The ASB staff frequently receives enquiries from stakeholders. These enquiries come in a variety of forms, including:
- Email enquiries.
- Questions following meetings and presentations.
- Questions asked during meetings and presentations.
The ASB does not provide a formal technical enquiry service. The ASB does not provide this service as it is not mandated to do so, and does not have the necessary resources. Any enquiries received will be responded to an informal basis. This means that any response reflects the personal view of an individual member of staff. The ASB encourages consultation amongst staff, but even after such consultation, it remains an unofficial response. Official ASB views are found in Standards and Interpretations. FAQs published on the website also reflect a staff rather than an official position.
Generally, any preparer, auditor, analyst, journalist, standard setter, regulator or academic may raise a question with the ASB staff. However, there are questions that the ASB staff declines to answer:
- Students – Staff is unable to assist students with their assignments or other aspects of their activities.
- Product design – Staff does not respond to queries about whether a certain system is GRAP compliant, or whether a specific proposal will result in a desired accounting effect.
- Disputes –Staff does not respond to queries that are in dispute or subject to arbitration, regardless of whether it is the auditor or the preparer that raises the issue. Both the Auditor-General and the Accountant-General have developed an agreed mechanism to be used for disputes between preparers and auditors.
- Staff does not respond to queries relating to, or provide opinions on transactions or specific arrangements, including calculations, journal entries etc.
- Staff from consultancy or professional accounting firms that have technical departments or other help desks.
- Other literature – Staff does not interpret IFRS, SA GAAP, legislation or any other matters outside of Standards of GRAP.
- SCOA – Staff does not respond to queries about the SCOA for local government. Queries of ths nature should be directed to the SCOA Project Team.
While the staff of the ASB does not provide formal technical advice, it is in the Board’s interest to hear about issues being experienced, either through the informal queries received or through other feedback. This provides the Board with important information about the implementation and application of the Standards. Where these issues are as a result of unclear requirements in the Standards of GRAP, the Board and/or staff can respond in a number of ways:
- Develop a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) to clarify the application of a particular Standard.
- Develop an Interpretation of a Standard of GRAP (IGRAP).
- Revise the text of the Standard during the next biannual project to make minor amendments to Standards of GRAP.
- Initiate a project to review and revise a particular Standards of GRAP.