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South African Chartered Accountant to influence international accounting for rate regulation

Jacob Buys, CA(SA) and Eskom’s senior manager assumes international role

Jacob Buys, a South African Chartered Accountant [CA(SA)] and a senior manager in Technical Accounting and Reporting at Eskom Holdings SOC Limited (Eskom) was recently appointed as a member of the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) new consultative group for its Rate-regulated Activities research project.


According to the IASB, this group with members from around the world was established to provide specialist analysis of accounting issues in its project on rate regulation by providing a variety of expert perspectives, including those of preparers, auditors and users of financial statements, and regulators. The group consists of senior professionals with extensive practical experience in the operation of a variety of rate-regulatory schemes.


In South Africa rate regulation is used in the areas of electricity generation, transmission and distribution, wholesale and retail petrol supply, and for the airports and ports. So who better than Buys, a seasoned technical accounting and financial reporting CA(SA) who has been in the employment of Eskom since August 1988. He was the senior manager in financial accounting at Eskom from 1996 to 2006 and since then a senior manager in technical accounting at Eskom.


Eskom generates approximately 95% of the electricity used in South Africa. The company generates, transmits and distributes electricity to customers in industrial, mining, commercial, agricultural and residential sectors, as well as to redistributors.

Buys’ main responsibility at Eskom is to ensure that the Eskom Group’s consolidated annual financial statements are prepared in terms of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as well as to provide strategic direction on the application of IFRS in the Eskom Group.


Sue Ludolph, project director of Financial Reporting Standards at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) explains that Buys is a very active and highly experienced CA(SA) who always avails himself to sit on SAICA financial reporting committees when required. 


“He has served on a number of committees which include the SAICA’s Accounting Practices Committee (APC) from June 2001 to December 2006,” says Ludolph, clarifying that SAICA’s APC, is the former technical advisory body to the Accounting Practices Board, the previous standard-setter in South Africa.  The APC is the technical committee of SAICA and it plays an active role in providing guidance to SAICA on all accounting and financial reporting matters.


She states that after Buys retired as a member of the APC, he continued to contribute to the work of the APC through participating in its various sub-committees deliberating and providing comments on the IASB’s proposed pronouncements.


Paul O’Flaherty, Eskom’s Finance Director adds that Buys’ appointment resulted from the nomination that was submitted by SAICA to the IASB, based on his experience in financial reporting standards as well as in the area of rate regulation. “We at Eskom are very proud of the fact that Buys has also prepared a position paper on the impact of regulated assets and regulated liabilities for Eskom,” he says.


“We are delighted by Buys’ appointment,” says O’Flaherty, indicating that in addition to his successful career path, Buys has also collected practical experience related to rate-regulated activities which he garnered when he visited PWC in London during April 2005; together with various electricity utilities in France, Germany, Scotland and Ireland, to discuss their treatment of regulated assets and regulated liabilities.


Buys was also a member of the GAAP Monitoring Panel, which is now known as the Financial Reporting Investigations Panel (FRIP) of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), from February 2006 to February 2012. The function of the FRIP is to advise the JSE’s Issuer Regulation Division in relation to alleged cases of non-compliance with the financial reporting requirements.


“I am pleased and look forward to this new role I will be playing over and above my usual Eskom duties. I will use all the South African experiences I have gained over many years, to add value to this important group.” Buys says, adding that he will also use this opportunity to learn from his counterparts from around the world, and use his experiences to ensure South Africa is constantly on the forefront of rate-regulatory operations.


“We wish Buys success in this undertaking and applaud him for flying the SAICA flag high by continuing to demonstrate the caliber of CAs(SA). SAICA is grateful of Buys’ appointment,” concludes Ludolph, noting that Buys has also provided comments on the various exposure drafts on rate-regulated activities via the SAICA’s APC.

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