The Future of Financial Reporting in the Public Sector

Proposed amendments to Kenya’s Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, giving Chief Financial Officers only one month to submit their Annual Financial Statements to the Auditor General after the end of the financial year, are sending shockwaves through the public sector accounting community in Kenya, reports international auditing and financial reporting software company, CaseWare Africa. 

CPA Rexon Wachira, a public sector consultant at CaseWare Africa’s Nairobi office, says the process of compiling and reviewing these entities’ Annual Financial Statements typically takes public sector financial professionals three months or longer, challenged by the fact that in the fourth quarter in a year, reports must be submitted in the same period as well. “There is grave concern that it may not be possible to produce Annual Financial Statements so quickly,” he says. 

Stephan van der Merwe (CA) SA, Specialist in Public Sector Solutions at CaseWare Africa, notes that audit opinion is typically used to measure the entity’s performance. “The better your audit opinion is, the better the assessment of your entity’s performance, which is another reason why these Annual Financial Statements can take a long time to prepare; every entity wants to be very thorough to ensure they get a good audit opinion. Now with the proposed tighter deadlines, this could pose a huge risk for entities, and therefore, introducing efficiency into the process is now more important than ever before,” he says. 

While the amendment is still in the pipeline, CaseWare Africa says now is the time for public sector entities to review their processes and do away with time-consuming and error-prone manual systems to ensure that their reporting is more efficient, accurate and compliant. 

CaseWare’s IPSAS and IFRS Financial Statement solutions enable public sector finance professionals to automate the preparation of compliant financial statements on either International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), whichever is required. This includes flexible lead sheets and a centralised document manager to organise all working paper collateral. Both these solutions simplify collaboration, consolidation and assure preparers of compliance with international standards. 

Mr. van der Merwe notes: “In the East African public sector, several entities have successfully implemented either CaseWare Africa’s IPSAS or IFRS Financial Statements solutions for process efficiency, data integrity and compliance. In the past, the focus among Kenya’s public sector customers was mainly on harnessing CaseWare Africa to reduce manual processing, but we now see a sharp surge in interest in using our solutions to achieve compliance in terms of both international standards and reporting deadlines.” 

CaseWare Africa launches Trust Tax

CaseWare Africa, part of the Adapt IT group, has launched a holistic, cloud-based tax return solution designed especially for trusts. Michael Mncube, Tax Product Manager at CaseWare Africa, says that the new software enables tax practitioners to handle all tax administrative matters relating to trusts in one application, including the preparation, calculation, and submission of IRP6 and ITR12T tax returns directly to SARS.

“Administering trusts is complex and the tax authorities are especially rigorous in their oversight of trusts, thus further raising the stakes for administrators. Trust Tax provides practitioners with a single application that makes it possible to keep track of all trustees and beneficiaries, as well as managing all trust administration and tax-related matters,” he says.

“In the age of remote work, practitioners are enabled with greater flexibility as Trust Tax is offered via CaseWare Cloud, which means it is available from any location, on any device, at any time.”

Trust Tax is also included with CaseWare CloudTax, a tax management platform that provides tax practitioners with an invaluable overview of their entire client base, and corporate tax teams with a unified view of all tax return-related matters for all their taxpayers. It integrates directly with SARS e-filing.

“The cloud offers many time-saving features that will help users get more done faster. Of particular importance in Trust Tax, is the ability to collaborate directly with taxpayers in the app to assemble supporting documentation, as well as maintaining a single copy of all taxpayer records to preserve data integrity,” he says. Other important features include the ability to manage and monitor deadlines, and a full suite of checklists, questionnaires, and schedules that intelligently expand or collapse according to the complexity of the return. Trust Tax also automatically links to the latest SARS forms and calculation frameworks, so all returns are automatically compliant.

“Trust Tax will greatly help to optimise efficiency for tax practitioners in a complex area of tax administration. Like all CaseWare products, it is designed to help practitioners use their time more effectively while enhancing the service they deliver to clients. What we are especially excited about is that with the introduction of Trust Tax, practitioners can now, when combined with both Corporate Tax and Individual Tax, manage all their provisional and annual tax returns for all their clients on a single cloud platform.” Mr Mncube concludes.

CaseWare Africa launches CaseWare IDEA

CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT, has released details of its latest product addition, CaseWare IDEA® Data Analysis – a comprehensive powerful data analytics tool that guarantees data integrity, accelerates the performance of data analytics, and enables faster, more effective external audits.

