‘Accountants should do more to protect public interest’

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PHILLIMON MHLANGA IN SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA

Chartered accountants (CAs) should do more to safeguard public interest, an executive with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has said.

Speaking at the on-going Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) Winter School in Sun City, South Africa, SAICA chief executive officer, Sithembiso Freeman Nomvalo said CAs should do more to drive change to enable their governments and organisations to serve public interest better.  

Nomvalo, who last month was appointed by South Africa Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan as Eskom’s chief restructuring officer, said the accounting profession was in “trouble” and need to be relevant by adding value to their economies.

“We are in trouble as a profession and we need to drive change in our countries to enable our countries governments and organisations serve its people better,” said Nomvalo who also served as South Africa’s accountant general from 2004 to 2013.

“We need to go back to five principles (including integrity, professional competences, confidentiality and professional behaviour). We need to figure out as a profession and get these back.

“We have a huge responsibility which is to protect the public interest. As we have problems visiting our economies, there are questions being asked such as is our profession still relevant in protecting public interest? he asked? Do we still add value to the economy? What role are we going to play? So, we need to ask difficult questions.”