The effectiveness of audit committees in South Africa in the private sector
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Research project topic:


The effectiveness of audit committees in South Africa in the private sector


Means of participation:    

Focus groups



This research study is being conducted on the effectiveness of audit committees in listed companies in the private sector of South Africa (SA). 

For the purpose of this study, the term “private sector” includes both listed companies and private (proprietary limited) companies that are subsidiaries of listed companies. This study is especially pertinent in light of recent financial governance issues making news headlines that have a severe impact on the accountancy profession in SA and affect its global standing in the profession. 

These incidents also point directly at the effectiveness of audit committees, which are the custodians of financial governance, and further motivates this study. 

Research objective:

The primary research objective is to develop a framework of best practice that will serve to enhance the overall effectiveness of audit committees of listed companies in SA. In order to achieve this, focus groups will be conducted and participants will identify things that influence the effectiveness of audit committees as perceived by them, based on their experiences. Participants will therefore have an opportunity to contribute to this framework of best practice, which is expected to be of benefit to the SAICA, IoDSA, related legislative and regulatory organizations and the accountancy profession in general. 

This study will use two focus groups to gather data from participants with audit committee knowledge of companies in the private sector. The main criteria is that participants should have knowledge of audit committees and “something to say” about them. 
These two groups are briefly described below.

Focus group 1:

Homogenous focus group (audit committee members):



This group will consist solely of participants that are audit committee members/chairman in the private sector. 


Focus group 2:

Heterogeneous focus group (prominent audit committee stakeholders):



This group will consist of heterogeneous participants and will include prominent audit committee stakeholders that work with, or report to audit committees in the private sector. Examples of participants include: Chief Executive Officers/Executive management, Chief Financial Officers/Senior Finance staff, Chief Audit Executives, Audit Partners/Audit Managers/Senior external auditors, Board members, internal auditors, IT Directors/Managers, Risk Managers, academics, investors, shareholder activists and members of regulatory and professional bodies such as the IoD, SAICA and people that have contributed to the King codes or Companies Act.

Details of focus group participation

Both focus groups will be held at the offices of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) at 9:30 am and the whole process is estimated to take approximately 3.5 hours, but this depends on the group. A professional, independent facilitator will conduct the focus groups. The dates of the two groups are presented below.



IoDSA training room, 2nd floor, Block B, 144 Katherine Street, Grayston Ridge Office Park, Sandown, Sandton. 



9:30 – 13:00 (approximately 3.5 hours)



Group 1:

Group 2:


18 January 2018 (audit committee members only) 

25 January 2018 (prominent audit committee stakeholders)


  The information from participants will at all times be treated as confidential. The names of participants and their respective institutions will not be linked to their individual contributions to this study.


As focus group participants, the findings of this study will be shared with participants. Further, you will be acknowledged for your contribution to this study and the development of the framework, should you consent to such acknowledgement. Alternatively, you may choose to remain anonymous. 

Individuals willing to participate in these focus groups should contact the researcher directly:

Mr Aveen Rampershad MCom, CA(SA) 


Tel: 083 642 3679


Please advise which focus group you will participate in, and the capacity in which you will participate, e.g., Focus group 1 as audit committee member, or Focus group 2 as CEO.


Although the dates are early next year, your prompt response will be appreciated because there are limited spaces available in a focus group and other arrangements to confirm. Therefore, it would be appreciated if you respond by 30 November 2017.  Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or wish to discuss anything further.