Johannesburg, Friday, January 5, 2024 – The Minister of Finance today gazetted a notice of withdrawal of the notice of maximum fines for improper conduct of registered auditors issued on 15 June 2023, and issued a new maximum fine notice for a comment period of 30 days.
The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) wishes to clarify that this does not reverse the notice of maximum fines for improper conduct as promulgated by the Minister on 15 June 2023 and these will remain applicable for improper conduct committed from 15 June 2023 until the adoption of the new notice for maximum fines after the comment period, as envisaged in sections 51(2) and 51B(3)(b) of the Auditing Profession Act 26 of 2005.
Says Imre Nagy, IRBA CEO: “I reiterate that these prescribed maximum fines are a maximum limit and not fixed. The IRBA will in all cases apply proportionality and scalability when sanctioning in matters of improper conduct, as we have always done. There are varying degrees of improper conduct and not every matter is sanctioned by way of maximum fines. The IRBA also has non-monetary sanctions at its disposable for improper conduct, which although it remains improper conduct does not have massive public impact. These non-monetary sanctions are generally remedial in nature, encouraging continual professional development.”
Per the Government Gazette Notice 49968 of 5 January 2024, it indicates in paragraph four that: The purpose of the proposed withdrawal of the Notice and a new determination of maximum amounts, is to provide for the maximum amounts for both sections 51(2) and 51B(3)(b) of the Act to apply per charge.
From the inception of the IRBA in 2006 by the enactment of the Auditing Profession Act, the maximum fines – which were then governed by the Adjustment of Fines Act – were set at a maximum of R200 000 per charge. This concept is therefore consistent with historical practice. Furthermore, the IRBA has always applied proportionality and scalability in the determination of monetary sanction for improper conduct, and maximum fine limits are reserved for the most serious charges of improper conduct.
Notes to Editors:
The effective periods of sanction will therefore be:
* anticipated date of publication of final monetary sanctions
More about the IRBA:
The IRBA is a public protection statutory body established to protect the financial interests of the public by ensuring registered auditors and their firms deliver services of the highest quality. It upholds audit firm independence to ensure that audit quality is such that it enhances the accuracy and credibility of financial performance reporting. In this way, the IRBA has an important role to play in building the reputation of South Africa as an investment market for both local and global investors and driving economic growth for the country.
The IRBA also registers suitably qualified accountants as auditors, who must adhere to the highest ethics standards, and promotes the auditing profession through the effective regulation of assurance conducted in accordance with internationally recognised standards and processes.