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The Southern African Institute for Business Accountants (SAIBA), the South African Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT) and the Department of Social Development (DSD) recently launched a volunteer project to help Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) become compliant with their financial reports and tax returns. An estimated 80 000 NPOs are non-compliant and will be able to benefit from the www.npoassist.co.za volunteer project.

During Minister Dlamini’s Social Development Budget Vote speech tabled in Parliament on 4 May 2016, the importance of strengthening partnerships with civil society organisations was once again highlighted. “The NPO Act will be amended this year to ensure that NPOs are better placed to deliver services without any obstacles to the almost 17 million South Africans that depend on social assistance programmes. The National Development Agency (NDA) and Provincial Departments in collaboration with the private sector will embark on intensive capacity building and mentoring for NPOs,” says Minister Dlamini.

Part of the initiative is to combine the volunteer services of both SAIT and SAIBA members, to the value of R10 million to help the NPO sector become compliant. We are proud to say that to date, nearly a thousand SAIBA and SAIT members volunteered their services.

“Actually, it is the first of its kind where a government department partners with a private organisation to assist communities, enabling them to deliver a service,” says Deputy Director General of the DSD, Peter Netshipale.

If you would like to join the initiative, you can register at www.npoassist.co.za

  • It is important to study the SAIBA template working papers and Guide for Accounting Officers. These are available on this page
  • National capacity building events are organised by the DSD. These events are hosted over a three-day period. The third day is allocated to accounting officers to assist NPOs with becoming compliant
  • The DSD informs NPOs prior to the event that accountants will be available to help them. They are also supposed to bring along their required accounting information
  • Accounting officers must ensure that they meet with the authorised representative of the NPO and that a resolution has been passed authorising the signing of the engagement letter. Refer to the template working papers
  • SAIBA has prepared minimum template working papers to guide the accounting officer and the NPO with their engagement. Engagements should not take longer than four hours. Volunteer services to the value of R10 000 or more may be allocated to NPO clients in total
  • The authorised representative of the NPO should provide details of the management, organisation, operating and accounting details of said NPO
  • This information may be used to prepare the:
    • 1. Financial statements
    • 2. Narrative report
    • 3. Accounting officer report in terms of the NPO Act
  • This information is drafted based on the assumption that the NPO is a basic/start-up NPO with little or no accounting transactions, revenue, expenses, assets and liabilities
  • If the NPO is described by management as being of medium size, complex or subject to donor restrictions, a separate and more in-depth engagement should be considered by the accountant
  • Such complex engagement would require a different set of accounting standards and confirmations that is presented in the template working papers
  • The purpose of the template working papers is to guide accountants in helping basic/start-up NPOs to become compliant with the NPO Act
  • A brief and straightforward engagement is foreseen
  • The accountant is not expected to provide volunteer services to facilitate complex issues
  • Volunteer services are meant for the basic and start-up type of NPO
  • On the basis of information that the NPO provides, accounting officers may assist with the preparation and presentation of the following:
    • 1. Financial statements
    • 2. Narrative report
    • 3. Issuing of the following reports:
      • 3.1 Compilation report(s) in terms of ISRS 4410
      • 3.2 Accounting officer engagement as required by section 17(2) and 18(4) of the NPO Act
      • 3.3 A written report to the DSD Directorate in terms of the NPO Act stating whether the:
        • a. Financial statements of the organisation are consistent with its accounting records
        • b. Accounting policies of the organisation are appropriate and have been appropriately applied in the preparation of the financial statements
        • c. NPO has complied with the provisions of the NPO Act and of its constitution, which relate to financial matter