Communicate Blog

Accountants: Do you have the right skills for the future?

Sandra Olivier - Friday, August 19, 2016

team finance people Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan recently said that the role of accountants has become more important to general society in the current economic times. Finance is evolving from a focus on the transactional and cost efficiency areas to strategy where finance now makes a massive impact on business. If you’re looking to progress your careers in an ever-evolving industry, experts warn the focus needs to be more on a broader range of skills like emotional intelligence, technical skills and interpersonal skills, if you are serious about your future finance career.

Growing numbers of finance professionals spend the bulk of their time as internal consultants or business analysts within their companies. Management roles for accountants increasingly involves a wider and deeper knowledge of financial strategy, business partnering and having to deal with internal and external stakeholders.

Technological advances have liberated finance professionals from the mechanical aspects of business. They spend less time preparing standardised reports and more time analysing and interpreting information. Many have moved from the isolation of accounting departments to be physically positioned in the operating departments with which they work.

The changes in the business environment and practices along with the impact of technology have resulted in a trend where finance professionals are emerging into important role players in the strategic management of businesses throughout South Africa. Working in a changing economic environment with changing legislation, while considering the client’s needs, is a constant challenge and also requires a different set of skills than 30 years ago.

Companies are in need of finance and accounting professionals that are able to look at the numbers and ask ‘why’ as opposed to simply calculating results and putting them on spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations. The base accounting and finance technical skills are a given these days and something that hiring managers really want to ensure people have as they come into the fold. But it's people that can “step back and understand the big picture” that are important and companies are hiring them.

Some of the skills hiring manager are focusing on besides the competency areas are:

IT /System knowledge skills
Never before has it been more crucial than today, that information needs to be real time, accurate and precise. This need for real time access drives the demand for finance professionals that understands how to make use of technology effectively in order to successfully communicate complex issues that will assist management in decision-making. Technology and accounting software is important in driving the evolution of the role of accountants, who now spends far less time updating ledgers and doing manual calculations and more time identifying financial risks, optimising tax payments and finding ways to improve profitability.

Interpersonal skills
The demands on finance professionals are different today, as they are tasked with working with a variety of managers, suppliers and clients. While technical skills are essential, it is well- developed interpersonal skills that will enhance relationships with clients and staff. The ability to work together with different role-players is key to success.

Analytical/Interpretive skills
In the fast-paced business world, finance professionals have become information providers. It’s no longer just about being a wizard at spread sheets and data manipulation but you need to be able to figure out whether the data is reasonable and realistic. You’re not predicting profit, but rather presenting information to be able to make assessments about the future.

In conclusion the latest Talent Shortage Survey for South Africa shows that accounting and finance staff are among the top 10 positions that employers in South Africa are having difficulty filling.

In light of this, it is no great surprise that as the industry changes, the way in which companies identify talent and recruit the best people, changes. To find the best talent organisations need specialised recruitment agencies that know the market, understand the skill requirements, are able to interpret the market conditions, and can identify the best possible candidates from the limited talent pool. Communicate Personnel is a specialist Finance recruitment company and can assist with the sourcing, assessing, screening, and matching of candidate to ensure you find the right fit for your company the first time.

Need help and advice on how to take the next step in your career? Our consultants are experts in the Finance industry and will help you achieve your career goals and manage the entire recruitment process, from interview to offer stage. Connect with us today for top talent and great careers.
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International Cooperation on Taxpayer’s Affairs

Sandra Olivier - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

tax word cloudThe hidden wealth of some of the world’s most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities has been revealed by an unprecedented leak of millions of documents that show the countless ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes.

Already in 2014 former president Thabo Mbeki reported that according to estimates Africa loses $50bn a year in government revenues to creative accounting, often involving tax havens.

However, it took the now famous “Panama Papers” to put the topic of tax on the global agenda. Tax authorities in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the UK have already said they will be looking into allegations of tax evasion and money laundering resulting from the leak of the confidential data. The ripple effect of the release of the Panama Papers is likely to have a big impact on the global financial community as a whole.

The reality is that globalisation has impacted the way in which we do business and dramatically increased cross-border financial activities. This places a greater emphasis on the need for increased collaboration between tax authorities to curb tax evasion and to ensure fair allocation of taxes according to jurisdictions.

Unfortunately some of the world’s wealthiest individuals and multinational companies, able to afford ingenious lawyers and accountants, have figured out ways to avoid paying enormous amounts of taxes using tax havens.