“Auditing teams spend a significant amount of time selecting samples and analysing client’s data for audit engagements”, says Christiaan Steyn, Assurance Product Manager, CaseWare Africa. “It is now more important than ever for auditors to look at all of the data in the audit, rather than just a sample. This is because of the explosion of the amount of data available to auditors, together with the fact that risk-based auditing is now the expected standard for external audits, as well as the focus on the analysis and management of risk that’s applied within the risk-based auditing approach.”

Steyn says that although auditors cannot be expected to identify 100 percent of fraud in all cases, they have an obligation to find material misstatements that would change the audit opinion. “It does not matter whether it is due to an error or fraud – if it is a material misstatement, auditors need to identify it. With IDEA®, auditing teams can increase their data coverage, by investigating a large number of items and potentially covering 100% of the transactions” explains Steyn.

“IDEA® enables teams to save an enormous amount of time using built-in risk-based sample models that allow for systematic, random and monetary unit techniques, and prioritise areas of elevated risk” notes Steyn. “Not only can teams easily sample within minutes but can also take advantage of over 100 audit functions for a robust analysis, including ageing, duplication detection and Benford’s Law.”

IDEA® allows audit teams to import information seamlessly and easily from almost any data source, in almost any format. “Once data is imported, IDEA® protects source data integrity by only providing teams with read-only access” adds Steyn. “With a built-in workflow, teams are empowered with a full suite of analytical tests for financial audits, that drive additional efficiency and again saves a great deal of time” Steyn further explains that IDEA® allows auditors to display data in different ways, and to generate analyses that would otherwise not be available. “IDEA® can also be helpful in identifying unusual or strange items, testing the validity of items by cross-checking them against other information, or validating calculations.”

Additional features include the ability to visually pinpoint patterns, trends and outliers based on the outcomes of tests to focus audit efforts. “IDEA® provides a built-in audit trail that easily enables repeatable analysis which can be used as audit evidence”. Steyn notes that IDEA® also provides users with the ability to implement bespoke advanced analytics in the analysis process with Python scripting support.

Steyn confirms that while new auditing tools and emerging technologies hold the key to evolving the audit, strategic risks around their adoption remain, and must be acknowledged, to ensure the industry continues to develop systems that generate value for firms and their clients. The quality of data, auditor’s knowledge of databases, and experience will contribute to the success of the processes that IDEA® enables.
“Not only will the amount of the Internet of Things and real-time generated data dramatically expand, but so will the amount of data that will be created and managed by enterprises,” says Steyn. “It is estimated that by 2025, nearly 60% of the 175 zettabytes (~175 billion Terabytes) of existing data will be created and managed by enterprises versus consumers.”

Steyn encourages auditors to empower their teams with analytical tools like IDEA®. “Given the volume of transactions, quantity of data and the rate at which both are growing, it is imperative for auditors to embrace analytical tools”. He notes that in his experience, the best way for firms to build adoption is by starting small.  “Identify a few audit engagements and commit the partner and the team to start and, especially, to complete the audit enabled by IDEA®”.  By building up a collection of successful audit engagements powered by analytics in IDEA®, teams build expertise, confidence, and skill. “The audit of the future will undoubtedly not be possible without data-driven analytical tools”. Audit firms that drive adoption first, will be best-placed to meet the needs of the rapidly changing audit landscape,” Steyn concludes.

How Connected Data Benefits Financial Accountants

Connected data in accounting software vastly benefits modern accounting teams. But what is connected data, anyway? It is simpler than it sounds, and we use it every day.

CloudData

Connected data in software applications allows users to reuse data across other different software applications, which is extremely beneficial for accountants who perform a wide variety of functions.

Accountants who use CaseWare’s suite of products, for example, can reuse single-sourced data in many of CaseWare’s other products.

Connected data allows all enterprise data to be connected to and accessible from a centralized source. This can be a software suite of two or more applications where data can be easily exchanged between platforms, a well-known example of which is Microsoft Office 365. Often, programs in the suite feature a similar graphical interface and common navigation conventions, allowing users to easily use new software in the suite.

Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, well-known software applications in the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products, share a very common user interface, and data can be easily exchanged between platforms. This improves the user experience as individual users are able to do more with the software they purchased.

