Building Public Trust Awards

There has never been a greater need for businesses to build trust around their tax affairs than now.

Much has been written about tax transparency recently and there’s no sign that the debate will subside.  A range of stakeholders are interested in tax, including regulators, NGOs, investors, the board, the media, employees, the finance department – the list is long and growing.

Tax reporting has come a long way since we started with the Building Public Trust initiative, which was introduced by PwC to encourage and promote greater voluntary transparency in tax reporting. We have seen some companies take a more balanced approach to reporting and developing reporting formats to better connect with audiences beyond traditional reporting to stakeholders. Establishing transparency, being responsive and providing vital information enable corporates to promote themselves as trusted brands. This means taking steps to go further than regular communication to stakeholders. It also requires corporates to reconsider whether their corporate reporting is effective, as it is fundamental to building trust through transparency and accountability  

It is accepted that there is a range of approaches and it’s important to consider the purpose of each transparency initiative and the value that it will bring to the taxpayer and its stakeholders. For some companies, where the business case is insufficient, there will be little activity in this area. Others, however have dedicated time and energy to developing voluntary disclosures and driving the debate on tax transparency.   

The purpose of the awards is to promote transparency and better disclosure in tax reporting by listed entities with the purpose of building public trust, and to recognise the leading companies in this regard. This is the type of behaviour we hope that the awards will encourage, and hope to see more and more companies continue improving the transparency of their tax reporting. In our own firm, we’re guided by our purpose of building trust in society and solving important problems, so you can see how the ethos of the Building Public Trust initiative resonates with us as a firm. 

We’ve always played a key role in helping our clients operate within the complex systems that support businesses, the economy and therefore our communities. This is our business. It is what we do in our teams every day, with passion and commitment – and I’m so pleased to see it reflected in some of our country’s largest and most prominent organisations.

Man running up a flight of stairs

Judges

Anna-Retha Smit

Anna-Retha is a senior lecturer at the University of Pretoria. She is the post-graduate co-ordinator for the MCom students (including supervision) in the Department of Accounting.

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Dr Suresh P Kana

Dr Suresh P Kana is the Chair of the King Committee on Corporate Governance and Deputy Chair of the Integrated Reporting Committee of South Africa. He is Chair of the Financial Standards Reporting Council of South Africa. Suresh served on the GAAP Monitoring Panel and as the South African representative on IFAC’s International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board from 1995 to 2003.

Prior to his retirement, Suresh served as the CEO and Senior Partner of PwC Southern Africa and PwC Africa and a member of the PwC Global Board and its Strategy Council.

He is currently the Chair of Imperial Group Limited, Murray & Roberts Limited, Lead Independent director of JSE Limited and a Non Executive director of Quilter plc. He serves as the Chair of the Audit Committee of the United Nations World Food Programme based in Rome.

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Erika de Villiers

Erika is the Tax Policy Advisor (previously Head of Tax Policy) at the South African Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT). She is responsible for actively engaging with members and stakeholders of SAIT in developing and communicating SAIT views in terms of tax policy, legislation and interpretation in order to facilitate pro-active and constructive engagement with the various government stakeholders including National Treasury, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, SARS and the Office of the Tax Ombud.

 

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Loshni Naidoo

Loshni Naidoo is the Integrated Reporting Project Director at SAICA, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.  Her focus at SAICA is to support its members, the broader finance community and society with information and tools to progress the conversation on sustainability, integrated thinking and integrated reporting.  

Loshni began her career as a chemical engineer and worked for several years in the production and project environments; mainly in mining and chemicals manufacturing. Later, she moved into the accounting and finance fields, where her focus was on providing integrated reporting, and sustainability advisory and assurance solutions to a diverse array of organisations.

She also serves as an independent non- executive director on WESSA’s Board, and is the Chair of its audit, risk and assurance committee.  

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Marchantia Pollock

Marchantia is a senior lecturer in the department of accounting at the University of Pretoria. She is responsible for lecturing financial accounting to students in their final year of study as part of the completion of their degree in various BCom qualifications from the University of Pretoria.

 

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Sue Ludolph

Sue Ludolph represents South Africa at the World Standard-Setters of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and at the International Forum of Standard-Setters. Sue is also the former Project Director for Financial Reporting at SAICA.

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Awards process

The companies that were assessed were the top 100 JSE listed companies by market capitalisation as at 31 December 2017. Entry for the awards is automatic and all companies were assessed in compiling the shortlists for consideration by the judging panel.

A tax transparency framework has been developed and the performance of each company was quantitatively assessed against the framework. The framework consists of mandatory tax disclosure requirements (IFRS and King Code), voluntary tax disclosure requirements based on mandatory requirements applicable in other countries and voluntary disclosure suggestions and best practice.

The data used to evaluate the extent of tax reporting against the framework was sourced from Annual Reports, Corporate Social Responsibility Reports, Annual Financial Statements and Integrated Reports for the top 100 JSE listed companies from the McGregor BFA Database and companies’ websites for the 2016 financial period as well as other relevant reports from companies’ websites related to the company’s tax approach.

Each of the company’s reports was evaluated independently by two members of the research team at the University of Pretoria. The two members of the research team compared their separate evaluations and then mutually agreed on the final evaluation of a specific company. In addition, the coding for the top ten companies by market capitalisation was reviewed by an independent team of reviewers. Where any material inconsistencies in the coding were identified, these were addressed and corrected in the final results. PwC was not involved in the scoring and was not able to influence it in any way.

A five-point Likert scale was used for most criteria in order to include an element of qualitative assessment. For each of the items on the tax transparency framework, a company was allocated points if it addressed the specific item as part of its reporting. For those items for which a Likert scale was used, the points allocated ranged from one to five depending on the assessment of the quality of the reporting relating thereto.

 


Award winners 

Category: Multinational companies

Winner:   AngloGold Ashanti Ltd

Highly commended:  MTN Group Ltd

 

Category: Domestic companies

Winner: Vodacom Group Ltd

Highly commended: Absa Group Ltd

“The main motivation of being transparent in our tax reporting is to improve AnglogoldAshanti’s standing in tax affairs. In negotiations with tax authorities and in public forums, we have to demonstrate transparency in our tax affairs, thereby making the public aware that we are responsible when it comes to our tax affairs. The value which we experience, is that trust is built over time, thereby improving our standing in the global community and improving shareholder returns.”

George Trollope, Vice President Taxation: AngloGold Ashanti Ltd

Contact us

Gert Meiring
Partner
Tel: +27 (0)11 797 5506
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Kyle Mandy
Partner
Tel: +27 (0)11 797 4977
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