Merger to fill the gap

2014-07-01 00:00

GCABASHE, South Africa’s oldest black-owned accounting firm that was started in Victoria Street, Durban, in 1966, has merged with PierianSA to form a new company, Accensis.

The new firm, based in Umhlanga Ridge, is aimed at bridging the gap between “the big four” (the top four global accounting firms that also dominate the local market) and the second tier of accounting firms.

The merged firm will become a full- service business advisory firm with strengths in auditing and business process outsourcing (BPO). It hopes to attract more business in the medium-sized business market.

“With only 23 listed companies, the large to medium-sized business market in KwaZulu-Natal contributes a large percentage to the local economy, and is a huge opportunity for middle-sized accounting firms,” said Suresh Naidoo, founder of PierianSA and managing partner of Accensis.

Naidoo, once managing partner of black accounting firm KMMT and who has had partnerships at KPMG and Deloittes, formed PierianSA in 2009.

“There is significant growth potential in BPO, but it requires a mind shift from global players such as Unilever, to look closer to home when outsourcing their bank-end office requirements,” said Naidoo.

“We have the expertise and the manpower to service a good percentage of the work in this country, which will help employment and grow the local economy, as opposed to promoting business growth in India and Asia,” said Naidoo.

Skills development and the enhancement of young professionals is a legacy that will be taken to Accensis through Gcabashe.

Ahmed Mohamedy, a founding member of Gcabashe, was among the first Indian’s in South Africa to qualify as a chartered accountant and the first to set up practice on his own in Durban’s Victoria Street in 1966. At that stage, anyone who was not classified as white could only qualify as a CA overseas.

“Significant strides have been made over the years in the development of chartered accountants across the race groups, yet there is a critical shortage of black professionals,” said Ismail Patel, previously of Gcabashe and one of the four partners of Accensis, along with Naidoo, Vanesan Govender and Kiran Haribhai.

Statistics quoted by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants for 2014 show white males dominate the profession in KZN at 48,72% of the total (white women account for just over 16%), Asians for 30% and black professionals are at four percent.

Key directions for Accensis over the next 12 months will be to expand its client base in the public sector as well as into forensic accounting.

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