If these individuals pay less in taxes, it has two very negative consequences. First, it leads to wealth inequality because it is so easy for them to accumulate more wealth and remain at the top of the wealth distribution. It also means that for a majority of the population it is very difficult to accumulate more wealth, because the taxes that are evaded at the top have to be compensated for through higher taxes for the rest of us.

Recently the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developed a Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for the automatic exchange of information relevant to tax. Over 50 jurisdictions have agreed to comply with the CSR, including South Africa, a positive step for all on this issue.

Industry players say that over the next couple of months we will see even more initiatives to crack down on traditional tax havens. But some of these plans could take years to implement because of the time it takes to negotiate tax treaties and amend domestic laws. One thing is for sure tax has suddenly become a hot topic and it will be interesting the developments around tax and tax havens over the next couple of months.

The tax industry and especially international tax is currently an exciting field to work in. We know it is not always easy to find the right finance candidates especially in the area of tax. Communicate Personnel is a specialist Finance Recruitment agency so let us do the sourcing, screening and matching to help you to find your next employee. We spend a tremendous amount of time networking and connecting with top talent to introduce to you. As many of our candidates work with us exclusively, you get access to some of the best candidates out there. Contact us today for assistance with all your staffing needs. 

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Accountants and Ethics in the Workplace

Sandra Olivier - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

african-currencyIrrespective of where you work and who you are, ethical practices are important in every single workplace. However, the spotlight seems to shine more on the finance and accounting industry. Although one could argue that ethics are more important in public companies because they affect shareholders, and even a broader area of the market due to participation in stock exchanges, unethical accounting practices in private companies still do harm to business.
Ethical accounting is related to several forms of public good, including preventing illegal activities such as money laundering and tax evasion.

In South Africa, some people in the corporate industry and in government has found themselves caught in the money-laundering web and this news took the media by storm. Up to date, these professionals has been facing increased pressure from regulators and the public in the wake of scandals over the last few years.

It is extremely important for accounting professionals to be ethical in their practices due to the very nature of their profession. The nature of accountants’ work puts them in a special position of trust in relation to their clients, employers and general public, who rely on their professional judgment and guidance in making decisions. As an accountant, you wouldn’t want the trust relationship to be jeopardised in any way.

Your Personal Reputation
Getting hired depends on more than skills. How you present your image and experience is what they call in the finance industry, your personal brand.
This may seem less applicable for finance and accounting jobs than careers in acting or politics, but personal branding can be valuable in any line of work. After all, standing out from the crowd is what personal branding is all about, and that’s a plus in any industry. Personal branding has stepped up to be a key consideration within your career and it is essential to invest time and effort in how you choose to present yourself. It could make the difference between you being very successful in your career or not.

Maintaining Confidentiality
Accountants are given a large amount of trust with personal information. It is imperative that an accountant be able to keep this information confidential. If a supplier’s personal information gets out, it could lead to theft of assets and a possibility of a lawsuit. In order to avoid this type of situation, which would at the least ruin the professional reputation and the also get the business name dragged through the mud, accountants must take steps to protect information, including bank account numbers and tax files to name a few. Examples of these steps include limiting file access, coding computers and servers and avoid discussing information with co-workers or friends.

Conflict of Interest
A professional accountant who is in practice may be confronted with a of conflict of interest when he or she carries out a professional service. Examples of situations in which conflicts of interest may arise includes:

  • If one of the managers in one of your departments at work asks you to ‘cook the books’ because an audit is soon to be done in the company and they somehow messed up, this is always a difficult dilemma to face.  

  • Fraud tendering seems to be the cherry on the cake. For example, if there is a tender contract out and you give the job to someone because he or she is a friend or family, this is definitely seen as conflict of interest.

Financial Reporting
This is perhaps the most common area in which ethics in accounting come into play. How you record information can echo throughout your firm and beyond. It can mean the difference between one department showing a profit, another showing a loss. It can even impact stock prices. Sure, legal laws are a good guide, but many laws have gaps. Is it ethical to take advantage of them, say, by moving around numbers to meet certain revenue criteria? After all, you wouldn’t be breaking any rules, but what about the essence of the rules?

In the end, only you can figure out the best road to take, but to help steer you, consider consulting the ethical codes developed by professional organizations. You don’t have to be a member to benefit from the advice.

No matter what industry or business, you need to take full responsibility to uphold the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.