Enterprises with connected data often use a large number of software applications, and they have many different suites targeted to different professions and purposes. Some well-known examples of these software suites include:

  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • G Suite
  • LibreOffice

The Benefits of Connected Data

Connected Data is also important for the software company itself producing the software, and connected data is pertinent to the success of a software company for the following reasons:

Greater Opportunities for Innovation
Connectivity in software suites enables software companies to make great innovations. With complementation from other previously existing software, new software can be easily created to perform new kinds of functions. As a result, a new software in a suite, especially software for a specific industry, can easily be created.

If new software is being built, the process can be made faster if UI and programming elements can be reused rather than made from scratch.

A Better Experience for Users
A product suite that allows data to be transferred saves the time-consuming process of having to re-import data manually when using completely different software products. Instead, data can be single-sourced to allow for a seamless transition between software. For example, CaseWare imported data from Working Papers can be reused throughout CaseWare’s suite of products. For example, CaseWare data imported from Working Papers can be reused throughout CaseWare’s suite of products.

Artificial Intelligence
An important topic when discussing the impact of connected data is a software company’s ability to provide AI services. Artificial Intelligence is gaining prominence in the software industry because of the competitive advantage it provides within the industry. AI software can pull data from a variety of individual software and use that data to perform highly advanced functions that would be difficult for standard software perform.

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence is changing the software industry.CaseWare AnalyticsAI, for example, makes it easier to perform analysis in any engagement by incorporating automated testing into established workflows.

These days, you can’t have a conversation on connected data without discussing cloud-based data.

CaseWare Africa launches Cloud – Individual Tax

CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT, has released details of its latest innovation, Individual Tax. This additional app on the CloudTax platform facilitates the preparation, calculation, and submission of individual tax returns (ITR12).

Individual Tax
Individual Tax

“It is estimated that the majority of tax practitioners spend between 75% to 90% of their time gathering information and documents in preparation of tax returns”, says Michael Mncube, Tax Product Manager, CaseWare Africa .“This together with ensuring that accurate, high-quality tax returns are submitted to SARS on time, often leaves very little room to optimise the efficiency of the methodology and improve the process that the practice follows.”

Mncube says gathering tax data using hard copies, client collaboration via countless emails and phone calls, is both tedious and daunting. “This entire process results in long and delayed response times. The use of Excel spreadsheets to calculate and corroborate numbers, a multitude of disconnected datasets used by tax teams, plus the resulting errors, are all compounded when needing to submit each tax return, per taxpayer individually as well – leading to an inefficient and time consuming process,” he says.

“Individual Tax offers unsurpassed efficiencies as the collection of tax data for specific tax years is achieved via digital queries that then automatically store the information in the relevant sections of the return – saving significant time and effort” notes Mncube. Individual Tax offers a centralised data storage in a single format, a comprehensive tax calculation framework aligned to SARS, powerful overviews of tax-related balances and the ability to prepare both IRP6 and ITR12 returns in a single solution. “This new addition to our CloudTax suite offers a multitude of benefits including the presentation of a clear view of provisional and income tax returns, together with related values grouped per tax year – all a single view allowing reconciliations of submissions and assessments.”
Additional features include built-in schedules that facilitate the summary of tax data inputs and auto-calculation of totals, thus, eliminating human error. “It also caters for bulk submission of tax returns to SARS, saving additional time and further enhancing efficiency. Seamless annual updates empower practitioners with peace of mind by ensuring that the latest changes in tax legislation and compliance are incorporated,” says Mncube.

CloudTax integrates directly with SARS efiling, which automatically synchronises all taxpayer details and historical correspondence in bulk, into a one-stop centralised location for fast and easy access. Built-in dashboards ensure that deadlines are never missed and that efforts can be directed to the most urgent action items. “By managing all client contact information in one place, practitioners can collaborate directly with taxpayers from within the platform.

“Powered by CaseWare Cloud, CloudTax is always available from any location, on any device, at any time and is included when customers buy Individual Tax,” Mncube concludes.

CaseWare Africa launches ISRS Agreed-Upon engagements

CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT, has released details of its latest addition to the assurance product suite, ISRS Agreed-Upon.  This additional app on the CaseWare Cloud platform facilitates accepting, performing and reporting on findings of ISRS 4400 (Revised) Agreed-Upon procedure engagements.

“It is estimated that audit teams spend a significant portion of their time reconciling reporting of the performed procedures and the gathered findings”, says Christiaan Steyn, Assurance Product Manager, CaseWare Africa. “This together with facilitating and documenting inquiries from management, as well as obtaining accurate, high-quality feedback on questions to management, often leaves very little room to optimally focus the team’s time on performing the agreed procedures and improving the efficiency of the engagement”.

