The Southern African Institute of Government Auditors’ (SAIGA) inaugural Audit and Finance Indaba is an important event for auditors and finance professionals in South Africa. Themed ‘The Era of Big Data and Cybercrime’, this year’s Indaba reflects the growing importance of these two factors in the field of auditing and finance. 

As the industry professionals count down the days to the Indaba, which is scheduled to take place at the Investec Pretoria Office on Friday, 15 March 2024, the SAIGA Chief Executive Officer, Russel Morena, writes about the risks, changes as well as the opportunities presented by big data and cybercrime in the field of auditing and finance in South Africa.

Big data has become a significant factor in the field of auditing and finance in recent years. With the advent of technology, companies and organisations are generating a huge amount of data every day. This data can be used to make informed financial decisions and to identify potential risks and opportunities. Auditors can use big data to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of their audits, leading to better financial governance and decision-making.

However, with the rise of big data, the risk of cybercrime has also increased. Cybercrime poses a significant threat to the financial and auditing sector in South Africa. Cybercriminals can steal sensitive financial information, disrupt financial systems, and even manipulate data for their own gain. Auditors and finance professionals need to be aware of these threats and take steps to protect their data and systems from cyber attacks.

The Indaba will present several opportunities for auditors, accountants and the finance sector professionals in South Africa. Firstly, it will provide an opportunity for them to learn about the latest developments in big data and cybercrime and how these factors are impacting the field of auditing and finance. They can gain insights into best practices for using big data in their audits and learn about the latest strategies for dealing with cybercrime.

Secondly, the theme also presents an opportunity for auditors and finance professionals to network with their peers and experts in the field. By exchanging ideas and experiences, they can gain a better understanding of how other professionals are using big data and combating cybercrime in their work. This can lead to valuable collaborations and partnerships that can benefit the entire industry.

Finally, the theme of the event will also provide an opportunity for auditors and finance professionals to showcase their own work and research in the field of big data and cybercrime. They can present their own strategies and solutions for using big data in audits and for protecting financial systems from cyber attacks. This can help to raise awareness of the importance of these factors in the industry and encourage more professionals to take them seriously.

The Institute has lined up high-profile speakers, who include Accountant General of South Africa and keynote speaker Shabeer Khan, Phillip Rakgwale, the Chief Audit Executive (Acting) City of Ekurhuleni, SAIPA Executive Prof Rashied Small, Accounting Standard Board CEO Jeanine Poggiolini, Sunday Times Deputy Editor Makhudu Sefara, Omar Kadwa, the Director at SNG Thornton and the CEO of IRBA, Imre Nagy, among others. 

Rakgwale will give a presentation on ‘Emerging trends on public sector audits in the past three years (2021-2023) both PFMA and MFMA’ while Nagy, will speak about the journey of rotational audits in South Africa: challenges & success stories. 

In conclusion, the theme of The Era of Big Data and Cybercrime at the SAIGA Inaugural Audit and Finance Indaba presents significant changes and opportunities for auditors and finance professionals in South Africa. By embracing big data and addressing the challenges of cybercrime, they can improve the effectiveness and accuracy of their audits and financial decision making. This event provides a valuable platform for them to learn from experts, network with their peers, and showcase their own work in this important and evolving field.