If you’re looking to get hired as an accounting professional, we can assist. With years of specializing in the finance industry, we understand the market and know what is required from South Africa’s top companies. Visit our website and apply now.


Corporate governance just as vital to SMMEs

Sandra Olivier - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

business graph computer Governance isn’t simply for giant, multi-million dollar companies. It is a key component of any business – be it a business with one employee or a company of a reasonable size. Implementation of cost-effective and simple processes will establish structure, improve operations, contribute to business growth and ensure effective compliance with the law.

The problem is that small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) business owners see corporate governance, as a concept that applies to just that – corporates.

Unfortunately, the increased levels of corruption and a general decline in business confidence are taking its toll on the South African economy. This has resulted in the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa releasing a guide for Governance in SMMEs which simplifies the King III principles so that these can be easily understood, modified and implemented by any business irrespective of its nature, size or level of maturity.

SMMEs are encouraged in this guide to embed the fundamental corporate governance principles and practices into their businesses from the beginning in order to set the ethical foundation from the ground up. The best way to achieve good governance is to make it part of the culture and values of the organisation.

The reality is that the survival and growth of SMME businesses are dependent on good leadership and corporate governance. It allows companies improved access to finance ensuring sustainability and support for better performance.

Basic ways to implement corporate governance

  • Create simple internal policies such as a procedures around skill and responsibilities
  • Demonstrate effective leadership characterized by ethical values of responsibility, accountability, fairness and transparency.
  • Separate roles and responsibilities of the shareholder, director and manager to limit liability and ensure effective division of labour and function.
  • Do your bit for your local environment and community - nature, society and business are interconnected.

Corporate governance is a natural progression and while the full structure may not be suited to all businesses, a certain degree of structure needs to be implemented in order to ensure business growth.

In today’s business and legislative environment, the impact of decisions and actions on stakeholders and employees are increasingly considered to be the responsibility of directors and managers. As an SMME owner, you need all the support that you can get to ensure the effective operation and growth of your enterprise.

As your business grows you will need the right financial staff to help you ensure sustainability. Connect with Communicate Personnel as we can assist. We boast experienced recruitment consultants that specialize in the Finance industry that can help you find the perfect employee for your team. Contact us today. 

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Trends: Finance Sector Forecast for 2016

Sandra Olivier - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

business 2015 was the year of the consumer. Connecting with your customer and personal engagement has become one of the biggest competitive advantages for companies. The financial service industry has embraced social media to connect more effectively with their customers and build their reputations.

However, just a few short years ago, banks, credit card companies and investment firms were nervous about walking into the unpredictable real-time communication with their customers. From collaboration with financial-tech start-ups to more personalised client services, digital technology dominate trends in the finance sector this year.

There has been a lot of talks around the destructive innovations that led to the 2008 financial crisis but as we look towards the future for the financial industry, what are some of the biggest trends to watch out for in 2016?

Banking to the unbanked
Financial companies, mobile providers and banks are always looking for ways to get into the 'cash conversion' space. In other words, they're trying to find the most useful ways to provide cash transaction solutions to the unbanked.

Evidence of this growing trend in sub-Saharan Africa is everywhere. First National Bank's mobile money solution, e-Wallet, topped the R1-billion a month mark for the first time in July 2015. Other South African banks will have to step up their game, as a number of graduates are joining the workforce and will want to open bank accounts.

Moving to the cloud
It seems these days every business wants to move to the cloud, and with good reason. It is an important development in the history of computing. Cloud allows companies to adopt a quick-to-market approach to launching new products and services and business innovations.

And with digital being everywhere, companies need to constantly re-invent their business strategies to meet the demand for innovation and growth, which is why more and more businesses are moving to the cloud.
Cloud supports business speed in emerging markets, and provides a platform for improved productivity and improved insights fueled by analytical and social tools. There is no doubt that this trend will soar this year.

Big data
2015 was a ground-breaking year for the financial sector, as they continue to learn how big data can help transform their processes and organizations. Now, with an eye towards what lies ahead for 2016, we see that financial services organizations are still at various stages of their activity with big data in terms of how they’re changing their environments to leverage the benefits it can offer.

As financial data becomes even more valuable, it’s going to get even harder to build new sustainable financial services businesses. Financial services companies that depend on their own data resources will be at an advantage here because historical financial data is so valuable (your credit history for example).

While the convenience of banking apps can't be denied, mobile technology has the potential to be a huge security risk in 2016, according to a report by McAfee Labs.
The importance of security best practices demands the need for constant innovation to stay a step ahead of cyber-crime. To survive, companies will have to become agile, particularly in the digital space.

