THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND AUDITING RESEARCH VOLUME 13: 2013 CONTENTS The extent of the use of statistical sampling in the audits of listed companies  Protection of [Dis] Information Bill The effect of COSO control environment attributes on the effectiveness of internal control: an internal auditor perspective The risk maturity of South African private and public sector organisations Competency development and subject integration through an Accounting Information Systems course The extent of the use of statistical sampling in the audits of listed companies (E Swanepoel) The study that informed this article explored the extent to which statistical sampling is currently allowed to be used as a sampling technique in the audits of financial statements done by South African Registered Auditors accredited by the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE). Data was collected by means of a questionnaire sent to the JSE-accredited auditing firms for completion. Salient findings from the study are that although the audit methodologies of the majority of the respondents allowed the general use of principles of statistical sampling, only 38% were explicitly allowed to use these principles in all three sampling steps (size determination, selection of items and evaluation of results). Respondents identified the evaluation of sample results as the most problematic statistical sampling phase. [ BACK TO THE TOP ] Protection of [Dis] Information Bill  (W Maroun & T Joosub) Regulatory developments are frequently affected by unintended consequences that may detract from the original intention of the respective law-makers. For example, the enactment of The Sarbanes Oxley Act (2002), while purportedly aimed at improving audit and statutory reporting quality, has been marred by a series of unexpected shortcomings that have undermined the original intention of the legislators. This research uses a discursive critical style to explore possible tensions between current audit practice and the Protection of Information Bill (2011) as a South Africa-specific example of unforeseen implications of proposed legislation. At the same time, the research points to the relevance of political power when examining policy developments in a modern or post-modern society. [ BACK TO THE TOP ] The effect of COSO control environment attributes on the effectiveness of internal control: an internal auditor perspective (H Fourie & C Ackermann) Numerous changes to laws and to business conditions have increased the levels of accountability and responsibility for the entity's wellbeing required from the board of directors. This translates into pressure that extends from the board of directors to the audit committee and to management. Management is required to design, implement and maintain internal controls to manage the risks faced by the business, highlighting the importance of management's accountability role. Internal control therefore plays an important role in any organisation. However, without a balancing authority, management's controls could be biased and weak, thus allowing personal gain and other non-business interests to take root. Internal auditors play a key balancing role in this area, independently assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the internal controls implemented by management. This study identifies which characteristics would impact positively on the system of internal control, from an internal audit perspective. For this research study the Committee of Sponsoring Organisations' (COSO) Integrated Framework for Internal Control (hereafter referred to as the COSO control framework) was used as the basis for the questionnaire construction as it is an internationally recognised framework which, if correctly implemented, could result in the creation of an effective internal control system. The questionnaire was distributed to internal control practitioners at external audit firms, and 31 responses were obtained from the Eastern Cape and Western Cape region in South Africa, the geographic focus of this research. This study concludes that control attributes, as outlined in the COSO control framework for the control environment component of internal control, do contribute to an effective internal control system. [ BACK TO THE TOP ] The risk maturity of South African private and public sector organisations (GP Coetzee & D Lubbe) Risk management is a fairly new concept for organisations world-wide, both in the private and the public sectors. With the evolution of corporate governance in general and specifically risk management, formalised risk management frameworks have been recognised by many as an effective tool in assisting management with their responsibilities. In South Africa, this is supported by the fact that risk management is included in the leading corporate governance codes and in legislation, such as the Public Finance Management Act, No 1 of 1999 and the King Report on Governance, 2009. However, the question remains as to how comprehensive an organisation's risk management strategy should be. This article explores the concept of assessing risk maturity by using a risk maturity scorecard. After an existing risk maturity model was adjusted for the South African corporate governance environment, a scorecard was developed that was used to determine the risk maturity level of certain organisations within the South African private and public sectors. Results indicate that organisations within the private sector are mostly risk mature, while public sector organisations are lacking many elements within their risk management frameworks and no risk mature respondent could be found in this sector. Secondly, the article indicates that management's commitment to risk management could be the one main concern that should be addressed to ensure an effective risk management strategy. [ BACK TO THE TOP ] Competency development and subject integration through an Accounting Information Systems course (M de Bruyn) Continuous technological advances have become a catalyst to professional accounting curriculum development and the identification of a need for the integration of diverse professional competencies. IT is an integral part of virtually all tasks undertaken by professional accountants and important competencies (knowledge, skills and attributes) should be included in the professional accounting curriculum. Courses like Accounting Information Systems (AIS) can be used to transfer some of the fundamental knowledge and skills to young aspiring accounting students. The purpose of this article is to describe and then evaluate the appropriateness and usefulness of the AIS activities implemented as part of a second year Information Systems course at a South African university. The findings showed that the students were positive about the set activities in the course and that they believed that these activities had contributed positively to their business awareness and to their problem solving competencies. The findings further concluded that the activities used in this second year course can be used with confidence as a teaching tool in an AIS course offered as part of a professional accounting curriculum. The findings also showed that the research information should prove useful for accounting departments at tertiary institutions for course development. [ BACK TO THE TOP ]
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