It is unfortunate that "a few rogue accountants" managed to tarnish the image of the accounting profession in South Africa, according to Shahied Daniels, new CEO of the SA Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA).
SAIPA has more than 10 000 members.
Daniels says SAIPA has taken a pro-active stance, with the organisation releasing a media statement confirming that a number of accountants' names were revealed in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
"We have assured the public of continuous communication in this regard and about how we would deal with our members, should any be found wanting," said Daniels.
SAIPA announced in January this year that it would probe two accountants implicated by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi in his affidavit submitted to the Zondo Commission.
SAIPA said this was in the interest of transparency, as these accountants would fall under its jurisdiction.
Agrizzi alleged previously that Bosasa was involved in tender irregularities and paying bribes to top government officials, among other things.
As part of the disciplinary process, the members will be given an opportunity to provide their version of events.
The matter will then be placed before SAIPA's investigations committee, which will either make a recommendation against the member or refer them to the disciplinary committee.
If the members are found guilty of unprofessional conduct, misconduct, bringing SAIPA into disrepute or failing to uphold the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants code of ethics, a harsher sanction will be imposed, such as losing their membership to the institute.
Accountants can contribute
Daniels strongly believes that professional accountants can make an important contribution to sustainable economic growth of businesses, society and of the South African economy as a whole.
Daniels grew up in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, where he attended Arcadia Senior Secondary School and matriculated with commerce subjects including accounting, economics and business economics.
He then obtained a Diploma in Internal Auditing at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT); a postgraduate qualification in taxation from Unisa; a Diploma in Management from the University of Cape Town (UCT); and a qualification in negotiations from Vlerick Leuven in Brussels, Belgium.
He further obtained the professional qualifications of Professional Accountant (SA); Certified Business Advisor (SA); and Chartered Director (SA).
"I have always been involved in the accountancy profession and became a student member of SAIPA - on the advice of a lecturer - until I obtained my professional qualification. I, furthermore, served in the Regional Structures of SAIPA in the Western Cape and was chair of the region as well as elected to serve on the National Board, including as vice president," he told Fin24.
One of the issues Daniels is passionate about is developing youth in SA within the accountancy profession - both at school and at university level.
SAIPA has established a Diversity, Growth and Transformation Committee to attend to remaining inequalities in the profession, and Daniels says there is still a lot of work to be done to address these.