Decrypting blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are dominating the media. This one has collapsed, that one is on the rise, and a new one is around the corner. Their flavour isn’t quite as piquant today as it was yesterday thanks to fraud, an upsurge in Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) and the challenges that face its legislation and regulation across country and government.

In April the South African Revenue Service (SARS) announced that it will be treating cryptocurrencies using normal income tax rules. Affected taxpayers will, therefore, be expected to declare cryptocurrency gains or losses as part of their taxable income in the tax year in which it is accrued.

Cryptocurrencies are also often confused with blockchain which is a complex, layered technology that provides the backbone of cryptocurrency, but has the potential to deliver so much more to enterprise, industry and the consumer.

Cryptocurrencies may be getting all the airtime, but blockchain is the underlying technology, and this application of the technology is only a small part of what this technology can enable. Blockchain itself is largely unexplored, even though it has been around for nine years now.

To fully understand the potential of blockchain, it’s worth understanding precisely what it is and what it is not. According to Deloitte, blockchain is defined as a ‘digital and distributed ledger of transactions, recorded and replicated in real time across a network of computers or nodes’. It is already being used as a way of replacing databases thanks to its secure, centralised network – taking the vulnerable database of today and turning it into something that can be trusted.

If a bank runs its own database, they can change information without anyone knowing. With blockchain, it is impossible to do so without leaving a digital trail. This means it provides a system that all parties can trust inherently, and the applications of this high level of transparency and security aren’t limited to just the finance industry.

Removing the middleman

By implementing blockchain, the business can cut out the middlemen who originally provided the verifications needed for transactions. There is even talk of it being implemented in security exchanges where the exchange is currently the middleman between the investor and the company they want to invest in. While the technology may not have an immediate and profound impact on the man on the street, for the accountant it potentially offers an additional layer of trust to the numbers.

Blockchain provides the certification between two parties in a transaction, acting as the verification in itself. There is increased emphasis on the validity and accuracy of the information. The Professional Accountant (SA) can lean on the security afforded by blockchain to focus on adding value to the enterprise across financial reporting, analysis and insights.

Of course, this does mean that the accounting industry needs an understanding of the technology, how it supplies the verification and the reasoning behind its security and validity.

Businesses are set to adopt this technology, of that there is no doubt. It won’t happen overnight, and the middlemen are going to push for a lot of legislation to delay the advance of blockchain technology as far as possible or even make some of the applications unlawful. It is a battle that technology will most likely win in the long run, and the Professional Accountant (SA) needs to know how this will impact on clients and the industry they are working in.

For the Professional Accountant (SA), the pressure is on. By understanding how blockchain works and the impact it has, they can provide clients with exceptional insight into everything from the latest regulations to innovative applications.

The circle of success

In South Africa, we still have a way to go, but that doesn’t mean that the Professional Accountant (SA) can put their head in the sand and ignore it. As cryptocurrency fluctuates and organisations such as the Reserve Bank, SARS and other government departments implement regulation to manage the movement of money around the globe, blockchain is going to evolve at a rapid pace.

Another aspect to consider is information. The POPI Act and other similar forms of legislation that control information are set to impact on the development and adoption of blockchain. It connects to the digital lives that people are leading, the regulation around what companies can or cannot maintain, and how blockchain can support compliance.

It is difficult to say how blockchain and cryptocurrencies are going to play out. The Professional Accountant must be aware of how cryptocurrencies are declared in business records and monitor regulation. They have to know what to look out for, the risks that are involved and the impact on the business. And they need to recognise that these technologies aren’t going to leave any time soon.

 Darren Gorton, Finance Executive at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)

How to spot cooked books

Despite a succession of reform legislation, corporate misdeeds still go on, according to an article in Investopedia.

It says every company maneuvers the numbers to a certain extent to achieve budgets and get bonuses but sometimes companies take the fact-fudging too far. “Factors such as greed, desperation, immorality and bad judgment drive some executives to corporate fraud”.

