Am sure you have been following developments of social unrest and tensions through the media particularly in the broader areas of Gauteng. Kindly be advised that IABC operations are sustained however been affected due to ongoing protest actions in the context that at times for safety reasons staff were advised to stay home for safety and security reasons. As a result we have sustained operations however not at the capacity that the company has set for itself and its client base as per company policy and value proposition. Kindly bear with us during this. It might happen that there may be no person at the office or telephone calls may be unmanned and unanswered, however we will ensure to the best of our abilities that core services are still delivered and disruption minimized so that compliance and business needs of our larger clientele base is not compromised. Managing Consultant.Read More
Archive for category Business news
The contents and information provided in this article are generalised and must not be acted upon as legal advice
“This article makes extensive reference to the study conducted and report written by Professor Marius Pretorius of Business Enterprises at University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd (“the study”), undertaken for the CIPC, entitled “Business Rescue Status Quo Report”, issued and published on 30 March 2015.
A not so new landscape has been created by the New Companies Act presenting lucrative business opportunity not only for the legal fraternity but business and finance and accounting professions. Business rescue has for some time now been ignored under the misunderstanding that it’s a turf for the legal profession, but this is far from true as Business Rescue above all else requires key business and entrepreneurial skills in addition to Finance, Taxation and Legal skills.
Financially distressed companies in South Africa now have an opportunity can opt to reorganise and restructure through Chapter 6 of the amended Companies Act, No 71 of 2008. This has far-reaching effects on creditors, financial institutions, shareholders, employees and restructuring specialists.
Kindly note that Section 66 (1A) of the Close Corporations Act 69 of 1984 provides that the business rescue provisions of the Act apply equally to close corporations as they do to companies.
To fully determine what causes firms to enter into business rescue and how business rescue is initiated, it’s of fundamental importance to comprehend the terms and provision including key definition, as contained in chapter 6 of the Companies Act, No. 71 of 2008, amended.
The key TEST to determine whether an entity should enter is that of financial distress which the Act has defined under section 128(1)(f), subject to two (2) conditions below, as: “financially distressed, in reference to a particular company at any particular time, means that; (i) it appears to be reasonably unlikely that the company will be able to pay all of its debts as they become due and payable within the immediately ensuing six months; or (ii) it appears to be reasonably likely that the company will become insolvent within the immediately ensuing six months”.
It would then be safe to say for an entity to consider entering into Business Rescue (“BR”) the company must be “financially distressed”. This means that it is reasonably unlikely that the company will be able to pay its debts as they become due in the next 6 months, or, it is reasonably likely that the company will become insolvent in the next 6 months. If a company is financially distressed and the directors/members do not file for BR, they can attract personal liability, according Pat Pattinson.
The ultimate goal of business rescue is to reach a commercial and viable solution, culminating in the rescue of the company as well as maximising the likelihood of its continued existence on a solvent basis.
However the following conditions are also deemed to hold:
- Reasonable prospect: In a decision of the South Gauteng High Court, in the case of
Oakdene Square Properties (Pty) Ltd v Farm Bothasfontein (Kyalami) (Pty) Ltd 2012 JPR 0239 (GSJ), the court considered the plausibility of business rescue in an instance where liquidation was preferable. In this instance, the court dismissed the application for business rescue and held that a liquidation of the company would achieve a similar result to that of a business rescue. This judgment makes it clear that prior to a company, or an
affected person being placed in business rescue, consideration should be given to the nature of the company, the extent to which business rescue is the appropriate procedure for that company and the extent to which business rescue would be more beneficial for the company than liquidation. If the answer to the latter questions is in the affirmative, business rescue proceedings are likely to be successful. If not, liquidation may be the preferred alternative. The term reasonable prospect is further defined under key terms and phrases as well as introduction of the concept of;
- The company must not be insolvent in terms of the definition of insolvency under the Act and if its insolvent and proceedings have commenced or imminent for windup, BR should may only be considered if it results in a better return for the company’s creditors or shareholders than would result from the immediate liquidation of the company in line with Section 128(1b)iii = Better Return than in Liquidation (“BRiL”)
It is important to note that when referring to insolvency, the Act has two considerations for insolvency;
- Technical (factual) insolvency whereby the total liabilities of the entity exceeds the total assets and thereby reflecting negative equity;
- Commercial insolvency; whereby it appears reasonably unlikely that the company will be able to pay all of its debts as they become due and payable within the immediately ensuing six months, regardless of whether assets exceed assets.
