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Finance students learn from KPMG saga

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Gypseenia Lion
September29/ 2017

KPMG South Africa has been under heavy criticism recently after the auditing firm retracted conclusions and findings of a report conducted for the South African Revenue Services (Sars) following an internal investigation. Finance students have been urged to use the KPMG controversy as a case study for their future careers in the financial services sector.  

The Wits Faculty of Law, Commerce and Management hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday evening about the KPMG controversy to highlight the broader issues for the public.

KPMG South Africa has been under heavy criticism recently after the auditing firm retracted conclusions and findings of a report conducted for the South African Revenue Services (Sars) following an internal investigation.

The faculty decided the talk would be relevant for students who are working towards obtaining degrees in the financial services sector.

“Our students are very aware of what is going on in the world, and we know that students are having discussions about issues relating to corruption, state capture, governance and so on. Students in our faculty will definitely find this discussion beneficial to their future careers,” said Kim Jurgensen, the communications manager of the faculty.

For chartered accountant, Nonkululeko Gobodo, who was one of the panelists, the importance of proper governance should be emphasised in the curriculum.

“This is a time when the whole profession should reflect because it speaks to issues ofsustainability. If we don’t follow ethics, jobs are on the line. If you can have a big company like KPMG closing down, doors are closed for training and for developing future chartered accountants so they [students] need to take ethics seriously,” said Gobodo.

 

Panelists at the KPMG discussion, from left: Nhlanhla Nene, Nonkululeko Gobodo, Prof. Imraan Valodia, Pravin Gordhan and Iraj Abedian discuss a way forward for the accounting profession. Photo by Gypseenia Lion

 

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan encouraged students and South Africans to learn from the mistakes of KPMG in order to fulfil the potential of being a great country, not just in Africa but all over the world.

“It is a very interesting opportunity to learn to distinguish between right and wrong, to understand what it takes to say no to something that is wrong and to begin to embrace it as part of your DNA as you grow into commerce or whatever other field or endeavour you go into,” he said.

Second-year accounting student Sifiso Ngcobo said as an institution of higher learning, Wits shouldfocus on developing students based on the broader goals and demands of the country.

“If you are a conscious student and you are someone who is committed to the developmental agenda of South Africa, you would take whatever it is you are learning in order to improve the life that society is trying to achieve which is that of a nonsexist, non-racial and democratic South Africa that we are all aspiring to live,” he said.

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Gypseenia Lion