Audit Committees increasingly critical to governance and accountability, says Nkonki

Johannesburg, 12 August 2015 – Assurance and advisory firm Nkonki believes that audit committees have an increasingly pivotal role to play in ensuring good governance and ultimately driving accountability in South African companies, particularly in parastatals. As such, the firm has invested significantly over the years to offer guidance and insight to audit committee members’, thereby equipping them to perform their roles more effectively.

“The oversight role that audit committees provide is critical to improving the standards of governance in South Africa. This is particularly relevant to our State Owned Companies given the crises facing the majority of our SOCs, where there is increasing pressure from the public for these companies to demonstrate accountability, as well as almost constant churn in executive management,” says Nkonki CEO, Sindi Zilwa

Zilwa, who authored the book, The ACE Model – Winning Formula for Audit Committees, adds that central to driving accountability is how effective committee members actually are. “If they are not sufficiently equipped or skilled to perform their roles, the overall efficacy of that oversight role may well be undermined, and could eventually lead to a collapse of all governance within an organisation.”

Nkonki has partnered with the Institute of Directors to guide audit committee members on their responsibilities in terms of their fiduciary role, as well as on the process that a committee member needs to embrace in order to ensure effective participation.

“In addition, the training offers an overview of the different responsibilities that the committee has in terms of external and internal auditors, risk management and the compliance function, and the different tools and insights that are key in enabling them to measure impact of the business in terms of stakeholders, value add, combined assurance and greater governance,” says Zilwa.

Nkonki also hosts the annual audit committee conference, which was launched in 2011 to provide a platform for audit committee members to discuss common problems and share solutions. “Over the years, the conference has drawn delegates who serve on audit committees in both the private and public sectors, and feedback shows that they derive great value from the high calibre of speakers that engage with them at the conference, as well as the practical approach that the conference takes.”

This year Nkonki took a different approach to the conference, separating it into three, one-day events, the first one dedicated to Retirement Funds having just taken place, the second – to be held on 30 September 2015 at the Gallagher Convention Centre – to the Public Sector, and the last one to Listed Companies. This one will once again take place at the Sandton Convention Centre.”

Added to the training and conferences, Nkonki has sponsored the Business Day TV “Doing Business in the 21st Century” series, which was championed by Professor Mervyn King and Leigh Roberts, both co-authors of the book Integrate. This 13-part series on governance, corporate reporting, integrated reporting and sustainability can be found on the Nkonki website, www.nkonki.com, along with information on the firm’s other initiatives and tools.

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