As the recognised industry body for the BEE Verification Industry, ABVA (the Association of BEE Verification Agencies) has provided companies with the following information in regards to what they can expect from their chosen Verification Agency (VA) during the verification process. The criteria and expectations as expressed here are part of the ABVA Member Code of Conduct that all ABVA members are required to adhere to.
Please note that this information is the basic minimum requirements of what a VA should provide to a company throughout the verification process.
- A Signed Agreement: Before commencing with the verification process, a signed agreement must be in place. This agreement should spell out the process for the verification so that companies know what to expect and what is expected of them.
- Briefing Session: While not required, it is highly recommended that companies request a full briefing and explanation session from their VA in order to take them through the entire verification process. This session should include an explanation of the process and the time it would take to complete the process, the costs of such process, why certain documents are needed as supporting evidence, what will be expected from the company, and other details of the process.
- Documentation Requirements & Deadlines: Your VA will give you a list of required supporting documentation that is needed and must be submitted to your VA timeously in order to verify your points for each element of the scorecard. It is critical that companies meet the deadlines on submission of documentation and provide accurate and adequate supporting evidence as this is the only way to ensure a smooth process. Ideally no VA should accept further documentation after the on-site verification visit. Part of this documentation would include an indicative scorecard, information from payroll, HR, accounting, etc. Your VA will inform you in the briefing session what documentation is needed and why. Please remember, that your VA is bound by confidentiality in terms of the documentation you provide.
- On-Site Visit: A VA must conduct an on-site visit for any legitimate verification of a Qualifying Small Enterprise (QSE with annual turnover between R5 million and R35 million) or for a Broad Based Entity (Generic Scorecard, annual turnover above R35 million). The on-site visit would take place to verify the supporting evidence submitted. Therefore, it may include interviews with Black Directors, management and employees, sample testing of invoices from suppliers, sample testing of payroll, etc.
- Preliminary Report: Once these steps have been undertaken, the VA should submit a preliminary report to the measured entity. This report would include an indicative scorecard as well as an explanation as to how the points were derived. At this point, the client may object to the scorecard.
- Submission of Final Report & Certificate: Once all the above steps have been concluded, the VA should provide the company with an official certificate and a detailed report substantiating the calculations.
Companies can expect the above steps as the basic minimum requirements for a verification. If a company has chosen to utilise the services of an ABVA member and is not receiving the above, they are highly urged and encouraged to contact ABVA so that appropriate steps can be taken to resolve the situation and deal with the VA in the context of the ABVA Code of Conduct.