Professional accountants: get your clients PROATIA-compliant in under 10 minutes
Scheduled for introduction at the end of this December, the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PROATIA) means every business must publish a manual indicating where prescribed information can be found by any person who may request it.
However, professional accountants using the CaseWare Working Papers solution can deliver the manual for their clients in a matter of minutes. That`s thanks to the automation with which they are already familiar, coupled with an inexpensive additional software add-on.
According to Ross Hampton, Director at CQS Technology Holdings, PROATIA adds a further layer of administration and compliance for the business owner. "This can be a source of discomfort for small business owners, as compiling the manual is non-negotiable. Professional accountants are all too aware that their SME clients can be sensitive to pricing on professional fees, so the availability of a solution which extends the automation of CaseWare to this issue is to be welcomed," he explains.
To this end, Hampton says accounting training service provider ProBeta has created a software solution that draws on information contained in CaseWare Working Papers to rapidly generate the necessary documentation. "CaseWare Working Papers is popularly used by professional accountants to prepare IFRS for SME-compliant annual financial statements," he notes.
Henk Heymans, ProBeta Managing Director, provides more insight into the new regulations. "The manual is required in terms of section 51 of PROATIA. It is a list of the information which a company or closed corporation holds and which it is required to make available to any person - which includes the government and other companies and corporations - who requests it," he explains.
As with other compliance issues, most small business owners will look to their accountant for help, Heymans notes; and while talk of manuals and information may sound daunting, he says it need not be. "Most of the information which must be contained in the manual is likely to be readily at hand for the accountant," Heymans confirms.
Hampton says an example of a PROATIA manual can be found on CQS`s Web site, at http://www.cqs.co.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=296. "The manual provides a guide for any person to see what information is available and how that information can be requested or accessed. In short, PROATIA ensures that any person can conduct a check on any company to satisfy themselves that the organisation in question is compliant with applicable laws and regulations."
Continuing, Heymans notes that most professional accountants use CaseWare software to expedite the process of preparing IFRS for SME-compliant Annual Financial Statements. "Within the CaseWare files for each SME, a good proportion of the information which is required in the manual already exists."
The ProBeta PROATIA template is therefore suitable for the professional accountant; it automates and guides the preparation of the manual, drawing on information in CaseWare.
By avoiding the need to recapture information and providing a clear structure to what is required by the law, says Heymans, preparing the manual becomes a simple task. "Using this software, any accountant should be able to prepare a PROATIA manual in under 10 minutes. It`s a matter of following the steps, entering the required information and printing your manual."
ProBeta`s PROATIA template is available in English and Afrikaans, provides for electronic submission to the Human Resources Commissioner, and is priced at R2500, excluding VAT.