The measure of solvency according to the Act refers to the second definition.
The test of reasonable prospect above entails that business rescue is meant for economically viable companies only, and that economically unviable companies entering the process, when allowed, is the cause of its high failure rate overseas, as well as locally.
Note that depending on circumstances surrounding the business rescue, in terms of how the BR proceeding are instituted, whether voluntary or by the courts (in favour of affected person), the Business Rescue Practitioner (“BRP”) will be appointed by either the company or by the court. However, further note that any BRP appointment has to be ratified by the court.”
Section 138 of the Act regulates the qualifications required for a business rescue practitioner. In order to qualify as a business rescue practitioner a person must be –
- a member in good standing of a legal, accounting or business management profession accredited by the CIPC (section 138(1)(a)); and
- be licensed as such by the CIPC (section 138(1)(b)).
From this it appears that a person must satisfy both the above requirements for appointment. But Regulation 126 of the Act states that a person who is part of an accredited profession need not be licensed by the CIPC (Regulation 126(2)). The CIPC has further indicated that it is, at least for the meantime, accrediting certain professions for the purposes of business rescue appointments and instead is appointing and licensing business rescue practitioners on an ad hoc basis in accordance with section 138 (1)(b).Read More
Author: Amanda Visser (Business Live)
Tax experts say small business owners have three options; a salary, dividends paid from after-tax profits and borrowing from the company.
Many people are under the impression that owning a business makes life easier. The harsh reality they tend to forget is that bosses have to finance themselves and everyone else working for them.
The decision on how to reward a business owner can be quite tricky, mainly because of the tax implications if the wrong choice is made. It could affect not only the bosses, but also those who are dependent on them for a living.
Tax experts say small business owners have three options; a salary, dividends paid from after-tax profits and borrowing from the company.
Chris Herbst, team leader at CH Consulting, says the option of using a loan account without paying a salary or a dividend “is almost never a good option. Some directors are under the impression that this option does not attract tax. They are wrong.”
The first factor to consider is the interest rate the company charges for the loan. In most cases, the company does not charge any interest.
Herbst says this implies that the owner is receiving a benefit due to the connection with the company. This equates to remuneration and, like everybody else, the owner must pay tax on the remuneration.
The Income Tax Act deems interest free or low-interest loans as a dividend. If the boss wants to take all the annual taxable profits, of say R400,000 as a loan, the company will pay 28% on the profits (R112,000).
If no interest was charged, the deemed dividend on R400,000 at 7.5% (the official rate of interest) will be R30,000. At 20% dividends, the withholding tax amounts to R6,000. The owner will be left with R282,000 and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will get R118,000. The total effective tax rate will be 29.5%. But, says Herbst, the loan account for the following year will still be R400,000 if the owner does not repay it and the R6,000 dividend tax will again be liable.
Rodney Smith, director at Liandor Financial Accountants and board member of the South African Institute of Tax Professionals, says he also does not advocate loan accounts as a debit loan attracts an ongoing tax as a deemed dividend.
“The value of this deemed divided tax is currently quite low, but nothing prevents SARS from increasing this deemed tax in the future. I see this as a risk.
“Of greater concern is that a debit loan negates the separation between the estate of the firm and the estate of the owner,” he says.
In the case of insolvency, civil claims and employee claims, loans could effectively suck the personal estate of the owner into the pot available to the creditors, as the company will have a loan claim against the owner.
Herbst says his first option for business owners would be to extract a salary as an employee of the company. If the salary is R400,000 (the taxable profits of the company) it is important to remember that the first R195,850 will be taxed at 18%; the second portion of up to R305,850 will be taxed at 26%; and the third portion up to R400,00 will be taxed at 31%. However, the effective tax rate on the R400,000 is 23.24% and the tax payable on the salary of R400,000 will be R92,960.
If rebates or tax credits are ignored, the business owner will earn R307,040, SARS will receive R92,960 from the owner but no tax from the company because all the profits were paid as a salary.
“The main advantage for extracting the profit by way of salary is that the salary decreases the taxable income of the company by the amount of the salary,” Herbst says.
