WHO IS THE PAAB?
The PAAB is a statutory Board created by an Act of Parliament, the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Act No. 51 of 1951 (as amended) and is mandated with regulatory oversight of the accounting and auditing profession in Namibia.
PAAB’s vision is “To be a the regulator of the public accounting and auditing profession.” Paab’s mission is “to protect the interest of the public and enhance investor confidence in Namibia through the provision of regulatory oversight of the public accounting and auditing profession in accordance with internationally recognised standards and processes.”
The main objectives of the PAAB are:
- To protect the public interest by ensuring that only suitably qualified individuals are admitted to the accounting and auditing profession as registered public accountants and registered public auditors respectively;
- To register auditors and/or accountants, who with the appropriate practicing certificates, deliver services of the highest quality and adhere to the highest ethical standards; and
- To provide a regulatory regime to command public trust and confidence.
ASSURING CONFIDENCE IN THE AUDIT PROFESSION IN NAMIBIA
As part of our mandate, PAAB is charged with investigating claims of misconduct brought against Registered Auditors and Accountants. Conversely, our members also have a duty (by law) to report to the PAAB any material irregularities that they come across in the course of their work.
Every Audit Firm registered with the PAAB is subject to Practice Reviews. This process ensures that the firm follows and complies with internationally recognised standards of audit and reporting and complies with a code of ethics. The inspection process is a barometer used to check the level of quality of audit work conducted by registered members. A higher inspection pass rate provides confidence for investors and other users of financial statements and can be a catalyst for creating confidence in the economy.
The PAAB is also mandated to oversee the training of prospective public accountants and registered auditors through Articles of Clerkship. This is currently offered through registered audit firms that PAAB has accredited as Training Offices, and the training period varies between 3-5 years. Only PAAB accredited Training Offices may offer Articles to Trainee Accountants. Training Offices are also subject to accreditation reviews to ensure their compliance with laid down criteria and standards. A further step for suitably qualified accountants to becoming registered auditors is the Audit Development Programme (ADP). The ADP is an 18-month specialization period that will further develop and sharpen auditing competencies in addition to the ones Trainee Accountants have gained during their Articles tenure.
The PAAB is the only authority that can accredit Professional Bodies (membership bodies for public accountants and auditors) in Namibia. Currently, the PAAB has accredited two Professional Bodies in Namibia, namely the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Namibia (ICAN) and the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA).
In 2016 the PAAB embarked on a process of drafting a new Act (PAA Bill 2016), seeking to repeal the PAA Act No. 51 of 1951 (as amended), a process we envision to be finalized by mid-2019. The PAA Bill 2016 seeks to achieve a full metamorphosis from self-regulation to independent auditing and accounting regulation in line with global trends and changes. The general move towards independence in audit regulation came as a result of past accounting and auditing scandals (ENRON in the USA in the early 2000s, as one example).
AUDIT REGULATION IN THE REGION
PAAB Namibia is a founding member of the African Forum of Independent Accounting and Audit Regulators (AFIAAR), a body comprised of regulators in the SADC region. The primary aim of AFIAAR is to enable its members to share information regarding practical experiences of the accounting and audit market environment and to support the activities of members in the area of regulation of the accountancy profession, including but not limited to the regulation of professional practice rights and the regulation of accounting and auditing technologies particularly through formal standards setting processes.