Monitoring of Fees and Time Records

For Invoicing, law firms, accountants, consultancies, and other professional services firms (whose principle activity is to “sell time”) need their staff to track and account for time accurately, so that they can invoice their clients correctly.

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Client Liaison Best Practices

Client liaison best practicesThe best way to improve communication is to write a communication policy that outlines your plan to exchange information between clients, vendors and employees.

For example, when handling potential clients who have expressed an interest in your services, you may want to create a new client communication policy that defines what steps should be taken in process.

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Rights, Powers and Duties of Office Bearers

The Committee of Management is the governing body of a non-profit organisation and is legally accountable to the body of members for its decisions, actions and obligations, and to always act on their behalf and in their interest. The Committee directs and monitors the financial and operational performance of the legal entity through a formally established and endorsed strategic, policy and financial framework.

Each Committee requires a President, Secretary and Treasurer, with the deputy position of Vice President and optional positions of Ordinary Committee Members. An organisation’s constitution (model rules) indicate the specific requirements on each of these positions.

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A General Article about Risk.

(We at PATC do not conduct Audits on Annual Financial Statements as governed by IRBA however, we regularly advise, guide and make recommendations and or take on forensic work…)

Risks & Materiality
– Materiality is a fundamental concept in auditing. It means that misstatement, including omissions, are considered to be material if they, individually or in aggregate, could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the financial statements.
The main elements of materiality:-
• an omission or misstatement
• the auditor’s perception of the influence of such omission or misstatement on the economic decisions of users/shareholders.
• based on the information in the financial statements

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CLIENTS/STAKEHOLDERS MEETINGS – RECORDING AND AUTHORISATION OF AGENDAS AND MINUTES

The agenda of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) will depend on the legal structure of the organisation, how actively it has been operating over the past year and how much engagement the board is seeking from the owners.

A basic agenda might include
a. Minutes from the last Meeting
b. Appointment of a new Trustee (which might not need to be done at a meeting or can be done at a special meeting)
c. The Annual Accounts
d. Any current or planned projects or current issues.

The only business required at an AGM for a company registered under the
Companies Act is:

  1. The appointment of an auditor
  2. Fixing the auditors remuneration.
  3. Other business at the annual meeting usually includes
  • Consideration of the financial statements
  • b. The election of directors.

It is not however, unusual in an organisations for the AGM to be used as an opportunity for the board and the owners to discuss the strategic direction of the organisation, how and why decisions have been made and future factors that may influence the direction and performance of the organisation.

Whatever the type of agenda chosen for the AGM, preparation is vital so that the meeting runs smoothly and achieves what it needs to. In particular, the Chair needs to be well-briefed and prepared to manage the meeting so that it meets its objectives.

Here is an example of what could be expected of the Chair at an AGM:

Procedure for an Annual General Meeting; Notes for the Chair

  • Call the meeting to order
  • Introduce yourself
    Welcome all to the second/third. twentieth etc Annual General Meeting of Siya Ltd.
  • Introduce other directors/trustees
  • Declare any apologies from directors

Chairman to say:

“I confirm that under the Constitution/Trust Deed of Siya Ltd (for example) we have a quorum and I declare the meeting of shareholders/beneficiaries properly constituted.”

Writing the minutes of meetings

It is most likely that you will make rough notes during the meeting, then convert these to your finished report of the meeting after it has finished.

Remember that you are summarising the most important issues, so you need to use a number of skills at the same time

• good listening skills
• the ability to summarize
• good note-taking skills

Your job is to distinguish the less from the more important points of discussion. For this you can use your own system of abbreviations.

At the meeting

• listen attentively, jotting down key words
• use the agenda document as a template
• leave enough space between items for your jottings
• summarise what’s said, using a system of shorthand
• ask for clarification if necessary

If the discussion was about The Allied and Providential Assurance Company for instance, you would not write out that name in full ever time. APAC would be a perfectly useful abbreviation in your notes.

Many people find it difficult to listen carefully and make notes at the same time. This becomes even more difficult if they are an active member of the meeting. For that reason a minutes secretary is not normally expected to participate as fully in a meeting as the other members.

If the meeting is not too big, you can probably record people’s contributions using their initials (KP, HT, MA) rather than their full names. You can also do this in any minutes so long as the names appear in full in the list of attendees.

The first time the name of an organisation is mentioned, it should be spelled out in full – as in Pinetown Accountants and Tax Consultats, or the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Trust. Thereafter, you can use acronyms formed by the initial letters of its name (PATC and QEJT). In very big meetings, these names and acronyms are often listed in an appendix.

Prepare in advance as much as possible. Make sure you have a copy of the minutes of the last meeting, and that they have been circulated to other committee members.

Making a record of a meeting is always easier if you know the agenda in advance, and even if you know who might be in attendance.

Make sure you have a copy of the meeting agenda. Get to the meeting early so that you can record the names of other people as they arrive – if you know them.

