The Auditing Profession Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament.
The bill’s explanatory summary was republished in Government Gazette 43009 at the beginning of the week.
The bill aims to amend the Auditing Profession Act of 2005, so as to:
• insert a definition;
• strengthen the governance of the Regulatory Board;
• strengthen the investigating and disciplinary processes;
• provide for the power to enter and search premises and to subpoena persons with information required for an investigation or disciplinary process;
• provide for the power to issue a warrant for purposes of entering and searching of premises;
• provide for processes to be followed after an investigation;
• provide for a duty to disclose information;
• provide for sanctions in admission of guilt process and following a disciplinary hearing;
• provide for offences relating to investigation and disciplinary process;
• provide for the protection of personal information;
• provide for transitional measures; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.
The proposed legislation sets down how the investigating committee, disciplinary committee and subcommittees of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) are to be constituted.
Detail is provided on powers to enter and search premises, warrants, process following investigation, disciplinary hearing and sanctions in admission of guilt process.
In order to strengthen the independence of the IRBA and address issues of conflict of interest by members of the IRBA, the proposed amendments prohibit registered auditors and candidate auditors from being appointed as members of the IRBA.
The proposed amendment also seeks to empower the investigating committee to authorise an official of the IRBA to enter and search premises or subpoena any person with information required to complete an investigation in order to address issues of non-cooperation by auditing firms during improper conduct investigations.
The IRBA will also be able to, if appropriate, refer a matter brought against a registered auditor to an accredited professional body for investigation.
The standing committee on finance will process the bill.