A friend of mine is thinking of suspending his membership of the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica). He’s afraid it’s sullying his reputation. Doing so will mean he won’t be able to practise as a chartered accountant (CA), but he’s beginning to think that’s a small price to pay to escape the dark, knowing looks he gets whenever he confesses to being a Saica-approved CA. "This must be what it’s like when you tell people you’re a journalist," he said, trying unsuccessfully to get some sympathy. I’ve been particularly worried about the accounting and audit profession since its members started banging on about SA’s ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF) competitiveness report. It was a troubling indication that nobody was looking closely at what lay behind the numbers. It shouldn’t have taken the Steinhoff and Gupta scandals and the implosion of KPMG to make us wonder how the local industry could have ranked number one for so many years. Not that almost every other country...

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