Six auditing firms in Botswana had their licences withdrawn in the past 18 months for professional misconduct, Botswana Guardian has learnt.
The Botswana Accountancy Oversight Authority (BAOA) chief executive officer (CEO), Duncan Majinda said they revoked practising certificates of six companies five of which were guilty of professional misconduct and providing substandard work.
“We have withdrawn six practising certificates from six auditing companies in Botswana for the past 18 months and that’s how harsh we are. We do not want games when it comes to protecting public interest,” said Majinda at last week’s Botswana Pension Society Trustee seminar.
He said the decision was taken in a bid to protect the image of the accounting profession. “If you are an accountant and you perform below standard and we discover that during our financial statement monitoring review we are empowered to fine you P20 000 on the spot before I even go to your supervisor or your chief executive or board because we want the public to have confidence in the accounting profession,” said Majinda, whose organisation is an independent oversight body of the accounting and auditing profession in the country.
Majinda said they want to ensure that the professional standards are adhered to and the set statutes abided by. “Auditors should be the people that we should rely on but if they behave unethically or commit what is called professional misconduct, we will withdraw their practising certificates,” he said.
BAOA was established through the Financial Reporting Act, 2010 with the principal objective of providing oversight to accounting and auditing services and to promote Standard, Quality and Credibility of providing financial and non-financial information by entities, including Public Interest Entities (PIEs).
One of the delegates at the seminar however complained that the industry is over regulated. He said there were too many regulators in the industry doing the same thing. However Majinda defended their stance saying there is need to regulate and protect public interest and ensure that PIEs comply with international financial reporting standards.
The former Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants chief executive officer added that regulation is critical, adding that there are many incidences of corporate failure that happened in the United States where people lost millions of dollars after a trustee company collapsed.
He said the collapse of those companies was due to inadequate oversight over accountants and auditors hence the need to thoroughly monitor auditing companies.