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Over the past few years hundreds of companies have sprung up (some purely Internet based) offering to conduct this analysis for you. But how much value do such ratings really have?
The BBBEE rating process is much like a company audit. Any rating or verification company that offers this service will have to be a member of the Association of BEE Verification Agencies (ABVA) and be accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS).
Now that the Codes have been gazetted, the only legally accepted rating is one that is SANAS-endorsed.
ABVA and SANAS have developed the system for this accreditation, and are in the process of evaluating the many applications that have been submitted to date.
While some of the better known verification agencies, such as Empowerdex, have no doubt fine-tuned their on-site BBBEE audit processes, even these ratings will have to be redone once each agency is accredited.
Bear in mind that ratings can cost tens of thousands of Rands to conduct, depending on the size and complexity of the business. It is not something you want to have to do twice.
Having said that, a BBBEE rating is still the easiest way for any company to evaluate itself and its suppliers, and every business should have one.
Until the first accreditations are awarded during the course of 2008 and 2009, a self-assessment will carry just as much weight as a rating done by a third party - regardless of who that third party is.
One therefore has to question the real motivation of any large organisation that insists on its suppliers using a specific agency to supply a BBBEE rating.
So, how does this help you?
If the thought of doing a self-assessment makes you want to bang your head against the nearest wall, fear not - there are a number of affordable tools (some available online) that simplify the process.
An example can be found at http://beeprofiler.commercezone.co.za, an online service that enables a business and its suppliers to quickly establish and manage their BBBEE profiles.
"This is not a verifi cation solution," explains Adil Abdulhah, Manager: BEE Services at MWEB CommerceZone, "but it gives companies a starting point and a way to establish where they need to focus their energies in order to improve their BBBEE rating."
SANAS is recognised by government as the only national accreditation body that provides formal recognition that an organisation is competent to perform specific tasks. SANAS maintains a database of all accredited organisations, which is made available to the dti.