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In October 2020, we focused on ethics and delivered a series of webinars to discuss the ethical challenges currently facing the chartered accountancy and auditing professions and come up with solutions to these challenges. During a particular focus on ethics in the public sector, I shared that the professional body has noted an increase in the number of member complaints about intimidation threats.
The only constant in a tech-driven world is change. Rapid advances in technology are driving change in the workplace. To remain competitive, businesses are having to implement new strategies that include technology, upskilling their workforce, employing agile leaders and promoting a culture of lifelong learning among managers and other employees.
Franchising worldwide continues having a 90% success rate as opposed to 10% for those starting a business on their own and whilst the sector in South Africa contributes around R721 billion to the country’s GDP. Yet there are still many businesses masquerading as franchises when in fact their business models are far from that of a franchise.
South Africa’s current woes are in large part a result of a large-scale breakdown in ethics (both personal and professional) and good governance practices. One only needs to look at the goings-on at Steinhoff, KPMG, Eskom, SARS and VBS Bank to see the impact that unethical behaviour, large scale looting and unchecked business practices have had on the South African economy and on South Africans, whose confidence in the leadership of this country and those in business is at an all-time low.
This feature takes a look at how professionalism helps to build and maintain an ethical society, one that upholds the values of honesty, integrity and dependability. It explores the role professional bodies play in setting and upholding industry standards, and how professional development assists in the maintenance of those standards. It also looks at the role business schools are playing in professional development, and what skills will be needed in the future world of work.
As one of the original members of the SAQA commission which worked on the Professional Body framework and regulations, I am now astounded by how existing and aspirant Professional Bodies, but more so, pre-existing Statutory Bodies, are consciously misinterpreting what Continuous Professional Development(CPD) is and how it needs to be quality assured.
I am regularly concerned by just how easily and it may be argued intentionally a Professional Body misinterprets its obligation towards the enforcement of Ethical and Behaviourally acceptable conduct on the one hand, and on the other its obligation to ensure acceptable levels of competency and ongoing personal development to maintain that competent profile. These are neither the same thing, nor are they interchangeable.
Is the accounting profession experiencing a crisis of credibility? Current events locally and internationally are demanding higher levels of accountability in the accounting and auditing professions. Unethical accounting and auditing practices in South Africa have reverberated globally, with the reputations of large accounting and auditing firms severely damaged by their links to public service corruption and financial misrepresentation by large multinational companies like Steinhoff.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) boasts many benefits, the most obvious being the ability to fast track obtaining a qualification. Many people today have extensive experience in their field but not the qualifications behind their name to back that experience. RPL offers a solution for those eligible candidates.
"Not every person with a qualification can be regarded as a professional" - This is becoming something of a mantra when explaining what it is a Professional Body stands for. A Professional Body is not a Training Provider and SAQA has done itself a disservice surely, by allowing Training Providers to register as Professional Bodies?