If you don’t know the attendees, wait until the meeting has started, then circulate a blank sheet on which people are asked to PRINT their names. Don’t circulate this attendance sheet before the meeting starts, because if some people arrive late, the chances are that they will be missed.

It might happen that an item on the agenda is not discussed or is deferred for some reason until the next meeting. You should nevertheless record this fact, so that a future meeting is able to check on the status of the item and decide if it is still relevant.

Some meetings can generate discussions which become arguments, with differences of opinion expressed quite forcefully. A great deal of tact and diplomacy is required in recording such discussions.

The best way to deal with such occasions is to record the fact that there was disagreement, but without going into any details. You can use a form of words such as “There was disagreement concerning the choice of contractor for the project, but following discussion it was agreed that …’

Do not intrude any of your own opinions into the record of events. Your task is to appear neutral and impartial – even if you have strong feelings about the topics being discussed.

Try to get agreement on the date of the next meeting before the meeting ends and people leave. That strictly is the chairperson’s job, but you will be doing yourself a favour in getting agreement on this issue.

If some points of the discussion are still not clear to you, it’s a good idea to ask speakers to clarify matters to you before they leave, otherwise you will have extra work in tracking this information when you come to write the formal minutes.

Notes on the Agenda

1. The name of the meeting or group

This can be very important in some cases – particularly if the minutes of the meeting will be circulated widely outside the group itself, or even to the public.

2. Those in attendance

The meeting might be composed of delegates or representatives from a variety of organisations. It’s the secretary’s job to note both their names and the organisations they represent.

List the names in alphabetical order. This avoids any suggestion of priority or importance.

3. Minutes of the last meeting

It is usual for these to be looked at briefly, with a view to making sure that everybody agrees they are a correct record.

It might be necessary to note the outcomes of any decisions taken on which action has been taken

Larger or on-going issues very often appear on the agenda of the current meeting, and discussion of them can be deferred until these items are considered.

4. Agenda item One

You should keep the notes for each agenda item separate and quite distinct from each other on the page.

Leave plenty of space between each of your notes

Template for Meeting Minutes

1. Name of Organisation or group

2. Name of Meeting – it might be a regular meeting or one with a specific purpose

3. Date of Meeting

4. Names of those attending – plus their positions or the organisations they represent

5. Apologies for absence – those giving their apologies for non-attendance

6. Agenda item One – This is usually the minutes of the last meeting

7. Agenda item Two

8. Agenda item Three … and so on …

12. Date of the next meeting

13. Any other business

PATC Closure 2017

OFFICE CLOSURE: PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED FROM THE 22nd DECEMBER 2017 FOR OUR ANNUAL SHUTDOWN AND WE WILL RE-OPEN ON THE 8th JANUARY 2018.

WE WISH YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS, A FABULOUS FESTIVE SEASON & EVERYTHING OF THE BEST FOR THE NEW YEAR 

Kindly ensure that you contact us way before the closure if you need anything and or after the 8th

SAIPA – National Conference in Cape Town

Gavin has recently attended the National Conference in Cape Town which was from the 19th to 21st Oct.

Introduction: Surviving Beyond the Numbers

SAIPA holds a National Conference every five years, giving members and stakeholders in the accounting industry the opportunity to come together and network, share knowledge and hear about updates in the industry.

Click on the links to see more information:

Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

Conference Information


Gavin also attended the SARB Monetary Policy Forum.

What is the Monetary Policy Forum all about?

The South African Reserve Bank (the Bank) is responsible for monetary policy in South Africa. It uses several channels to communicate with and create a better understanding of monetary policy among its stakeholders, including the public. One of these communication channels is the Monetary Policy Forums (MPFs). These forums are meetings that are held in each province in South Africa every six months. At these meetings, a panel comprised of senior Bank representatives present recent domestic and international developments that have impacted on inflation, and that motivate the rationale behind the Bank’s monetary policy stance. Relevant topics such as the inflation outlook, the factors impacting it, and the Bank’s inflation and economic growth forecasts are presented to the public. Attendees are invited to comment in response to recent policy developments. The MPFs are chaired by a senior central banker close to the monetary policy process.

Invitations to the MPFs are normally sent to the following individuals:

  • provincial and local government politicians and officials;
  • representatives of the local business community;
  • representatives of organised labour;
  • people from academia;
  • postgraduate students; and
  • media representatives.

Members of the public are also encouraged to attend.

The structure of the MPF meetings is broadly as follows:

  • Welcome and introduction, in which the chairperson gives some background on the Bank
    and its monetary policy process.
  • A presentation by senior Bank staff members dealing with:
    • recent inflation outcomes;
    • how the economy is doing more generally and how this impacts on inflation;
    • prospects for future inflation; and
    • recent policy decisions and the rationale behind them.
  • A session in which members of the audience ask the Bank’s panel questions, and state
    their views on the prevailing economic conditions and monetary policies. The Bank’s panel
    members later communicate these views to members of the Monetary Policy Committee.
  • Concluding remarks by the chairperson.