SA auditors up tech investment as they shun physical contact

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SAIGA CEO Russel Morena.
SAIGA CEO Russel Morena.

Auditors in SA have increased their investment in technology to fulfil their audit obligations, as the profession is becoming digital with less physical contact, says the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA).

CEO Russel Morena says digital technology upskilling and development have become more critical for accountants and auditors amid COVID-19 restrictions, as local professionals are playing catch up with global trends.

He says auditors’ ability to obtain data essential to the preparation of financial statements, or attend upskilling courses, has been considerably affected due to restrictions, and as such, they are increasingly looking to leverage technology.

“We are not happy with our current investment in digital technology. However, we are now able to conduct all our training virtually without physical contact. There are technological security challenges we need to invest more money in,” says Morena.

“This is a reality; we are facing it step-by-step, learning from international bodies such as the International Federation of Accountants and the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions. We don’t want our country and continent to be left behind on these new trends. The good thing about our profession is it has a human element to apply one’s mind in audits we carry out, even though digital technology is changing how the work is done.”

He says auditing is now becoming more digital, with less physical contact, which requires scaling up technology investments.

“Since COVID-19 came, physical audits happen less than before. Digital technology upskilling and development is critical for our accountants and auditors.”

Morena spoke to ITWeb last week after SAIGA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Association for Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (ABASA), to help with capacity challenges in the public sector.

With the partnership, Morena says members will be assisted with online learning and be provided with data to enable them to access learning programmes online across the country.

According to Morena: “Members will transition to online learning. The transition will require changes in teaching and learning practices in order to accommodate an online virtual learning environment.

“Our vision is to be a leading professional organisation that pursues a collaborative approach and leverages the combination of core competencies of its stakeholders to increase member value in addressing the needs of our professionals.

“As such, from SAIGA’s perspective, this partnership with ABASA will help contribute towards upskilling individuals to be more accountable in their roles in the public sector.”

ABASA president Ashley Dicken says: “Through the collaboration, ABASA aims to upskill and empower members and associates with the latest quality training, which cuts across different sectors, with the tools they need to succeed in the current work environment. We are pleased to be a part of this initiative, working in partnership with various stakeholders to provide development training services.”

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