Author Rick Wayman writes that most companies are run by ethical people. “They may bend the rules, but few take the process to the extremes of Enron or WorldCom – companies that claimed billions in assets but promptly went bankrupt when their false claims were exposed.”

He says to protect your investments from Enron-style disasters you need to learn the basic warning signs of earnings manipulation. “While the details are usually hidden – even from the accountants – learning these money-manipulation methods will keep you alert to companies who may be cooking the books…”

He then describes eight of the top ways in which books are cooked, namely: Accelerating Revenues; Delaying Expenses; Accelerating Expenses Preceding an Acquisition; “Non-Recurring” Expenses; Other Income or Expense; Pension Plans; Off-Balance-Sheet Items; and Synthetic Leases.

To see how these are done, read the full article here.


Article published on

FNB uses helpful innovation to address customer needs

SMEs can now completely switch or open a new bank account in less than five minutes through selfie authentication and digital KYC on the FNB App.

This paperless cheque account opening process uses bio metric technology to validate the business and its owner, allows the SME to order and courier new cards, switch debit orders and setup digital banking immediately.

FNB CEO, Jacques Celliers says, the development marks a significant milestone in the bank’s 180-year history as they move beyond being a digital innovator to a broader contextual platform disruptor. It is through this contextually helpful platform that we can offer holistic financial solutions and become a trusted partner to the broader society. This will enable us to help create a better world for years to come.”

Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business says FNB has worked hard to understand how SMEs operate and the day to day challenges they face, which are considerable. We have coined the phrase “businessism” inside FNB, driving our focus on solutions that remove those moments of angst that businesses face – from registering a company and opening a bank account, to applying for credit and managing the businesses daily affairs.

“Our digital solutions now cater for the entire SME value chain via Online Banking Enterprise™ which is linked to the FNB App,” he adds.

The focus on fintech has grown significantly on the African continent.  Although there are a number players who actively innovate in the SME market, they often lack scale and fail to deliver a single platform that is convenient and does not pose additional cost, security and administrative burdens.

“Therefore, it was imperative that we not only integrate key solutions, but further incorporate trust and simplicity to our platforms, while ensuring that we do not add complexity in an already over-crowded marketplace,” says Vacy-Lyle.

FNB Business continues to receive a positive response from SMEs for the value it provides through its digital platform –  with notable achievements in the past year alone:

An average of 3000 new company registrations were initiated every month on digital channels in the last year, with more than 1,000 assisted CIPC registrations per month.

Over 300 000 customers accessed digital account confirmation letters online (with SARS endorsement) eradicating the need to go to branch or call in for assistance.

eWallet Pro payments between SME’s and casual workers increased 40% year on year.

Over 4 500 customers used DocTrail which allows businesses to easily attach source or reference documents to all their digital payments in the cloud, creating a transparent and auditable trail for every payment execution.

Over 200,000 customers registered to use FNB’s suite of Instant Value Add solutions, that help take the angst out of your day-to-day business administration of bookkeeping, payroll and invoicing.

FNB Instant Invoicing produces over 40,000 compliant tax invoices per month for businesses;

Business clients can now make payments, including Pay-and-Clear now, as well as those that require multiple authorisations on FNB’s digital channels.

More than 50% of all credit applications in FNB Business are now digitally originated and approved representing more than R200m per month of new SME credit facilities.

The FNB App now plays a central role in redefining the entire SME customer experience from the on-boarding process, to enabling businesses to manage day to day banking, authentications, business administration, service and relationship management. Conveniently, all on one, safe, easy-to-use platform.


Article published on:


Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s decision sinks audit firm Nkonki

Audit firm Nkonki’s largest office has applied for voluntary liquidation, after the auditor-general’s decision to terminate its contracts with the company scuppered plans by executives to buy out disgraced majority shareholder Mitesh Patel.

This is according to an article on BDlive.

Nkonki Sunninghill, which employs 180 people, was left with no other option but to voluntarily wind up the company, the firm said in a statement on Monday afternoon issued via its lawyers, Nicqui Galaktiou Inc.

