College of Law and Management Studies

School of Accounting, Economics and Finance academic Mr Rudolf Mbanjwa’s master’s dissertation won top honours at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) 2020 Accounting iNdaba.

The focus of the thesis – supervised by Ms Hlengiwe Ndlela and Professor Mabutho Sibanda -was on the perceptions of accountants and auditors on professional ethics and professional scepticism in South Africa

Mbanjwa received the top achievers award in the Master’s Dissertation in Accounting category of the Accounting and Tax Thesis Competition. The award recognises outstanding research in the fields of accounting and taxation.

‘With the recent spike in financial scandals in South Africa, and indeed the world over, the ethics of accountants and auditors have been questioned by society,’ said Mbanjwa. ‘The trust these professionals have enjoyed from the public throughout history seems to be fading away.

‘It is against this backdrop that I conducted my study of establishing the perceptions of accountants and auditors about the prevailing ethical conduct (or lack thereof) within the profession,’ he said.

With findings revealing that individuals within the professions which were examined do face various pressures to compromise on ethical conduct, Mbanjwa is looking forward to exploring this issue further through his PhD.

‘There are various topics I am currently considering in the area of ethics in the accounting and auditing profession,’ he said. ‘This area is of great interest to the public and the recent activities in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry have further highlighted the question of the moral fibre of qualified accountants in South Africa.

‘My PhD study will certainly be a build up from my master’s study, as I am passionate about moral conduct and doing good – because it is always the right thing to do,’ he added.