Bowmans tax partner Patricia Williams says the owner’s salary must be market related. If it is not, SARS may consider it to be excessive and disallow the deduction claimed by the company for the salary paid. “Also, a salary that is viewed by SARS as being too low, could give rise to SARS viewing the dividends paid by the company as being for services rendered, and not as a return to shareholders.
“In this case SARS may attempt to subject these dividends to income tax instead of dividends tax,” says Williams.
Another option for paying business owners is the deemed dividend. If it is R400,000, it will attract tax of R169,600 at a total effective tax rate of 42.4%. The company will pay 28% on the R400,000 leaving R288,000, which attracts dividend tax of 20% (R57,600).
Tax Audit Solutions head of global employment, expatriate tax advisory Shohana Mohan says there is no hard and fast rule when selecting a payment option. However, given the difference in tax rates for personal income taxpayers against the rate at which dividend withholding tax is applied, the most common extraction of income happens in the form of declaring dividends.
Mohan says each case is different and the choice made often depends on the business and personal circumstances.
Smith says he too would recommend a salary for business owners, who can maximise their contributions to pension funds and medical aid to reduce their taxable income.
He warns against buying a vehicle through the business accounts for personal use. Many have found the fringe benefit tax attributable to the vehicle to be “shocking and unaffordable”.
Williams says taxpayers often do not keep a proper record of their real business expenses, which are tax deductible, and include travel, entertainment, cellphone or internet expenditure.
This article first appeared on businesslive.co.za.Read More
The South African Revenue Service (Sars) collected R1.216-trillion for the 2017/18 financial year, representing growth of R72.4-billion, or 6.3%, year-on-year.
This was, however, lower than the R1.217-trillion target set by the National Treasury during the 2018 Budget speech.
The main sources of revenue that contributed were personal income tax, value-added tax (VAT) and company income tax.
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on Tuesday said the 2017/18 financial year had been characterised by distinct and clearly delineated growth patterns.
Until December 2017, revenue in aggregate grew by 6.2% year-on-year.
For the period from December 2017 to February 2018, revenue growth accelerated to between 9.5% and 15.5%, strengthening aggregated year-on-year growth to about 7.3%.
Nene attributed this to an improvement in business confidence to levels last seen in 2015, resulting in an improved profit outlook and provisional payments.
From the above article it is clear that SARS is struggling and in my opinion will push, going forward, more stringent compliance audits to try to mitigate shortfalls in collections.Read More
Dear VAT Vendor
The Minister of Finance announced a VAT rate increase from 14% to 15% effective 1 April 2018 in the 2018 Budget Speech.
To assist you in preparing your VAT return (VAT201) submission, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) would like to bring the following to your attention:
The new tax fraction applicable from 1 April 2018
The new tax fraction to calculate the amount of VAT is as follows:
Rate of tax 15
100 + rate of tax 115
For example, if the VAT-inclusive price (final consideration) is R1 150, the VAT amount is calculated as follows:
R1 150 × 15/115 = R150 VAT
Effect on VAT Vendors:
Vendors should determine when supplies of goods and services are deemed to have taken place and also consider the special rules that apply when there is a change in the VAT rate to ensure that the correct rate of VAT is applied in respect of the supply, the acquisition and importation of goods and services. A comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is available on the SARS website or you can click here to open the document.
How to prepare and submit your VAT201
Vendors whose tax periods span the old VAT rate of 14% and the new VAT rate of 15% (effective from 1 April 2018) will be required to declare these transactions on a single VAT201 return. The most impacted would be the Category B vendors whose tax periods are periods of two months ending on the last day of April 2018. Also impacted are the Category D vendors whose tax periods are periods of six months ending on the last day of August 2018. Category E vendors whose tax periods are periods of twelve months ending on the last day of the year of assessment will also be impacted.
Vendors who have tax periods that span the 14% and 15% VAT rate (Category B, D and E vendors) as well as future tax periods where the rate of 14% is applicable to certain supplies will be required to disclose their transactions as follows:
• for all standard rated supplies where VAT at 15% has been levied, please use the standard rated fields on the VAT201 that you would normally use to declare the output tax.
• for all standard rated supplies where VAT at 14% has been levied, please use Field 12 – “Other and Imported Services” on the VAT201, to declare the output tax.