Steyn says that reconciling procedures from accepting, agreeing terms of engagement, performing and finally reporting, as well as client collaboration via countless emails and phone calls, is both tedious and daunting – leaving too much room for potential errors in the repetitive manual transfer of information between documents. “This entire process results in long and delayed engagement turnaround times and repetition in the workflow. By using Excel spreadsheets and emails to document procedures and communication with management, many engagement teams end up with a multitude of disconnected datasets. Additional potential errors are then also introduced and compounded when teams are working under pressure to complete and submit the ISRS Agreed-Upon findings report,” he says.

“ISRS Agreed-Upon provides audit teams with a streamlined workflow that guides users through the entire engagement process – including all applicable documentation like agreeing the terms, documenting the procedures and completing the agreed-upon procedures report”, notes Steyn. “The app offers numerous built-in efficiencies, as the documentation of agreed procedures are completed only once-off, and are automated further throughout the engagement by incorporating the collection of client inquiries via digital queries, that then automatically store the information in the relevant procedures – saving significant time and effort”.

ISRS Agreed-Upon offers a centralised data storage in a single format on CaseWare Cloud with integrated reporting on engagement progress. “This new addition to our Assurance Cloud suite offers a multitude of benefits including the presentation of a clear view of engagement status, client inquiry status and outstanding deliverables” Steyn adds. Built-in dashboards ensure that deadlines are never missed and that efforts can be directed to the most urgent action items. “By managing all client contact information in one place, teams can collaborate directly with clients from within ISRS Agreed-Upon.”
“Powered by CaseWare Cloud, ISRS Agreed-Upon is always available from any location, on any device, at any time” Steyn concludes.

iXBRL Reporting – What Is XBRL?

iXBRL reporting

CaseWare’s iXBRL reporting eases the process of manual reporting and collection of data. As a business, you probably find yourself having to send out a lot of reports every year and often have to manually collect all the data. When it comes to analysing and comparing the data, you find yourself reading a lot of paper-based reports, which increases your chance of making mistakes.

The logical step to overcome this would be to use digital reporting tools. Problem is, everyone uses different software tools. This means nothing is consistent and makes it just as difficult to compare and analyse various reports.

This is why CIPC has made XBRL reporting mandatory and why CaseWare Africa has made sure that our solutions give you everything you need to be compliant.

What Is XBRL?

Essentially, XBRL is a structured way of digital reporting. It’s an open, international way of structuring information, managed by a global consortium. It enables software such as CaseWare Africa to tag all financial items in business reports with relevant taxonomy.

  1. First, you tag the data you want to report on, for example: financial statements and the various line items they’re in.
  2. The data is then automatically extracted from your CaseWare Working Papers file.
  3. All you then have to do is send it.

Because of the fact that everyone is using the same tags and format, as set up by your reporting frameworks taxonomy, it’s easy to use and compare the data.

At CaseWare Africa, we help our clients to meet their mandatory deadlines quickly and easily.

Contact us today and we will be more than happy to explain it all to you so that you can achieve more.

Interim Financial Statements – Automated Financial Reporting

Interim Financial Statements

Automate your interim’s with CaseWare Africa‘s interim financial statement template. Automation is one of the key strategies driving financial reporting, because it reduces manual intervention and makes the process both more streamlined and accurate.

Until now, the market has lacked an automated solution to easily prepare interim financial statements. Our new interim financial reporting template will help you to ensure that you are compliant.

Benefits Of Interim Financial Statements

  • Simplify the importing of data from multiple periods.
  • Unify the reporting process across an entity with seamless integration into our IFRS template.
  • Consolidate multiple entities quickly and easily.
  • Increase consistency and efficiency across the financial reporting process.
  • Prepare IAS 34 compliant interim, condensed, financial statements.
  • Create explanatory notes as required by the IAS 34 standard as well as easily including specific requirements for exchanges like the JSE, NSE, and other listing requirements and market trends.

When you use both CaseWare’s interim and IFRS financial reporting templates together, the same data sets prepare both the interim and annual financial statements, which significantly reduces the risk of errors and the time needed to create the engagements. The template can be adjusted to produce semi-annual, quarterly, 5 monthly, and monthly financial statements.

Chat to us today about interim financial statements and how you can use them for your business.

