What is an Accounting Officer?
Southern African Institute for Business Accountants (SAIBA) members that have obtained the designation Business Accountant in Practice (BAP) are recognised as accounting officers.
An accounting officer is a person who meets the qualification requirements as detailed in section 60 of the Close Corporations Act, 1984 and as a result, may issue an accounting officer and other reports on the financial statements and information of close corporations and other entities. Broadly speaking, to qualify as an accounting officer, a person must be a member of a recognised professional body, which, as a condition of membership, requires relevant subjects in accounting and enforces a code of conduct.
Accounting officers have statutory recognition to issue specific types of reports on financial statements and other information. The various statues that provide this recognition are explained and discussed in this Guide.
However, most, if not all of the relevant statutes do not stipulate how a member in practice should perform a reporting engagement. A member and his/her client should therefore determine the scope, extent, and result of the work by way of a contract.
In the absence of a clear agreement a member’s engagement risk will increase significantly.
The purpose of this Guide is to assist members in practice to establish an engagement framework that can be applied when issuing accounting officer or similar reports on financial statements.
Accounting officer for close corporation and companies
A BAP(SA) may be appointed to act as accounting officer for multiple types of entities including close corporations, schools, sectional titles, and many others. The Guide below explains these appointments in more detail. In addition, an accounting officer appointment may be either a statutory requirement or a voluntary appointment. This means that, for example, a company may request a BAP(SA) to perform accounting officer duties for the company. This is not a statutory requirement, but a voluntary contract entered into between the company and the BAP(SA). In such cases the engagement letter will stipulate that the BAP(SA) is requested to perform the same duties as he/she would perform for a close corporation. The accounting officer will simply report to the company and not the close corporation.