• for all capital and other goods and/or services supplied to you and charged with VAT at a rate of 15%, please use fields 14 and 15 on the VAT201;
• for all capital and other goods and/or services supplied to you and charged with VAT at a rate of 14%, please use Field 18 – “Other” on the VAT201, to deduct the VAT; and
• for all imports, irrespective of whether the VAT was charged at 14% or 15%, please use Field 14A and 15A on the VAT201 to deduct the VAT.
• If you are using eFiling for the submission of your VAT201 and have saved a VAT201 for tax periods commencing on or after March 2018, the saved VAT201 will be removed so that the updated VAT201 with the correct rate of tax can be requested.
• The updated VAT201 will be made available soon. Please monitor the website for updates regarding the VAT201.
For more information please visit the Value Added Tax page on the SARS website www.sars.gov.za where you will find guides to help you complete and submit your VAT return, or contact the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277. You can also send an email to VATRateEnquiries@sars.gov.za with your enquiries.
ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE
March 2018Read More
The Minister of Finance announced an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 14% to 15%, effective 01 April 2018. Our products and services are subject to VAT and therefore the increase in VAT will result in price adjustments.
The updated invoice amounts will be reflected on ALL of our invoices and quotations from 01 April 2018.
We value your continued support.
Should you have any further queries or require further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on email: email@example.com or you can call us on: 011 312 9250 (Switchboard).
A worthwhile read:
Never before have the fundamental assumptions about the US job market looked so precarious. Automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics, among other technologies, are changing the skills and the skill level required of employees in many industries, including retail, transportation, and manufacturing.
This is according to an article in AccountingToday
Amy Pitter writes that the accounting profession is experiencing similar changes, and the pace and pressure of that change is exploding into a major disruption. She says robotics is expected to eliminate 40 percent of basic accounting work by 2020. We’re in the early stages of the big data and artificial intelligence revolution in accounting, which already is being wholeheartedly embraced at the larger firms. “Blockchain, which may develop as the most significant disruptor of all, is only in its infancy. As blockchain gains traction, it promises to provide a viable replacement for the traditional third-party verifier of transactions, radically altering both the concept of audit and the role of auditors in ways that are only beginning to emerge”.
Pitter further writes:
These new technologies create a labour conundrum for the accounting industry. As routine work becomes commoditised, the traditional entry-level jobs are being eliminated. At the same time, there is an intense demand for accountants with more specialized and higher-level skills. But where are these accountants with knowledge of data analytics, cybertechnologies, critical thinking and great client skills going to come from? It’s hard to grow them organically with fewer entry-level jobs, and these higher-level skills are not necessarily being taught in college accounting programs.
The demand for data analysts and experts in the space where technology meets accounting is through the roof. Also, what we used to call “soft skills” are now being taken very seriously. Critical thinking, creativity, communications skills and the ability to be part of a team are skills that have become as integral to the job as debits and credits. One clear challenge for the academic community is to provide curricula that better mirror the reality in the industry – for new hires must embrace the evolving technology and also quickly become fluent in the new level of consultative services the technology will yield.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the human capital crunch in accounting, which has brought a profound culture shift in the profession. There was a time when staff at all levels were expected to be physically in the office nights and weekends during the “busy season.” Increasingly, a combination of enabling technology and employee expectations has turned those old ways on their ear, giving way to greater flexibility for employees – so long as they produce. Firms also are learning that Millennials are not a generation that wants to be seen and not heard. Indeed, they want to be consulted and see their ideas put into place.
This is just a high level summary, should you need detailed information kindly email our secretarial team on:
2018/2019 Tax Table
Rates of tax for individuals
Following the changes announced in the Budget Speech on 21 February 2018, the rates of tax outlined below will be effective 1 March 2018.
