members are non-executive members and they comprise, competent persons who could include registered auditors, with the knowledge and expertise needed, to effectively manage and guide the activities of the regulator. A new Board was appointed with effect from 01 April 2015 and it consists of eight members. The role of the chairman and that of the Board are separate, with a clear division of responsibilities to ensure a balance of power and authority between them. The chairman has no executive functions.

Transparency and accountability

The Minister of Finance serves as our Executive Authority, in the overall delivery structure of the South African government. As a beneficiary of public funds, we promote transparency in our interactions with the relevant stakeholders.

As an independent audit regulator we also recognise our responsibility to support the implementation of relevant objectives in governments National Development Plan.

Strategic Focus

Strategic focus is to protect the financial interests of the public by ensuring that only suitably qualified individuals are admitted to the auditing profession and that registered auditors deliver services of the highest duality and adhere to the highest ethics standards.

In line with legislative mandate, the IRBA objectives are therefore to create the framework and principles that contribute to the protection of the public which relies on the services of RAs, and to support RAs who carry out their duties competently, fearlessly and in good faith. Furthermore, we strive to create an enabling environment that allows audit firms to grow and contribute to the protection of the public.

Regulatory Philosophy

Our philosophy is to regulate the auditing profession in the best interest of the public as well as the local and international investor community, and at the same time recognise the importance of a sustainable and viable auditing profession in South Africa.

We adopt a “Prudential Approach” to regulation, which implies having an agreed set of principles and values supported by well-developed and internationally recognised standards, clear laws and regulations.

Implementing Strategy

The development of the competency framework for auditors and the accreditation of the professional institute, SAICA ensure that only suitably qualified individuals register as RAs. The Audit Development Programme (ADR), which replaces the Public Practice Examination (PPE) to prepare CRAs, commenced in 2015. The ADP is a period of specialisation undertaken by professional accountants who want to become RAs. The IRBA also contributes to, and influences, developments in international standards for the education and continuing professional development of accountants and auditors.

To ensure that high standards are established and maintained by the auditing profession, the IRRA continues to participate in, and influence structures that are responsible for setting international auditing and assurance standards and codes of professional ethics, as well as the development of local implementation guidance for auditors to meet regulatory reporting requirements of government and other regulators.

The IRBA also contributes to developments in global best practices for audit regulators, with regard to inspections and monitoring of compliance with the standards and codes for auditors and their firms.

The integrity and completeness of the register of RAs is vital for the IRBA to meet its statutory responsibilities. The register maintained by the Legal Department, which is also responsible for investigating allegations of improper conduct and enforcing appropriate disciplinary action against auditors.

The IRBA’s Goal

The IBBA’s goal is to help create an ethical, value-driven financial sector that encourages investment, creates confidence in the financial markets and promotes sound financial practices. This is implemented through its various functions, supported by the relevant statutory committees.

Below are examples of how the IRBA’s success in implementing its mandate and achieving its goals has been recognised by government:

  • SARS has acknowledged the IBBA as a recognised controlling body for registered auditors who are also registered tax practitioners, and
  • The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) requested the 1ae/ to regulate B-BBEE approved registered auditors (BABS) who are authorised to perform assurance engagements and issue B-BBEE certificates.
  • The IBBA is a designated Supervisory Body in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (PICA), supporting the financial intelligence Centre with the supervision of BAs who are also accountable institutions as defined in the FICA.

The IRBA values

As the overall custodian of the auditing profession in South Africa, the IRBA acknowledges the importance of the mandate assigned to it by Parliament and its registrants and staff ascribe to the core values of: independence, integrity and objectivity, commitment, transparency and accountability.

It is imperative that we are not just independent of the auditing profession in our composition and membership, but also reflect independence in the perception of our key stakeholders, through our actions and behaviour. It is therefore important that we act with integrity and objectivity in our deliberations, decisions and actions.

Commitment

We recognise the scope and extent of our mandate in respect of both the public and the profession and undertake to execute and deliver on this mandate with diligence and commitment in terms of our vision.