Talent focus
Employers are looking for more than technical skill, they want candidates who can help make business decisions. A recent report found that business analysts are among the most in-demand positions in the market. The report added that in-demand candidates possess business acumen, analytical skills, and are comfortable working with various technologies.

Competition will become fierce as the talent pool decreases but demand increases.

What financial services trends do you think will impact your business in 2016?

In today's world, your biggest competitors are the ones you compete with for talent, so make sure you are able to recruit the best. Get in touch with Communicate Personnel for all your staffing needs.

Integrated Reporting: Benefits and Challenges

Sandra Olivier - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

hand with mechanical wheels Increasingly, businesses are expected to report not just on profit but on their impact on the wider economy, society and the environment. Integrated Reporting was developed because of the increasing concerns that existing reporting frameworks and conventions do not enable a company to fully reflect how they create long-term value or help companies adequately connect all the value creating activity within their organisation.

The Volkswagen crisis highlights again how easily stakeholders can be misled by overly positive corporate reporting. Its latest annual report published in March 2015 projects VW as the ‘most sustainable automotive company in the world’. At the time of writing, VW’s supervisory board and the board of management maintain that they were unaware of the emissions manipulation. This incident might not lead to VW’s collapse, but the financial and reputational impacts are likely to be serious. This incident places the focus on the need for the integrated reporting framework, which is a useful tool to aid directors and investors in fully understanding and evaluating a company’s activity and performance.

Benefits of Integrated Reporting
Many organisations are finding that a fundamental change in reporting requires much more than a focus on the end report. It requires a deeper understanding of all the building blocks of the business value creation process.

Integrated Reporting can be regarded as just another reporting convention or a different way to meet growing compliance requirements. But Integrated Reporting is far more than just a reporting framework. It helps a company in more than one way:

  • One of the most important and most common benefits that organizations experience is a new and better understanding of how organizations create – or destroy – value.
  • The disclosure of key risks and opportunities as management views them enables investors to assess the short, medium and long term impact.
  • Tell the Story - of how value is created more effectively, both internally and externally, in such a way that it will win trust and secure the company’s reputation by encouraging better relationships with investors, employees and their stakeholders.

Challenges of Integrated Reporting
One of the key practical challenges organizations continue to face is transitioning a traditional annual report that is focused on financial metrics and related detailed disclosures to a broader report that tells the value creation story of an organisation in an understandable way.

Traditionally Financial and Sustainability Reports were 1000 of pages, the integrated report requires a different approach reducing the volume of information to enables better focus and understanding of the material aspects of the group’s performance, strategy and prospects.

One of the distinguishing features of Integrated Reporting is that in contrast to compliance based reporting, there can be no model report – every report must be built around the unique business model of the preparer. This has left many organisations unsure on how to structure integrated reports.

The world in which companies operate is changing. Integrated Reporting is now required for listed companies in South Africa on an ‘apply or explain’ basis. Businesses are facing capital constraints from a broader range of resources than just finance. Boards are responsible for addressing these capital requirements in a sustainable manner for a company’s long-term success. Integrated Reporting can help fill this gap by providing a basis for companies to explain their value creation more effectively to the capital markets.

If you are looking for qualified finance staff to assist your business in the challenges around integrated reporting or other financial issues, we can assist. Communicate Personnel have placed hundreds of Finance candidates over the last 35 years at top employers around the country. Contact us today for assistance. 

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Changes In The Internal Auditing Function

Bridget Maoko - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

folder The role of internal auditing has evolved significantly over the last years. Internal auditing has expanded to include services that add value not only to the internal control processes, but also embrace control and risk management, in ongoing efforts to meet the needs of various stakeholders.

Despite all of the above, internal auditors in the South African public sector may be falling short, failing to fully meet the expectations of their stakeholders. This is according to a recent survey conducted by the National Treasury and other finance partners. There have been a number of changes within the public internal auditing function in the public sector, below are just two of the important areas.

Risk focus
As companies adapt to the rapid change in the global economy, the risks they face are often unknown and unfamiliar and this potential impact on the business’s future is extensive. Therefore, internal audit functions needs to adapt to the changing risk landscape.

Forward-thinking internal audit functions are providing input on what to consider as the business assess a certain path for example, entering into a new market. At other times, internal audit identifies potential risks as the process is under way, such as cost reduction. It’s therefore important that the Chief Audit Executives (CAE) are involved at the optimal time to provide advice.

