The Black management Forum (BMF) has expressed disappointment at the sustained underrepresentation of black people in the accounting profession with a particular focus on the chartered accountancy.
BMF MD Nicholas Maweni said “the progress made since the dawn of democracy in transforming the profession has been poor”. He added that any gains made by the profession in corporate SA and globally will continue to be undermined for as long as 80% of its members come from 10% of the population.
The BMF was reacting to the 2012 chartered accountancy survey issued by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
SAICA was beaming with pride when it released the 2012 research finding which showed that CAs(SA) dominate corporate leadership. Amongst other finding the survey showed that 35% of the 2215 directorships of JSE listed companies were held by CAs(SA). This was a slight increase on the 2010 figure of 32.3%. It also showed that 29.7% of CEO’s on the JSE were CAs(SA).
Commenting about the survey findings, SAICA CEO Matsobane Matlwa said “No qualifications or professional designations enjoy the same reputation or offers the same career opportunities to aspirant captains of industry, corporate achievers and dynamic entrepreneurs as the CA(SA) …”
Maweni said the BMF notes the progress the CA profession. “It is commendable to know that our auditing and financial reporting standards are rated number 1 in the world, and this is testimony of the high standards attached to the CA profession”.
“However, growth of such a critical profession, without concomitant growth in the number of black CAs, undermines this progress. We note that, regardless of the extensive efforts of our sister organisation ABASA, the CA profession continues to be grossly untransformed. Based on statistics from SAICA, in 34,600 registered Chartered Accountants, only 20% (6,929) are African, Coloured, Indian, with Black women comprising only 8,7%”.
There are only 2,484 African Black Chartered Accountants which constitutes only 7,2% of all registered CA’s.
“This is obviously a consequence of Apartheid South Africa, where this profession systematically discriminated against Black people in general, and Africans in particular. We call for SAICA to work closer with ABASA to address this imbalance with even more vigor as we enter the third decade of our democracy”.
Maweni said the BMF audit firms must their environment an enabling one for black trainees to prosper.
He said the BMF calls upon the audit firms as the training institutions to critically review the number of black CAs they produce, retain and develop and strive to improve their retention numbers at managerial level.
“The BMF equally believes that Audit Committee Chairs have a significant role to play in putting pressure on audit firms to have diverse and represented team structures at all levels.
“We also note with great concern the number of black CFO’s within listed companies that do not have full CFO responsibilities”.