The codes aren’t out but you can still operate
The new codes were supposed to be released in June 2006 and Government has been holding off the release up until now. With plenty talk about the lack of new codes, comes tremendous confusion. Questions are asked – “What should my business do in order to become BEE Compliant? If I do comply with the current codes and it changes am I still compliant?”
All these questions are very valid and anyone’s answer is simply a best guess. What we do know is the new codes should be simplified making it easier to both achieve and prove that you do in fact have those points. When the new codes are released, we believe that the concepts will remain the same and that the terminology and understanding will also be unchanged. If anything, the codes will become more descriptive and considerably easier to understand. The Codes of Good Practice is really made up of targets. This can cause some confusion but in general it is only a target and can quite simply be changed and recalculated.
Question – “With new codes on their way is it then a good idea to start doing something now about BBBEE?”
The answer is a categoric – “Yes”. Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment is a long term process. Along the way some of the targets might change and some concepts could be adapted but at the end of the day it is to the benefit of the entire population.
When a company asks you for your BBBEE status, do not panic. As a business owner, ask yourself – “Do my customers need my BBBEE Scorecard?” The answer is “Yes, they do.” When you do give them your scorecard you will be satisfying a request of theirs and hopefully getting more business from them.
At this moment you could get a consultant or rating agency to help you, but if you are a QSE you could do your rating yourself. Your scorecard must reflect your company at this moment. You might achieve a low score at present, but remember most other businesses scorecards are also low. Analyse your scorecard. See where you are scoring well, where you could score better and where you are not scoring well at all. Start with the easiest, bearing in mind that other companies will also find some aspects difficult at first. You should get an idea of what will be required and start setting up policies within the company so you can start moving towards becoming a more BBBEE compliant company. Once you have started then you could go to a consultant to check if you have everything correct and for advise on improving what you do have. Then if required go to a good rating agency – one approved by dti and SANAS. There are no accredited rating agencies at present, but use a company that will qualify once the accreditations are finalised.
You can also tell your customers that you have started working towards a better score and will continue to evaluate and better your scorecard as an ongoing project. Give your customers the assurance that you have a commitment towards becoming more BBBEE compliant. Let them feel comfortable with the fact that they are dealing with a good company who does care about their customers.
In competitive industries your BBBEE status will start making a big difference to the customers you are acquiring. If you are a fairly unique business, be very aware that someone could start competing with you if they see an opportunity to make a quick buck.
The lack of new codes should not slow your business down but rather help you get ahead of your competition.