The Sunninghill office accounts for nearly half of Nkonki’s nationwide staff complement. It remains to be seen what the effect of that office’s winding up will have on the firm’s other eight branches.

Nkonki said the winding-up process could take “several months” and it intended, where possible, to complete outstanding work and ensure clients were not compromised. Of the R450m worth of public-sector audits conducted by private-sector audit firms, KPMG and Nkonki combined accounted for about R90m, the …

The liquidation will be viewed as a major blow for transformation in the audit profession. Nkonki is one of a handful of sizeable black-owned audit firms in SA.

Patel resigned in April following reports by investigative journalism unit amaBhungane, which revealed that Gupta lieutenant Salim Essa had funded his R107m management buyout of the black-owned audit firm.

Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s announcement that his office would terminate audit contracts with Nkonki and KPMG, which is implicated in VBS Mutual Bank’s collapse, followed soon after. Both firms conducted public sector audits on behalf of the auditor-general. Media reports on “matters arising from the shareholder transactions involving [Nkonki] were of grave concern and pose significant risk [to] the reputation of my office”, Makwetu said.

While Nkonki serviced “substantial private clients”, the majority of its contracts were with the public sector, the firm said. “The sale of [Patel’s] shares could not be finalised as a result of the cancellation of Nkonki’s public sector contracts.”

Patel’s 2016-17 Gupta-funded purchase of roughly 82% of Nkonki from founders Sindi Zilwa and her brother, Mzi Nkonki, is one of the latest scandals to rock the increasingly discredited audit profession.

Nkonki has become the freshest casualty of the Guptas’ state-capture project, joining the ranks of KPMG and McKinsey.

According to amaBhungane, the intention was for Patel to hold 65% of the shares he bought as a front for his funders — ultimately Essa. After the transaction, Nkonki landed new work “potentially worth hundreds of millions at Eskom, then under the sway of the Guptas”.

Patel denied this when confronted by amaBhungane but resigned on April 9. In a letter to staff, Patel said his resignation was “amicable” and was reached in consultation with the firm’s executive committee.

Thuto Masasa was appointed acting CEO and Nkonki hired a law firm to conduct a forensic investigation into the firm.

“It was impossible for Nkonki to have conducted and obtained the outcome of a thorough forensic investigation into the serious allegations posed in the media prior to the [auditor- general] terminating its mandate with the company,” Nkonki said.

Neither did the firm have the opportunity to address the “serious and damaging allegations in respect of Mr Patel’s shareholding in Nkonki”, it said.

The company described its 180 employees as “victims who had no involvement nor knowledge in the shareholding and loan transactions, the funding thereof nor the due diligence processes conducted”.

Neither the auditor-general nor the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors was available for comment.

Article published on:


SARS implemented several changes to the annual income tax returns for companies (the ITR14) on 26 February 2018 as part of SARS’ ongoing efforts to promote efficiency and compliance.

Two new schedules were added to the ITR14:

  • The first schedule relates to companies that wish to claim the learnership allowance in terms of section 12H of the Income Tax Act[1]:
    1. the details of its registered learnerships must now be provided in a separate schedule.
    2. In terms of this schedule, separate disclosures are required for learners with a disability and learners without a disability for both NQF levels 1 to 6 and NQF levels 7 to 10.
    3. The number of learners and the allowance amount for each of these fields must be completed in the schedule.
  • The second schedule relates to Controlled Foreign Companies (“CFCs”).
    1. A company that holds at least 10 percent of the participation rights in any CFC, must submit a return to SARS. The previous schedule has been replaced with a simplified Excel schedule, which enables companies to declare all CFC information in one consolidated schedule.
    2. From the 1st of June 2018, the schedule must accompany the submitted return. The schedule can be uploaded via e-Filing as a supporting document, regardless of the number of CFCs.

