5 questions: Accounting body's new boss on 'rogue accountants' & helping SA impress rating agencies

Shahied Daniels has recently been appointed as new CEO of the SA Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA).

SAIPA has more than 10 000 members.

Daniels strongly believes that professional accountants can make an important contribution to the sustainable economic growth of businesses, society and of the South African economy as a whole.

One of the issues he is passionate about is developing the youth in SA within the accountancy profession - both at school and university level. Here, in this edited interview, he discusses the state of the SA accounting industry and some of the challenges facing the profession.

Fin24: What is the role SAIPA plays in SA and why is it important?

Shahied Daniels [SD]: SAIPA's role is, firstly, to be a progressive "corporate citizen" and contribute to society, business and the broader economy of our beloved country.

Secondly, SAIPA's important role is to proactively develop the necessary tools, mechanisms, support and service to its members in order to serve its clients and employers.

Fin24: What about ratings agencies - they usually rate SA's financial services sector as good?

SD: Ratings agencies look at the overall economic, political and social infrastructure of a country, and we, as a professional accountancy body, should engage business, society and government more in order to meaningfully contribute to ratings.

Fin24: What are the challenges in the profession?

SD: The most recent challenge in the profession was its image and reputation being tarnished due to a few "rogue accountants". Very unfortunately, everyone is painted with the same brush.

Fin24: How can challenges be addressed?

SD: It is imperative that professional bodies such as SAIPA "up their game" to restore public trust and interest.  

One of my tasks is to work with other stakeholders in order to ensure tangible and measurable initiatives, and that mechanisms are developed to assist members with the attitude and behaviour of being ethical, and to report unethical behaviour by business people and society.

However, we must recognise that temptation is a weakness of human beings.

Fin24: What is your motto in life?

SD: The only constant in life is change.

This applies to everything, and we at SAIPA embrace this to ensure we and our members remain relevant to make a difference and contribution to business, society and government, thus making SA a better place for all.

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