|Taxable Income (R)||Rates of tax (R)|
|0 – 195 850||18% of taxable income|
|195 851 – 305 850||35 253 + 26% of taxable income above
|305 851 – 423 300||63 853 + 31% of taxable income above
|423 301 – 555 600||100 263 + 36% of taxable income above
|555 601 – 708 310||147 891 + 39% of taxable income above
|708 311 – 1 500 000||207 448 + 41% of taxable income above
|1 500 001 and above||532 041 + 45% of taxable income above
1 500 000
|Secondary (Persons 65 and older)||R7 713|
|Tertiary (Persons 75 and older)||R2 574|
|Below age 65||R78 150|
|Age 65 to below 75||R121 000|
|Age 75 and over||R135 300|
Medical Aid Tax Credits:
|Medical Aid Tax Credits|
|Subsistence Allowance (RSA)|
|Meals and Incidentals||R416|
Prescribed Rate Per Kilometre:
|Prescribed Rate Per Kilometre|
|Prescribed Rate Per Kilometre is R3.61 (2017/18: 3.55)|
We are pleased to announce that Sage South Africa accredited IABC several years ago as an Approved Business Partner FOR product sales, implementation, support and training. IABC supports a wide range of Sage products including; Sage Evolution, Sage Partner & Xpress, Sage One Accounting & Payroll and Sage Partner Payroll & HR. IABC has since achieved Gold Re-seller status.
Feel free to contact us on E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 011 312 9250; web: www.iabcgroup.comRead More
Are your declarations and refunds in line with the Vat Act and Tax Administration Act? Its all nice when we get the refunds but there could be comebacks.
“South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane has been accused of illegally authorising the payment of a R70 million VAT refund to a Gupta-linked company, Daily Maverick’s investigative unit Scorpio reports.
According to the report, Oakbay Investments director Ronica Ragavan emailed Moyane on May 22 last year requesting him to pay the first of three VAT payments amounting to R70 million into Terbium Financial Services’ account for the benefit of Oakbay.
The Guptas appointed Terbium as a payment agent to manage the payment of staff salaries after the country’s four major banks in 2016 severed ties with the controversial family accused of state capture and corruption.
The payment of the VAT refunds was reportedly despite objection from several Sars officials who warned Moyane and its chief officer of legal counsel Refiloe Mokoena that the law doesn’t permit the payment of VAT refunds into third party accounts to prevent fraud and money laundering.” – News24
Its that time of the year again, when we need to complete and submit income tax returns (ITR12) to Sars.
WHO SHOULD SUBMIT ITR12:
* If you are under the age of 65 and received an income of more than R59,750 from one or more sources or received more than R120,000 from a single source of employment, during the year of assessment 1 March 2011 to 29 February 2012;
* If you are aged between 65 and 75 and received an income of more than R93,150 from one or more sources or received more than R120,000 from a single source of employment, during the year of assessment 1 March 2011 to 29 February 2012;
* If you are over the age of 75 and received an income of more than R104,261 from one or more sources or received more than R120,000 from a single source of employment, during the year of assessment 1 March 2011 to 29 February 2012;
* If you:
– Conducted any trade in the Republic of South Africa (“Trade” is summed up as, including every profession, trade, business, calling, occupation or venture, including the letting of any property, but excluding any employment income.);
– Received an allowance such as travel, subsistence or office bearer allowance as per section 8(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act;
– Hold any funds or assets outside South Africa that a value of more than R50,000;
– Have a local capital gain/(loss) exceeding R20,000;
– Received any income or capital gain in a foreign currency;
– Held any rights in a controlled foreign company;
– Received an income tax return or you have been requested to submit ITR12 for the year in question.
METHODS OF SUBMISSION
There are various ways in which you can complete and submit your return;
1. eFiling: The most convenient and quickest way of completing and submitting tax (www.sarsefiling.co.za )
2. Branch: Filing electronically at a Sars branch (check www.sars.gov.za to locate a Sars branch nearest to you);
3. Post/ Drop box: Complete your return in writing and post yo Sars or drop it off in a Sars drop box.
DEADLINES FOR SUBMISSION AND PAYMENT OF TAX
* The deadline for all taxpayers who submit their tax return manually, by posting it or droping it off in a Sars drop box; is 28 September 2012;
* The deadline for all taxpayers who submit their tax returns electronically at a Sars branch; is 23 November 2012;
* Non-provisional tax payers who submit their returns via eFiling have until 23 November 2012;
* Provisional taxpayers who submit their returns via eFiling have until 31 January 2013.
If you should require further information or seek clarification, please call either Mr. Japhta Nkwana or Mr. M Kalaluka from our office on +27(0)11 312 3149 or email us: email@example.comRead More
SARS on Friday issued the Tax Administration Amendment Bill for public comment. The Bill contains new provisions to regulate tax practitioners in South Africa. In essence tax practitioners, in addition to being registered with SARS, will also be compelled to register with a controlling body, such as SAIT and SAICA.
