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When is disciplinary action taken?

SAIBA members, members with designations and firms are required to observe appropriate standards of professional conduct. SAIBA will take disciplinary action where there is evidence of a sufficiently serious failure to observe those standards.

Not all errors made by accountants automatically attract disciplinary action. If a member has given advice which in hindsight turns out to have been flawed, and as a result of which loss has been suffered, this is primarily a matter for the firm’s professional indemnity insurers. However, disciplinary action may be appropriate if errors are of such frequency or magnitude as to signify a lack of professional competence. Whether you should make a claim against the firm’s insurance policy is a matter for discussion with your legal representative.

Legal claims

Making a complaint against a member is not a substitute for seeking damages or other redress through the courts. SAIBA’s jurisdiction over its members and firms is regulatory and disciplinary in nature.

Therefore, whilst SAIBA members or firms may be ordered to pay compensation if a complaint against them is found proved, the maximum sum payable as set by the disciplinary committee reflect any inconvenience suffered as a result of the members’ or firms’ failure to observe proper standards. SAIBA itself cannot provide compensation for any loss suffered.

The Legal department is not in a position to give you legal advice. If you feel that you have a claim in law against our member you may wish to seek independent legal advice.

Fee disputes

Fee disputes are legal claims; therefore the courts are the proper forums for such matters. However, SAIBA will attempt to conciliate a fee dispute where possible. SAIBA cannot advise on what is a reasonable sum for work done, but can advise on whether members have complied with SAIBA’s professional conduct regulations relating to fees.

How do i make a complaint?

SAIBA members and firms are required to have in place internal procedures for handling client complaints. These procedures will usually entail a review by a senior partner of the firm, or by a colleague who has not previously been involved in the matter. You should ensure that you have exhausted these procedures before making a complaint to SAIBA, as we ma not be able to look into your complaint unless you have done so.

If you have not been able to resolve the matter direct with our member or firm, you may request SAIBA’s assistance by contacting the conciliation service on 012 643 1800. Alternatively, if you wish to lodge a written complaint, you should send it, together with any supporting evidence, to:

SAIBA Legal 
PO Box 7905, Centurion, 
fax: 086 508 2923 
email: complaints@saiba.org.za

Who will deal with my complaint?

SAIBA’s Legal department will deal with your complaint.

The Legal department will open a file, which will be reviewed by the investigating officer. If appropriate, attempts will be made to resolve the matter by conciliation, for example where the complaint is a fee dispute or has arisen because of misunderstandings or lack of communication.

If conciliation is not appropriate, or if after conciliation there are disciplinary matters, which require investigation, the case will be referred for investigation by the disciplinary committee