Further amendments for groups of companies:

  • Companies with subsidiaries are required to submit a complete group structure together with the ITR14.
  • Additional questions with regard to the Country-by-Country (“CbC”) reporting regulations have also been added. Companies that are subject to these regulations will have to specify the tax jurisdiction of the reporting entity for the multinational entity group as well as the name of the reporting entity.

An example of the new ITR14 template is available on the SARS website.  Companies should carefully consider these new requirements in order to ensure that the updatedITR14 is completed correctly and that all the required supporting documentation is submitted together with the ITR14.

Companies that have already created the new tax returns on e-Filing, not yet submitted, must refresh the return in order to request the revised ITR14.


Article posted on:

Betty Bookkeeper answers your questions on whether to implement a payroll system

Hi Betty

Good day. Kindly advise on the following:

I have a client who is a director in his company, he does not have employees.

He draws a salary but he does not have a payroll system.

I have advised that we get his company a payroll system and enter all his salaries that he’s been receiving so that we can generate an IRP5 for his IT12 submission.

Kindly advise if there is a different way to resolve same issue or if my advice is correct.


Hi Sandra

Your client does not have to implement a payroll system in order for him to be tax compliant.  Any person who derives income from a source other than a monthly salary from an employer, like your client who is a Director in his own company and draws money monthly from this company as his salary, must register as a provisional tax payer at SARS and then submit an IRP6 twice a year at the end of Aug and at the end of Feb, to declare this income to SARS and pay over the tax payable (using the normal SARS tax tables to calculate the liability).  This process will then replace the traditional PAYE function of a company deducting tax off the employee’s salary and paying it over to SARS.

Then additional to these two IRP6 returns every year, your client will then also during the normal tax return submission period for employed individuals, submit his own ITR12, based on the two IRP6’s already submitted earlier the year.

Hope that helps!

Don’t forget that I’m here to answer your questions about the ICBA, or just queries about your accounting at work. All you have to do is email me with a copy of your ICBA membership certificate. Not yet a member? Send in your application form!

SAAA events for 2018: ICBA


The ESSENTIAL programme for Certified Bookkeeper includes the following: Monthly Compliance and Legislation Updates. This is the essential package if you only want CPD points at the lowest possible price, and need an update on the latest changes.

This is a monthly 2-hour webinar presented by Lettie Janse van Vuuren CA(SA), SAICA and IRBA compliance expert. The webinar covers all the latest changes and updates in auditing, accounting, tax, SARS operations, CIPC operations, Labour and other laws. Presented every month, on a Wednesday. If a recording is missed you still get to watch it in your online e-profile.

Monthly Compliance and Legislation Updates Month CPD points
Monthly Compliance and Legislation Update Every Month 24
  • 1 x 2 hour webinar every month, on a Wednesday
  • Recordings, slides and additional material stored within your own online profile
  • Ideal for staff training
  • Full set of course material
  • Free e-mail support on technical issues covered during the monthly sessions
  • Topics: auditing, accounting, tax, SARS operations, CIPC operations, Labour and other laws


The ESSENTIAL PLUS programme for Certified Bookkeeper includes events below. This is a webinar only package. Webinars can be watched live at a pre-scheduled time and the recording will be available to re-watch via your online profile. The presenter will be available for Q & A during these webinars.

Event Month Provider CPD Hours
Monthly Compliance and Legislation Update Every Month SAAA 24 Hours
Bookkeeping Tips & Tricks February SAAA 1 + 4 (Four additional hours for free assessment)
Using Software Tools for Workflow Management March SAAA 1 + 4 (Four additional hours for free assessment)
Meaningful Management Reports for SMEs May SAAA 1 + 4 (Four additional hours for free assessment)
Drafting Budgets & Cashflow for Business June SAAA 1 + 4 (Four additional hours for free assessment)
Working Capital Management September SAAA 1 + 4 (Four additional hours for free assessment)
SARS and IRBA CIPC Compliance September SAAA 1 + 4 (Four additional hours for free assessment)
Annual PAYE and VAT Update November SAAA 1 + 4 (Four additional hours for free assessment)


CPD Programme: Essential Practice

Get your whole firm compliant.

