Cameron & Prentice, the Cape Town member of Russell Bedford International, has merged with G.G. West & Company. The merger brings two more partners - Shaun Fisher and Boryana Mintcheva - and some 25 additional personnel, who have joined C&P's four partners and 50 staff at their offices in the suburb of Pinelands.
“By merging these two firms Cameron & Prentice will enhance capacity, improve turnaround times, be better able to keep up with changes in legislation and take on larger audits. In short, we will benefit all round,” says David Warneke, tax partner at C&P.
“The combined team will be a blend of experience and youth where the partners will work very closely together and actively practice the concept of knowledge sharing. Quality and value are the key differentiators in the current market – firms that invest in their resources and training to ensure that they consistently deliver good service will see growth. The shared cultures of the two firms, which include a total commitment to all clients, excellence, integrity and experience will ensure that our clients receive the highest standards of service,” adds David.
According to David, this merger reflects a global industry trend towards mergers, which is being replicated in South Africa, where there are now increasing signs of consolidation.
The South African accounting industry has seen much change recently, with the new JSE regulations that require firms to have at least three audit partners as well as an International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) advisor in house or under contract, putting strain on smaller firms.
These regulations also require auditors of listed companies to be listed on the JSE register of auditors as well as with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), and compliance with these requirements is onerous.
Further to this, the draft Companies Bill, which proposes exemption to small businesses from painstaking financial reporting and audits, will have a large impact on smaller audit firms, forcing them to rethink their structures and whether they will move away from, or towards, auditing.
Finally, but not least, the current skills shortage being felt by the industry places another huge pressure on firms as finding and retaining quality staff has become a major challenge.
All of these factors have seemingly led to an increase in mergers in South Africa in recent months. Industry professionals are predicting that within the next few years South Africa will see a powerful shift in the accounting industry as smaller firms and sole practitioners merge in order to remain compliant with legislation and also offer clients a better service.
“There are manifold benefits to mergers. They allow smaller firms to have access to a larger pool of skills. In addition, they unlock value inherent in the separate firms. Cameron and Prentice as well as G.G. West & Company are confident and optimistic at the prospects of beginning a new era as a combined firm under the Cameron and Prentice banner, with all round benefits to staff and clients alike,” concludes David Warneke.
For further information, contact David Warneke on +27 21 530 8444.
Established in 1983, Russell Bedford International is a global network of independent accountancy firms, business consultants and specialist legal advisers.
Ranked as one of the world's top 15 accounting networks, Russell Bedford is represented by some 460 partners, 5000 staff and 200 offices in more than 70 countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
All Russell Bedford affiliates are well-established firms offering international business advice and services to local and multinational clients. Most provide a full range of services comprising accounting, auditing, tax advice, general business guidance and financial consulting. In addition, many have special expertise in particular fields, such as international taxation or information technology.
In January 2008 Russell Bedford International (russellbedford.com) was been named one of the first 17 full members of the IFAC Forum of Firms after reporting it has implemented a globally coordinated quality assurance programme, committed to the use of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), and met other specific ethics requirements.