What does it mean to you that your colleagues have entrusted you with the position of Managing Partner?
I am humbled by the gesture demonstrated by my partners. I am excited to have been given the opportunity to lead the firm at a time when we are building a strong Pan African firm. I count it a blessing to be the managing partner. I see my role like that of a choir conductor ensuring the team works in harmony to achieve our purpose.
What would you like to have achieved by the end of your term as Managing Partner?
We have now grown our African footprint to cover 24 countries. The next step is to strengthen our institutional capability at the continent level to ensure that our client experience is consistent. Secondly, we are working on developing our leadership pipeline. We want to have a very strong cadre of leaders who will take the legacy forward in a better way. Thirdly, we are diversifying our service offering to have a strong advisory bias. Finally, we are working on diversifying our client base, by growing in private sector.
How would you describe your management and leadership styles?
I have a participative style. I believe that the team members need to be given a chance to contribute their views and talents in carrying the SNG legacy forward. My task is then to harmonise everybody’s input and effort to move the firm forward in the context of the vison that we have formulated.
What makes you tick or keeps you awake at night with respect to your position as Managing Partner?
Our objective of growing into the private sector.
How do you take part in mentoring others?
I work with managers that are excited and committed to the purpose and vison of the firm. I allocate to them strategic tasks that do not necessarily fall within their core area of responsibility which gives me an opportunity to mentor them and for them to grow their leadership skills
If you had to relate a couple of experiences, what would be the highs and what would be the lows of your working career?
The highlight is the formation of Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo, a merger of the two largest black accounting firms This is a ground-breaking move which changed the landscape of the accounting profession. It lead to other firms following in our footsteps. Last year we celebrated a collective legacy of being 30 years in business.
What accolades have you and your organisation received recently?
The firm has been recognised for various awards over the years:
- Top Women Awards: In 2014, we were recognised as the “Top Gender Empowered Company: Financial Award”
- BBQ Awards: Recognised as “Best Established Black Business Award”
- ABASA: Over the last eight years in succession, we have been recognised by ABASA for having produced the highest number of black chartered accountants in the medium firm category.
- International Accounting Bulletin Awards: In March 2013, the firm won a joint award for the most “Sustainable firm of the year” at the International Accounting Bulletin Awards.
- Oliver Empowerment Awards: In 2013, the firm won two Oliver Empowerment Awards for being a “Top Empowered Company” as well as a “Corporate Leadership Award”.
How has the firm fared in terms of achieving its business growth objectives?
We were fortunate that soon after formation of SNG we were awarded one of the largest audit assignments in the country being the audit of Transnet. We are progressing very well in gaining large clients in the private sector.
Through what means does the organisation ensure that the firm maintains high level of ethics and integrity?
Our value system puts integrity at the heart of what we do. Our recruitment processes ensure that we hire people of integrity. Our risk department runs annual updates for the firm on professional ethical behaviour.
Is transformation considered a key objective at the firm, and if so, how is it attended to?
As a black firm, transformation is embedded in what we do. We do not approach it from a compliance and competitive point of view, but from a necessity point of view.
Kindly highlight some recent contributions by the firm to the community.
We recognise the communities that we come from and realise that we have to lift as we climb. We are actively involved in Thuthuka so much so that we have an extensive bursary scheme that supports close to 100 students at any point in time.
What contribution has your firm made to the accounting profession?
I have been on the board of SAICA for the last nine years and served as vice chairman for two of those years. I am currently the chairman of the Senior Partners’ Forum. This is a forum of CEO’s of accounting firms which engages on emerging issues that affect the profession. My fellow partners are active in various industry bodies like Institute of Internal Auditors.
How does the firm ensure that professionalism and good customer service are upheld?
We have a well-defined holistic framework of client service delivery. We induct our people on the framework and we use it to measure performance and to incentivise them.