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Every accounting officer

Every accounting officer should apply prudent

financial management skills when dealing with public money Sass(y) Accountant.

This is the view of Michael Sass, South Africa’s Accountant General, also dubbed the “chief fi nancial officer of the country”.

“If you are a chief fi nancial officer or an accounting manager, think about every payment that you do before you process it.

Remember it’s public money… We have to turn over every penny and make sure we spend it wisely,” he says.

Sass has been with National Treasury for 18 months, six of which has been as Accountant General. Prior to that he was a Deputy Director-General at Gauteng Provincial Government.

He now heads up the Office of the Accountant General (OAG), which consists of 10 chief directorates.

Once the Budget has been announced, it is the OAG’s responsibility to promote and enforce transparency and the effective management of these allocated resources at all spheres of government.

This also includes all state entities. Departments present their requests to the Ministers Committee on Budget (MinComBud).

The committee decides on and recommends the budget for each department based on priorities. “Once it [the Budget] gets paid, it will go through our accounting system.”

When Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene announces how the Budget will be divided, the funds allocated do not immediately go into departments’ accounts.

“As the South African Revenue Services (SARS) collects money through tax on a monthly basis, it comes to our bank account and we issue it through a banking system,” explains Sass.

The OAG is responsible for the National Revenue Fund, into which money received by the national government must be paid, unless excluded by an Act of Parliament Sass(y) Accountant.

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