/ 21 May 2007

Regulator calls for more coloured auditors

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) has raised the alarm over a shortage of coloured auditors in South Africa, as currently only 38 in the country are registered to sign audit opinions, it was reported on Monday.

Kariem Hoosain, Irba CEO, says that the figure is “worrying” and strongly encourages more coloured people to pursue qualification as a registered auditor (RA).

“When you consider that less than 1% of our registered auditors in South Africa are coloured, you realised the huge scope for more people from this demographic to take the challenge to become a RA.

“And it’s a particularly auspicious time to follow this career path, as financial skills are in very strong demand in South African with salaries and job prospects rapidly growing, not just in the auditing firms but also in private and listed companies as well as the government sector.”

Hoosain notes that in the recent public practice examination (PPE) written in November, the final test of professional competence for qualification as a RA and chartered accountant (CA), only 115 candidates that passed were coloured out of 2 451 passes in total, or 4,7%. African candidates made up 15,7%, Indians 12% and whites 67% of those who passed.

“Hopefully many of these people that passed the exam will register with the Irba and become RAs now that they are eligible.”

Hoosain notes that, since 2000, there has been a 66% increase in the number of coloured candidates passing the PPE, compared with a 272% increase in African candidates. “So, while the numbers are increasing and progress is being made, it’s not happening fast enough.”

Hoosain says that the Irba plans to bolster awareness of the RA qualification, particularly among the coloured community, because historically it has not had a prominent profile in this group.

“We plan to raise the profile through business leaders in the Western Cape and elsewhere, raise funds for bursary schemes so more people have access to the qualification, and [offer] personal visits to several key campuses. The Irba will be also raising the issue through targeted media.”

Hoosain said that candidates who have to repeat the PPE should take advantage of the Irba’s programme designed to help repeat black candidates pass the test. — I-Net Bridge