Does XBRL Affect Me?

If you had read our recent post about XBRL, you will know that it stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language and is a global standard that was developed to improve how financial data is communicated and that it also enables digital financial reporting. 

Wondering If Your Company Is Affected By XBRL?

XBRL Reporting has many different uses and is used by a variety of people across different roles. All companies required to submit Annual Financial Statements (AFSs) as part of the Companies Act should be taking note of XBRL.

Similarly, any company that needs to provide information to financial regulators, securities regulators, stock exchanges, business registrars, tax authorities, and statistical and monetary policy authorities is affected by XBRL. Enterprises that regularly move information around in a complex grouping or supply chains that exchange information to manage risk and measure activity will be impacted by XBRL.

XBRL

 

Where Is XBRL Applicable?

According to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), XBRL can be applied to a wide range of business and financial data. Below are a few examples of the data XBRL can handle:

    • Internal and external financial and business reporting;
    • Reporting and exchange of information in all types of regulators such as tax and financial authorities, central banks, and even government;
    • Filing of loan reports and applications;
    • Credit risk assessments; and
    • Authoritative accounting literature, providing a standard way of describing accounting documents provided by authoritative bodies.

Who Will Benefit Most From XBRL?

    • Regulators, analysts, and investors: XBRL allows for enhanced distribution and usability of existing financial statement information. It enables automated analysis and less rekeying of information from one form to another.
    • Data aggregators and financial publishers: More efficient data collection lowers operating costs, boosts traction capacity, and adds value to data to minimise errors.
    • Independent financial software developers: Any software that handles financial information can use XBRL for importing and exporting data. This increases the potential for full interoperability for other applications.
    • Companies that prepare financial statements: The value of XBRL is that companies can create financial statements more efficiently because they only need to do so once.

At CaseWare Africa, we provide a full range of professional services and “best of breed” software solutions to thousands of customers. Our solutions automate financial statements and assurance engagements, streamline tax management processes, enable simplified times and billing, and also takes care of secretarial duties. To find out more about how we can help you on your XBRL reporting journey, get in touch.

ISAE Attestation For Auditors

ISAE Attestation Auditing Software

ISAE Attestation is auditing software that allows auditors to gather appropriate evidence for the compliance reporting requirements of the Legal Practice Council and the Estate Agency Affairs Board. Powered by CaseWare Cloud, ISAE Attestation is always available from any location, on any device, at any time, and is licensed on a per-engagement basis, which means you can buy what you need when you need it and top up at any time.

ISAE Attestation Assisting Auditing Practitioners

ISAE Attestation assists practitioners in performing engagements based on ISAE 3000 assurance engagements, other than audits or reviews of historical, financial information. It contains a built-in methodology based on ISAE 3000 and specific compliance requirements of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and Legal Practice Council.
ISAE Attestation is designed to incorporate the four major elements of an attestation engagement into one seamless process:
  • Accepting
  • Planning
  • Performing
  • Reporting.

The ISAE Attestation Accepting Phase

This assists with understanding the company’s policies for attestation engagements as well as performing acceptance or continuance procedures. With advanced optimisations, ISAE Attestation, utilises checklists, questionnaires, queries, and work programmes that intelligently expand or collapse according to the engagement.

The Planning Phase

This enables practitioners to gain an understanding of the entity’s business, assess materiality, perform a risk assessment and plan the overall strategy for the engagement. By utilising queries, ISAE Attestation, allows practitioners to communicate and collaborate directly with clients within the app whilst providing transparent visibility to partners at all times.

The Performing Phase

This phase allows practitioners to perform procedures on the service activities relevant to the engagement. Prebuilt work programmes set forth the procedures necessary to complete an efficient and effective engagement. The procedures consist of a detailed plan of the work that must be performed, encourages a thorough understanding of the service activity, and includes the steps required to achieve the reasonable, assurance, engagement objectives. With engagement management built-in, the progress of every engagement and statuses of all engagements across the firm can easily be tracked and monitored.

The Reporting Phase

And finally, the Reporting phase assists in discussing significant judgments with management, preparing the reasonable assurance report, ensuring the report is appropriately worded, completing and locking down the engagement. With built-in roll forward technology, efficiency can be significantly increased, by leveraging extensive, built-in logic to roll forward selected information related to the client into next year’s engagement.
This product is empowering auditors with streamlined attorney trust and estate agent trust account assurance engagements. Find out more about ISAE Attestation here.