The overview of the current situation regarding internal audit staffing, seems to indicate that the public sector have an insufficient number and quality of employees to empower the internal auditing function to provide the level of service expected by their stakeholders.

Research shows that this could be attributed to the fact that CAEs are not adequately qualified (academically and professionally), that too many vacancies exist, that staff turnover rates are too high and that the level of internal audit is too low for the demands of the job.

The talent gap and lack of business expertise are increasing. There is a poor perception of internal audit’s relevance and value in the public sector. As the public sector looks to the future, internal audit functions need to acquire diverse skill sets to address the most critical risks facing their industry. According to PwC’s report, organisations are turning to third parties to close the talent gap.

The way forward
An organisation’s commitment to effective internal control should be reflected directly in the importance it attaches to its internal audit function. The internal audit charter, approved by the board or audit committee, should clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of internal audit with respect to fraud risks. This will require fraud investigation teams to obtain sufficient knowledge of fraudulent schemes, investigation techniques, and applicable laws.

It is very important that the internal audit functions are sufficiently funded, staffed, and trained, with appropriate specialised skills. This would depend on the nature, size, and complexity of the operating environment of an organisation.

The success of any internal auditor lies with that person’s commitment to constantly develop and improve, along with his or her deep understanding of the organization’s needs and how they can be met through the internal audit function. At no time is this truer than in today’s business environment.

If you consider yourself to be one of South Africa’s top Internal Auditors and currently in the market for finance jobs, be sure to visit our vacancies pages to apply!

Need top calibre candidates to grow your organization? We source the very best. Contact us today.

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Research reveals financial services require more female millennials for growth

Sandra Olivier - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

executive women According to a recent report by PwC female millennials are set to play an important part in the future growth of financial services globally. Female millennials are entering the workplace in larger numbers than ever before and come with their own set of expectations and ambitions for their careers. This means that employers should really take a closer look at their talent management practices especially in terms of this generation. Females’ views about diversity and inclusiveness in the work place seem to have reached a tipping point. No longer are they seen as ‘soft’ issues, but rather as crucial competitive capabilities.

There are several benefits to having women in your financial organization. Women bring a different perspective to issues and because diversity makes companies more representative of the world around them, it has profound implications for relationships with stakeholders. In addition, the research shows that there is a clear link between the level of female board representation and market performance. This is most marked where women have a strong presence across all levels of leadership.

Other key findings include:

Career development
A perceived lack of career progression is causing many women to leave their jobs in financial services or putting them off joining the sector in the first place. The report found that only 35% feel they can rise to senior levels within their current organisation. In order to tap into the female talent it is clear that financial services employers need to change tact in terms of their career development and the progression opportunities they offer in order to become an employer of choice for these skilled females.

Remuneration and flexibility is key
Women have yet to close the wage gap, even when they have similar jobs to their male counterparts. Only a handful of new jobs offer comparable pay and flexible working, despite technology advances and significant changes in how and where people work. 30% of female millennials in financial services mentions flexible working arrangements as an attraction and almost all see work-life balance as important.

International exposure
As companies grow they spread across the globe, highlighting the importance to seamlessly operate across borders. Female millennials understands the importance to adapt to this trend and the study shows that more than two-thirds, (68%) would like to work outside their home country and 55% believe they need to gain international experience to further their career.

It is clear that female millennials have high expectations of their future financial services employers, they are ambitious and looking for career progression. If you want to attract this generation of skilled females to help your company grow, the need for well-thought out talent management strategies is essential.

It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, if you are looking for a new job in the finance industry we can assist. Communicate Personnel is a specialist Finance recruitment agency with consultants that have years of experience working with some of the giants in the industry. We have a variety of jobs including positions for Financial Managers, Cost Accountants, Auditors, Management Accountants and more. Let us introduce you to your future employer. Check out our vacancy page and apply today.

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How To Brand Yourself As A Financial Analyst

Bridget Maoko - Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Word Cloud For Business ConceptFinancial analysts are experts on the economy and have the ability to read and predict market trends. They use this sort of information to consult to companies, advising on what the best potential business opportunities are. Analysts research every aspect of a prospect deal or investment, and weigh the worth in order to give the best advice. They know how and why a company experiences gains and losses.

Because this department interfaces so closely with management and the business, the specific roles in this sector and their responsibilities vary widely from company to company. Even with this variability, there are some areas you can focus on that will help brand you as a candidate in your company for this role.