The truth is that a significant number of tax practitioners are neither properly qualified nor registered to offer professional tax administration services. Our caution to the business fraternity and public at large is to be weary of these requirements and ensure that proper screening is done when appointing professional tax administrators and accountants.
Once the Tax Administration Amendment Bill is promulgated, all tax practitioners as defined in terms of section 239 and 240 of the Tax Administration Act (No. 28 of 2011), will also be required to register with a controlling body (as defined).Read More
We are proud to announce that IABC is now an accredited Pastel Evolution Business Partner, Pastel Accounting Forum Member, Authorised Resellers, Certified Installation Technicians, Pastel Certified Trainer and Product Consultants/ Technicians for Pastel Accounting Products. We are also Authorised Resellers and Installation Technicians for Pastel Payroll Products.
IABC was also awarded “Approved Training Centre” status by Softline for all Pastel Accounting related training, although our intitial focus will be on “on-site” end user training with selected class room and college based training.Read More
iabc is an approved training partner for:
1. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (“ACCA”) – Silver Level Approved Employer – Trainee Development (in recognition of the support provided to ACCA students and affiliates working towards the ACCA professional scheme, Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) scheme or Diploma in Financial Management qualifications;
2. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (“CIMA”) – Approved CIMA Training Partner (in accordance with CIMA’s Quality Standards for the training of Chartered Management Accountants.
The dti RECOMMENDS 01 MAY 2011 AS IMPLEMENTATION DATE FOR THE NEW COMPANIES ACT
The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) acknowledges the high volume of the enquiries regarding implementation date of the Companies Act. In terms of the Act, implementation date of the Act shall be the date on which the Act is proclaimed.
The dti can confirm that after all the technical processes required have been completed. It has recommended to Presidency to provide 01 May 2011 as implementation date. The Department reiterates that all the necessary systems and processes necessary for the operation of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, including the appointment of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, are on track.
Communication and Marketing, the dti
Head of Communication: Clement Manoko
Tel: (012) 394 1712 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (012) 394 1712 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
MOST SMEs NOW AUDIT EXEMPT
|By Usi Waida:
Most companies will be exempt from the mandatory statutory audit when the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008 becomes effective on 1 April 2011. This is a topical issue as there are pros and cons of this of legislation.
It has been noted globally and recently in South Africa that statutory audit of SME is expensive and creating unnecessary burdens on SME. An audit exempt company can now opt to be voluntarily audited. The majority of the eligible companies have chosen not to spend their limited funds on a voluntary audit.
For so many years the auditors have been relying, clinging on regulatory, mandatory or statutory backing for their existence. Firms who do not provide innovative tailor made services demanded by the client will suffer in fee reduction .If accountants benefited more than their clients this could explain why the stakeholders perceive no value in small audits resulting in statutory audit not being wanted by the owner managed shareholders.
There is also now an increased competition for providing assurance and audit related services to the released audit exempt SME’s hence some of the affected accountants will not want this legislation to go through. Independent professional accountants in good standing holding CA, ACCA, CIMA, and SAIPA qualifications can now provide the new statutory Independent reviews.
The audit profession is continuously being damaged as a result of company failures soon after obtaining clean audit reports as well as the negative interpretation of introducing audit exemptions to SME’s. The users of financial statements do not fully understand the responsibility of auditors especially on fraud detection. The misunderstanding on the responsibility is also partially being caused by accountants themselves who are giving contradictory views on the benefits and disadvantages of exempting SME from statutory audit. Yes, an audit can assist to detect fraud although fraud detection is not the main objective of auditing financial statements.
Briefly the main responsibility and objective of auditors is to express an opinion whether the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of company’s affairs and whether the financial statements have been prepared in accordance with applicable financial reporting framework. It does not mean that unaudited accounts do not give a true and fair view of the state of company affairs and those creditors of unaudited SME companies will be affected. There is no Independent auditor’s report which states that auditor’s responsibility is to detect fraud. It’s not possible for auditors to certify non-existence of fraud given that audit is based on sampling. It is the responsibility of management to ensure that financial statements are free from material misstatement due to fraud.