Select this option and gain access to all Essential Plus content for you and your staff.

The lead partner can be attend either via seminar or webinar. Webinars and recordings Webinars are available for all staff. All participants will get CPD points (certificates). Recordings are loaded on your firm’s online profile

Use this facility to monitor your staff training and development.


Additional benefits of subscribing

CPD subscribers gain access to Professional Indemnity Insurance from as little as R600 per annum. PI Insurance cover is subject to approval and risk assessment by the broker and the underwriter. Typically, an accountant that is compliant and in good standing will be able to obtain R5 000 000 PI cover for less than R600.00 pa.

The PI cover is subject to:

  • Underwriter assessment of risk,
  • CPD compliance
  • Professional body membership, and
  • Compliance to professional member standards.

Read more here –

Financial E-Learning Courses available to complete in your own time


Biz Facility Courses


Biz Facility, established in 2010, forming part of the Finsolve Group, provides easy to understand comprehensive financial, accountancy and tax training to individuals, business owners, financial managers, business and corporate staff to understand how to effectively run and understand business.



This course teaches the three main statements, Income Statement, Statement of Financial Position and Cash Flow Statement, to manage the cash flow cycle from purchases to banking the cash.

By completion of this course, you will be able to efficiently read the main financial statements, and using a number of key figures, develop a story line of the effectiveness of the business in generating sales revenue through to cash flow.

This further course is designed to show the entrepreneur, managers, professionals, bookkeepers and other users of financial statements, how to analyse financial statements using key ratios, and to use this information to write a report on the financial health of the business.

By the end of this course, you will be able to efficiently analyse the main financial statements, and using a number of key ratios, write a report using our proprietary Analysis Template, which highlights the effectiveness of the business in generating sales revenue through to cash flow.

Key is the proprietary integrated financial health analysis workbook, which will generate the information required to read the Financials and the conversion of this information into our analysis report template in order to generate a written report on the financial health of the business.

This course shows entrepreneurs and managers how to use Financial Statements and Key Financial Ratios to measure and monitor the effectiveness of their businesses in generating sales into profits, and then converting those profits into cash.

The workshop consists of a four-part interactive online course which describes how by using the financial statements of your business, you can accurately measure true profitability and cash flow conversion.

Importantly the course not only shows you how to measure this two-step process, but how to make improvements to enhance your business’s effectiveness across both areas, with some real life examples to enhance the learning experience.


  • Business Valuation e-learning Workshop (13 Easy to follow Modules)
  • A Powerful Valuation Calculator Workbook
  • Comprehensive Downloadable Notes for each Module
  • Certificate of Completion of the Course Issued



  • Registrations – Supporting Documents and Forms to fill in
  • VAT Categories
  • How to fill in the VAT201 form
  • Invoices – what are they supposed to look like?
  • E-Invoices – how am I supposed to store them?
  • Connected Persons
  • Accrual Basis / Invoice Basis compared to Payment Basis
  • The 10-Day Rule
  • Exceptions to the general time and value of supply


  • Time and Value of supply
  • Progressive, successive and periodic supplies
  • Fringe Benefits • Instalment Sale Agreements
  • Commercial Accommodation
  • Consideration only partly for a taxable supply
  • Standard Rated Supplies
  • Zero Rated Supplies
  • Exempt Supplies
  • Entertainment
  • Travel Reimbursement
  • Expense Reimbursement
  • International Travel
  • Exports
  • Selling a business as a going concern
  • Municipal Rates



  • Basic Bookkeeping and Accounting Terminology
  • Why you need Bookkeeping
  • Accounting Cycle
  • Source Documents, Books of First Entry
  • Chart Of Accounts
  • Audit Trails
  • Trial Balance
  • Reconciliations
  • Month/Year End Close of Process
  • Annual Financial Statements (AFS)



  • Change of Registered Address
  • Change of Company Directors
  • New Company Registrations
  • Submission of CIPC Annual Returns