Have the need to learn
Most people understand how important it is to learn a new skill and are almost always willing to jump on the knowledge bandwagon.
A natural curiosity and desire to learn is the most critical attribute of an analyst candidate, as they will constantly be required to learn more about the business, evolving issues, and aspects of the industry in order to perform quality analysis. A basic part of an analyst’s role in the company is to take aspects of multiple elements and perspectives mirrored in the business and bring them together with a measurable approach.

A good analyst knows they never know everything about all the aspects of the business and industry, and there is always more to research, study, and absorb.

Creative problem solving ability
You will be required to come up with ideas for resolving the problem and to find fresh approaches. When people face a problem they try and find a solution. Creative problem solvers ask themselves why the problem exists in the first place and what can be changed to prevent it in the future. Sometimes the best solutions to a problem are preventative. Adopt this kind of thinking and be prepared to explain how the way you approach challenges in the workplace is different than most people.

Technical ability
It’s important that an analyst has a conceptual technical understanding because it helps you analyse the problems to be solved and communicate with technical stakeholders, you don’t need to be able to write code or run database queries. However, candidates should have the ability to solve problems using technology. This will likely be demonstrated through an in-depth understanding of Excel group formulas and other commonly used applications like SAP.

Must have experience with working on projects
A good candidate should be able to demonstrate that they have taken on projects in the past and can communicate how those projects have added value to the company. Even those without experience in a project-focused role, should have identified “extra” things that warranted change in their area. They should have had the confidence, drive, and support to institute even small changes and the understanding and communications skills to explain how that project added value to the business.

Understanding of Financial systems
In order to be able to evaluate and communicate the impact of specific business issues for the company, a candidate must have a good understanding of all components of the financial statements.  Journal entries and reconciliations are likely to be reserved for those in the core accounting department, but a thorough understanding of this is the foundation upon which leading indicators and other metrics are built. Knowledge of the debits and credits made throughout the accounting cycle brings a valuable perspective to an analyst who must understand the function of all aspects of the business.

If you possess all of these things and are looking for finance job opportunities, make sure you can communicate your strengths in these areas and are able to give specific examples if asked in the interview. Always insure you stay up to date with the latest trends in the finance industry, who knows? Your next job opportunity might be just around the corner.

Now that you’ve read the above, you’re probably eager to fill out your job application. So don’t let any opportunities slip you by. Visit our finance vacancy page and apply today.  

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Credit: by basketman

Changes to Audit Standards, improving shareholders confidence

Sandra Olivier - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

keybord job search The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has released its new and revised Auditor Reporting Standards. The new standards are the most significant changes the profession had seen in 20 years. These changes are aimed at boosting the investor and shareholders confidence in the financial statements of a company. It took more than three years of development to put together the new requirements that are aimed at improving transparency and clarity regarding the processes and thinking involved in the audit.

Some of the new requirements include:

  • Auditors need to communicate in their report what they consider the key audit matters to be and what they did to address them in the audit.
  • Auditors need to focus more on issues of concern, including disclosure in the financial statements.
  • Audit opinion would be at the top of the report and no longer at the end. The name of the audit partner must be noted in the report and an expanded list of the auditor’s responsibilities.

The new standards are effective for audits of the financial statements of listed entities for periods ending on or after December 15 2016.

Auditors and companies will need to prepare ahead of implementation, as some changes will require careful navigation. The new standards will be as new to management, audit committees, and users as they are to auditors.

Whether the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), or any other auditing firm performs an audit, audit readiness has its benefits. With improvements in planning, communications, and data quality, a company can reduce the headaches and often lower the costs associated with a yearly audit.

Here are some tips on making this process as smooth as possible:

It’s always a good idea to get team members with prior audit experience to help facilitate the process. Their past experience and insight into what information auditors normally request and spotting potential problems beforehand can really assist in the process.

Access to Information:
Some of the biggest challenges during an audit is data records that are inaccurate or incomplete or difficult to access. It’s important for finance departments to prepare all data before the audit process to save time and prevents unnecessary time wasted.

Reviewing prior year audit reports
The starting point for any audit will be reviewing the audit report from the previous year. If the client has not addressed recommendations from the past year, the auditor will once again focus back on those issues.

Do you have experience in Auditing? Are you looking for the next big break in your Finance career? Communicate Personnel is a specialist Finance recruitment company that can help you find your next job opportunity.

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Credit: by Stuart Miles