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Parliament Passes Auditing Profession Amendment Bill

March 23, 2021

Parliament

Parliament has passed the Auditing Profession Amendment Bill and sent it to president Ramaphosa for assent.

The national assembly (NA) passed the bill and sent it to the national council of provinces (NCOP) for concurrence in December 2020.

The bill was tabled in parliament in February 2020.

The bill aims to amend the Auditing Profession Act, 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 sanctions in admission of guilt process and following a disciplinary hearing;
• provide for offences relating to investigation and disciplinary process;
• provide for the protection and sharing of 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 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 adopted the bill with amendments.

The select committee on finance adopted the bill without amendments.

Meanwhile, the 2021 Division of Revenue Bill has been passed by the NA and sent to the NCOP for concurrence.

The bill was tabled on 24 February during Budget 2021.

The bill aims to provide for:


• the equitable division of revenue raised nationally among the national, provincial and local spheres of government for the 2021/22 financial year;
• the determination of each province’s equitable share;
• allocations to provinces, local government and municipalities from national government’s equitable share;
• the responsibilities of all three spheres pursuant to such division and allocations; and
• to provide for matters connected therewith.

The select committee on appropriations will process the bill.