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Accounts institute completes

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MBABANE – The Swaziland Institute of Accounts (SIA) has completed the first round of monitoring visits to the country’s audit firms.

The purpose of the monitoring visits, according to the institution’s Executive Director Barnabas Mhlongo was to ensure that the firms were complying with relevant professional standards, SIA’s rules and regulations and the Accountants Act 1985, as amended.

He said an important objective of each visit was to confirm whether or not the audit work undertaken by the firm complied with international auditing standards. He said the intention was that all auditing firms in the kingdom would be subject to inspection at least once every three years.

"There are a number of benefits which will flow from the quality assurance or monitoring programme. The independent monitoring of audit firms is in the public interest. It will inspire public trust and confidence in the regulation of auditors in the country by ensuring that Swaziland’s auditing professionals exercise competence and due care in their work. It will strengthen the oversight of auditors in the kingdom," he explained.

Mhlongo said the monitoring visits would also serve as an important catalyst in assisting auditing firms to improve the quality of the training and development of aspiring Swazi accountants, who have a vital role to play in the ongoing development of the country’s economy.

Giving a brief background about the exercise, the executive director said it was in May 2009 when SIA signed an agreement with the Eastern, Central & Southern African Federation of Accountants (ECSAFA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) based in the United Kingdom relating to the external monitoring of SIA members in public practice.

"The signing of the agreement marked the beginning of a new era where there will be regular, independent monitoring visits to audit firms in Swaziland by ACCA (UK). The primary purpose of a monitoring visit to an audit firm is to ensure that the firm is complying with relevant professional standards, SIA’s rules and regulations and the Accountants Act 1985, as amended. An important objective of each visit is to confirm whether or not the audit work undertaken by the firm complies with international auditing standards," he explained.

He said SIA also had a responsibility under the Accountants Act No. 5 of 1985, to develop and strengthen the profession of accountants and auditors in Swaziland.

"It is widely accepted that the public interest requires that audit engagements be subject to mandatory quality assurance reviews and the position of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) of which SIA is a member, is that it is desirable for the services performed by professional accountants, especially audits of financial statements, to be subject to quality assurance reviews on a regular basis. Member bodies of IFAC must, therefore, have in place credible and effective quality assurance review or monitoring programmes for their members performing audit work," he added.

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