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Publication(Washington, DC, 2003-04-15) World BankThis report provides an assessment of accounting and auditing practices in South Africa, within the broader context of institutional capacity available for ensuring high-quality financial reporting. National accounting and auditing standards in South Africa are developed on the basis of international standards; but lack of legal backing for accounting standards give rise to problems. South African accountancy professionals play an important role in international standard-setting bodies. However, the existing mechanisms for enforcing compliance with accounting and auditing standards seem to be weak. Opportunities exist for undetected accounting manipulation, financial statements misrepresentation and departures from established accounting and auditing requirements. Ten years of discussions on the revision of the legislative framework for accounting and auditing, have contributed to uncertainties in the profession. Immediate steps are needed for enactment of the Financial Reporting Bill, amendments to the Companies Act, and the Accountancy Professions' Bill; and, to ensure proper enforcement of established statutory requirements. Recognizing the need for reform, the Government is currently in the process of implementing significant changes. The report provides policy recommendations specifically focusing on strengthening the enforcement mechanisms for ensuring compliance with established accounting and auditing requirements. Moreover, suggestions have been made about some important elements of a regulatory framework for the auditing profession, namely establishing an independent oversight body, consisting of eminent persons, and, restructuring the statutory regulator of the auditing profession under an effective governance structure, with a broader mandate for efficiently regulating the profession.