Best practice now requires that fraud detection assignments should be awarded to fraud expects ,fraud specialist such Certified Fraud Examiners, Certified Forensic Accountants or auditors who are interested in forensic audit must do a forensic specialist course. One qualification can no longer fit in all business areas given the complexities of modern day businesses. Countries such as Nigeria, USA, Canada, and India have established Institutes of Forensic Accounting in order to align with modern business needs.
The companies act still requires companies to keep and maintain proper accounting records and those who do not comply will be committing a criminal offence.
WHAT ARE THE NEEDS OF SME’s
Accountants should have a detailed understanding of the economic purposes of companies. They must now develop innovative ways to satisfy the demands of the market. It can be a waste of time of taking a protectionist stance in trying to defend the benefits of statutory audit for SME’s , by the way most SME ‘s are owner managed. What is the benefit of auditing the owner? There is no point in reporting to shareholders how they have run their business since they are the same people. Actually these owners are best placed to tell the auditors how they run their business. If your existing audit client whom you have been auditing for many years has opted not to be audited. Ask yourself if you have been adding value to the client or you have just been relying on the statutory audit backing to provide an unwanted service. Most SME do not need a statutory audit they need business advice that add value to their businesses.
Accountants for SME should move away from just looking at historical figures they must expand their services to say: business advice, agreed upon procedures, business reviews, Outsourced CFO services, risk management and special purpose assignments in order to add value to client business.
SME that cannot prepare the financial statements still need the services of an independent accounting professional.
IMPACT ON THE AUDIT/ ACCOUNTING PROFESSION
In my view the audit profession could suffer in the short to medium term. If the audit exempt SME obtain good business advice they can grow to large auditable firms thereby benefiting the economy and the audit profession. Accounting firms will continue to merge in order to provide expanded services from a large pool of skilled human capital. There is still a big lucrative market for skilled accountants in South Africa.
Usi Waida, Fund Accountant – Investment Data Services Group (Pty) Ltd – firstname.lastname@example.org
Leasing vs. Buying – Corporate Finance
|An issue that needs to be considered right at the beginning of any decision to purchase assets is whether to buy or lease them. If you decide to buy, then also consider use of debt to finance the purchase.
Ideally, businesses should only buy appreciating assets and lease depreciating ones. Buying is best if you will be able to make use of the asset for longer than what the ‘rental’ period would cover. However, if buying the asset would deplete the company’s cashflow, then buying becomes unattractive.
Further, if cashflow is not adequate and working capital is critical, then financing the asset purchase using debt must be considered.
Asset finance can be considerably complex and any mistakes made in choice of available options can cost the company in terms of profitability as well as balance sheet strength.
The most important forms of asset finance are:
· Installment sale – (also know as Hire Purchase), refers to a credit agreement in terms of which goods are sold by the bank to a customer over a negotiated period of time, agreed interest rate and installments of periodical payments. Ownership of the goods or assets pass to the customer after payment of last installment (suitable for M/Vehicles, Furniture & Fittings and Equipment)
· Rental – (Operating Lease), provides the customer with uninterrupted use of an asset, rather than ownership (suitable for computer equipment, photocopiers and fax machines, generally assets which are replaced on a regular basis)
· Finance Lease – Like with Operating Lease, provides the customer with uninterrupted use of an asset, rather than ownership. The customer has the option to take ownership or return the asset to the bank at the end of the period. Difference compared to Rental mostly lie in the treatment of VAT (balloon and stepped up payments can be arranged to suit customer company cashflow.)
Main key indicators only – 2 December 2010: Source: Statsa (StatsOnline):
- CPI: December 2010 = 3,5% y/y;
- PPI: December 2010 = +5,8 y/y
- GDP: 3rd Quarter 2010 2,6% q/q
- Unemployment: 25,3% 3rd Quarter 2010
- Population (Census 2001): 44,8 million Night of October 9-10, 2001
- Population (Mid-year estimate): 49,99 million Mid 2010
Interest rate in week of 17-21 January 2011:
Latest Rates (source: liberta.co.za):
Prime * = 9.00%; Repo * = 5.50%; CPI * = 3.50%; PPI * = 5.80%; GDP * = 2.60% ;
The latest interest rate cut by the SARB brings interest rates down to the lowest level they’ve been in 28 years. The prime interest rate is currently touching a 28-year low, which was equaled briefly in April 2005. Before that the last time South Africa had interest rates lower than what we have now was in February 1981.