  • Registration Process (ITAC and SARS)
  • Forms and their uses
  • New Customs Acts – Benefits
  • New Processes and concepts
  • New and old time periods
  • Release of Detained Goods
  • Buying & Selling: Rates of Exchange
  • Transport & Movement of Goods
  • Warehousing
  • Bill of Entry
  • Importation of Services (VAT215)
  • Temporary Imports
  • Payment and Liability
  • Preferred Trader
  • Advance Ruling
  • VAT

For full details, please visit

All self study courses and notes are supported by the ICBA – Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and Accountants for contribution of  CPD points to professionals

25 Jokes That Only Accountants Will Find Funny

Today is the perfect time to celebrate the brave souls who balance our books, sort out our files, and lead the way through tax season.

To thank the pros who crunch the numbers so we don’t have to, we polled accountants and auditors and scoured the web to round up 25 jokes that only accountants will love.

1. Welcome to the accounting department, where everybody counts.

2. What does CPA stand for? Can’t Pass Again.

3. It’s accrual world.

4. It’s 4:04. Do you know where your auditor is?

5. Where do homeless accountants live? In a tax shelter.

6. A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

7. How do you know you have a great CPA? He has a tax loophole named after him.

8. What do you call an accountant with an opinion? An auditor.

9. An accountant is someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.

10. Why did the accountant cross the road? Because she looked in the files and did what they did last year.

11. How does Santa’s accountant value his sleigh? Net Present Value.

12. What do accountants suffer from that ordinary people don’t? Depreciation.

13. Why are accountants always so calm, composed, and methodical? They have strong internal controls.

14. Be audit you can be.

15. What do you call a financial controller who always works through lunch, takes two days holiday every two years, is in the office every weekend, and leaves every night after 10 p.m.? Lazy.

16. What do you call a trial balance that doesn’t balance? A late night.

17. An economist is someone who didn’t have enough personality to become an accountant.

18. Why do economists exist? So accountants have someone to laugh at.

19. What’s the difference between an accountant and a lawyer? The accountant knows he’s boring.

20. What do you call a group financial controller who’s lost his job? Bob.

21. How can you tell when the chief accountant is getting soft? When he actually listens to marketing before saying no.

22. There are just two rules for creating a successful accountancy business: 1. Don’t tell them everything you know. 2. [Redacted]

23. What’s an actuary? An accountant without the sense of humor.

24. What do actuaries do to liven up their office party? Invite an accountant.

25. Four Laws of Accounting:

1. Trial balances don’t.
2. Bank reconciliations never do.
3. Working capital does not.
4. Return on investments never will.


Article originally published on:

Betty Bookkeeper answers your questions on SBC Tax Brackets

Hi Betty

Please assist me.With reference to enjoy SBC tax brackets, please advise on the following for me :-
Is there a turnover limit ? What is the limit ?
Do you enjoy writing off assets for trade in the year of purchase ?
Is there a limit to staff ?

Could you briefly outline any other benefits for the company which may be enjoyed ?If you could please assist me with the above urgently I’d be most grateful.


Hi Ryan

Tax planning an any type of business is complex, irrespective of whether you are a SBC or not. There are so many factors to take into consideration, that it would be nearly impossible to assist you without having reviewed your business in detail to determine how you could maximise your benefit from the current SBC tax tables. I can however give you a few pointers that might steer you in the right direction. For starters, the turnover of your business should be less than R20 million per year. Furthermore, the shareholders must all be natural persons and only own this one business. Then the income derived from investments should be less than 20% and the income derived from rendering personal services must also be less than 20%. In the case where the business is a personal services provider, the business should also have employed 3 or more full time employees (excluding the shareholders / owners) during the year. Only when all the above criteria are met, do you qualify to register as a SBC and would the SBC tax

Hope that helps!

Don’t forget that I’m here to answer your questions about the ICBA, or just queries about your accounting at work. All you have to do is email me with a copy of your ICBA membership certificate. Not yet a member? Send in your application form!