NewsUncategorisedDemystifying Public Interest Scores for Companies in South Africa

Demystifying Public Interest Scores for Companies in South Africa

In the intricate landscape of South African business regulations, the calculation of a Public Interest Score (PIS) holds pivotal importance for companies and close corporations. Regulation 26 of The Companies Act mandates the annual computation of this score, wielding significant implications for the requisite audit procedures and accounting frameworks. Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of how this score is derived and its far-reaching implications.

Understanding the Calculation

The Public Interest Score is calculated based on several parameters:

  1. Number of Employees: Calculated by determining the average count of employees throughout the financial year. While the Act doesn’t explicitly define this calculation, a meticulous monthly or weekly tally of salaried and waged staff is suggested.
  1. Third-Party Liabilities: Determined by excluding group loans, shareholder loans, and trade payables to group companies. This exclusion ensures a focus on external liabilities, with one point allocated for every R1 million or part thereof.
  1. Turnover: Derived from the definition of revenue in Financial Reporting Standards, with one point allocated for every R1 million or part thereof in revenue.
  1. Individuals with Beneficial Interest: Each shareholder in a profit company and every member in a non-profit company is awarded one point, emphasizing their vested interest in the entity.

Application of Public Interest Scores

The Public Interest Score acts as a compass for the company’s audit requirements and accounting framework. Here’s how SAIPA members utilize this score:

  1. Independent Reviews: SAIPA members awarded the Independent Reviewer’s certification are empowered to conduct independent reviews for entities falling within specific PIS brackets. Private companies and non-owner managed entities with a PIS below 100, and voluntary independent reviews for owner-managed entities with a PIS up to 349, fall within their purview.
  1. Owner-Managed Entities: These are characterized by a single shareholder who is also a director or entities where all shareholders are directors, excluding juristic persons from the shareholder roster. The nuances of owner-managed entities play a crucial role in determining whether audits or reviews are mandatory.

Navigating Compliance Scenarios

Let’s consider a few scenarios to highlight how PIS impacts compliance:

  1. PIS Below 100 and Owner-Managed: Entities falling under this category aren’t mandated for audits or reviews by the Companies Act. However, they may opt for voluntary reviews performed by SAIPA Certified Independent reviewers.
  1. PIS Below 100 and Non-Owner Managed: In this scenario, the Act necessitates an Independent Review, achievable through SAIPA Certified Independent reviewers. However, regulatory protocols demand separation between the reviewer and the preparer of financial statements.
  1. PIS Between 100 – 349 and Owner-Managed: Despite not mandating audits or reviews, owner-managed entities with independently compiled financial statements can opt for voluntary reviews facilitated by SAIPA Certified Independent reviewers.


The Public Interest Score serves as a compass navigating the regulatory requirements for audits and reviews. Its nuanced calculations and implications underline the need for meticulous understanding, especially in delineating scenarios where audits or reviews become mandatory or voluntary. SAIPA members, equipped with the understanding of these scores, play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance and financial transparency for South African entities.

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