One of the requirements of SANAS R47-03, which is the document that governs B-BBEE verifications, is the on-site. In other words, all verification agencies are required to go to their client offices to perform various audit procedures. In the past this ranged from performing the full verification, to the performance of certain limited procedures.
SANAS have relaxed this requirement due to COVID-19. Verification agencies can now do remote verifications where all information is supplied by email or SharePoint or a similar file-sharing utility. Client interaction is limited to interviews and problem resolution. Most companies have now done at least one verification remotely and results have been mixed.
The verifications have either:
- Gone very well with quick, easy transfer of information, or
- Been long drawn-out affairs.
Companies which have had a good result from remote verifications are those with strong information access and sharing systems, which have undergone detailed checks on information before submission for verification and have assigned dedicated staff to the verification to ensure information flows quickly and accurately.
How Do We Ensure All Companies Manage Their B-BBEE And Not Have An Annual Nightmare?
- Instead of the preparation of information for verification being done on an annual basis, we recommend that information in B-BBEE activities is recorded throughout the year. This has a number of benefits:
o Information is captured immediately. This minimises the likelihood of training being forgotten, for example.
o If captured immediately it means capturing one or wo lines of information a day. This reduces pressure and thus the risk of errors.
o A saving of time at year-end. We have been told that preparing information for verification can take up to two weeks such is the detail and complexity of information required.
- There must be checks before the information is sent to the verification agency for sampling. This can be done as an internal audit check or Global Business Solutions staff can take samples and ask for supporting information to be supplied. Errors noted must be assessed and corrective action taken as required. While this is not a guarantee that all errors have been found and corrected, hopefully it will go some way to preventing errors in sampled information supplied to the verification agency.
- Consideration be given to the use of web-based software. These packages assist with:
o The regular input of information,
o Scenario-planning and target-setting,
o Measurement of progress against target,
o Total Management of your B-BBEE requirements,
o Sourcing of the correct B-BBEE certificates based upon the VAT numbers of your suppliers,
o Supporting information can be uploaded onto the systems such as invoices and learnership agreements. This can facilitate checking of information by a wider group of people than just the B-BBEE team and B-BBEE consultant.
B-BBEE should be part of your regular decision-making and business planning processes. Preparation for the verification should not start a couple of months before the expiry of your current certificate. Instead it must be ongoing throughout the year. Getting the best results in terms of time taken for the verification and the best B-BBEE levels will take time and effort, and some expenditure.
If you need any assistance with matters discussed above or need to discuss the use of a web-based app, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 083 440 2130. Alternatively please call Rachel Anthony on email@example.com or 082 577 4603.