The SekelaXabiso brand, a result of a merger between two black owned accounting firms, was launched yesterday with a promise to reinforce South Africa’s corporate governance muscle.
Resulting out of a merger between Sikela Consulting and Xabiso Chartered Accountants, the merged entity comes to take the position of being the second largest black owned accounting firm in the country and the sixth largest in the whole industry.
In a statement issued today, the company said the merger has brought into being one of the country’s largest accounting and auditing firm; one that has defined its goal as furthering good governance through providing best-practice internal audit services, external audit, forensic services and business consulting.
“The merger has given us the size we require to be able to specialise, as well as to offer existing clients a greater pool of expertise and experience” says SekelaXabiso Chairman, Abel Dlamini, formerly of Sekela. “Two strong, successful companies have come together to build on the unique strengths of both in order to create a new, even stronger entity.”
The statement said South Africa is widely regarded as having some of the best corporate governance guidelines in the world but, like the tenets of its progressive constitution, these need to be living principles in order to be meaningful. The challenge, of course, is how to achieve this.
The answer, perhaps, is deceptively simple: impeccable internal audit procedures. Yet even South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, has said that the critical role internal audit has to play in securing good governance is seldom acknowledged.
Speaking at the 15th National Internal Audit Conference in August, she emphasised the key role that internal audit has to play in doing just this: “Properly appreciated, auditors play a critical role in prevention and early detection of maladministration and other administrative maladies, including corruption and fraud.” And few would gainsay how urgent a necessity stringent internal auditing is in South Africa today.
With an impressive public sector client list that includes Transnet, Eskom, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), the Department of Public Works, Correctional Services, MIBFAR, and Royal Bafokeng and the Department of Arts and Culture, the new firm’s aim is to extend its reach in the public sector as well as to enter into the private sector as a significant and trusted provider.
“The merger comes as a response to the market need for consolidation and capacity,” saysCEOLindani Dhlamini, formerly of Xabiso Chartered Accountants. “Large corporations in particular want the assurances that only bigger firms can provide. So our objective in deciding to merge was to expand and to enable us to focus strongly on one area – and to have a meaningful impact in that area.”
Both Chairman and CEO take great pride in having established fully BEE-compliant and gender empowered companies, which have now joined together as an even greater expression of the principles defined in government’s BB-BEE policies. They are equally proud to have extended the options available to both public and private sector clients.
African in origin and spirit, SekelaXabiso, sees itself as part of the new vanguard that will create something even bigger.
With a staff complement of approximately 300 and an annual turnover in excess of R200 million and a vision of achieving a R1 billion turnover by 2020, SekelaXabiso is intent on re-defining the role that internal audit has to play in securing good governance in South Africa and beyond.