03 Mar BEE Verification – Know who you are dealing with
With the recent news of illegal BEE verification certificates having been issued, it is extremely important for businesses to know who they are dealing with. The Department of Trade and Industry has embarked on an operation to clamp down on illegal verification agents. There are, unfortunately, bogus verification agents that are selling fraudulent BEE certificates.
The message is simple – “Individuals who knowingly, or unknowingly, acquire an illegal BEE certificate could lose out on valuable business opportunities in the future.”
This has thrown a spotlight on the importance of dealing with an approved BEE verification agency or auditor. There are two regulatory bodies who approve BEE verification agents, IRBA (Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors) and SANAS. These agents will be well-versed in BEE and the various sector codes. This means that you will be dealing with a company with up-to-date knowledge in both BEE verification analysis and interpretation. These companies are there to provide guidance on the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice and can offer valuable BBBEE training, strategy training and legal BBBEE verification. You will also have a clear understanding on your relevant business classification – (EME, QSE, Generic). A legal BEE verification company will ensure that your company obtains the maximum and accurate points for your BEE contribution.
Many business owners may be surprised to discover that with guidance, the actual scoring system is not as difficult as anticipated. There may be certain elements of the scorecard that require long term planning but, there could well be sufficient elements that can be addressed in a relatively short time period.
The verification agency is there to assist businesses understand the codes of good practice and ensure that they comply in order to receive a valid BEE certificate. Legal BEE verification gives you a more competitive edge, especially when it comes to tendering to government departments and state-owned entities. If your company is planning on dealing directly or indirectly with Government departments, you will be required to produce a legal BEE Certificate. One, or more, of your clients may purchase goods or services from you to supply to government. In this instance, they will request your BEE certificate. The reason for this is that government institutions and para-statals are required to comply.
You may also have the opportunity to deal with non-compliant competitor business entities and many larger companies are dealing with smaller businesses that have a BEE status. A valid BEE status is an investment in your business and enables you to market your B-BBEE level status with complete confidence. A fraudulent BEE certificate will, in the long run, rob a business of the opportunity to thrive and grow in the future. There will be no up-to-date guidance on important elements such as employment equity or skills development. There will also be no valuable assistance on how you could score more points with regards to your company spend.
Rather deal with a company that is approved by IRBA or SANAS accredited. This will ensure that you understand BBBEE and can be confident that your verification is legal and valid.