The main objective of quality reviews is to confirm that all registered accountants and auditors in public practice are maintaining an appropriate level of professional standards in the performance of the attest function.
The attest function is reserved to the accountancy profession by the Accountants Act no. 9 of 1977 (as amended). The intention was not to give advantage to the members of the profession, but to protect the public. For this reason, this function should only be carried out by persons with the requisite education, training, professional standards and discipline.
There are a number of instances where complaints have been received from the business community, the chamber of commerce, the banks and the Lesotho Revenue Authority regarding poor and sub-standard attest work performed by practitioners. In other countries, business failures have occurred and the blame has been directed at the practitioners.
The professions image and that of the practitioners is tarnished by these complaints from the public and the business failures. Whilst a profession has certain rights and privileges, it also has obligations to the society which gives it those rights and hence the need to protect the society.
This programme will have many advantages, among which are the following:
It will maintain and enhance the reputation of the profession with the public and the business community locally, regionally and internationally.
It will put the profession in a stronger position to influence the future direction of regulatory involvement in the activities of practitioners, particularly as regards the attest function, since this will be the professional body which subjects its members to mandatory reviews.
It will demonstrate to the critics that the profession is committed to self regulation and to ensuring the highest standards of professional work.
Public perception of the profession will be improved as the public realizes that the profession does not only demand high standards from its practitioners, but it also monitors and enforces those standards.
It will raise the standard of the accounting profession and the attest function in the country as a whole as practitioners realize that, whatever work they do, this may be subjected to quality review.
Practitioners own internal review programmes, where these exist, may need to be reassessed as a result of the independent external reviews.
The Lesotho Institute of Accountants practitioners will be seen to be subject to reviews comparable to other international institutes with similar programmes, and this will enhance the acceptance of the work of the local practitioners internationally