BDO will be bigger and better after Grant Thornton merger

BDO South Africa will be merging with the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth offices of Grant Thornton, effective 1 March 2018.

According to Mark Stewart, BDO South Africa CEO (pictured), the merger is a key part of the firm's business strategy, both in South Africa and globally. A larger firm will be better able to take advantage of mandatory audit firm rotation (MAFR) and market concentration, Stewart noted.

He said:

"We are in a unique position in South Africa right now. There is increased focus on the profession relating to transformation and market concentration. I think one needs to be of a reasonable size to be appealing to audit committees. Our experience is that audit committees want to adopt MAFR, and to benefit from this, we need to be a credible size."

According to Stewart, the merger talks have taken the better part of a year to conclude. Transformation is one of the firm's major objectives in this process, he said. "We want to attract great talent and give people opportunities in the firm. A bigger firm that allows multi-disciplinary activities will be more attractive to candidates from the AIC group."

Many of the partners and staff who are part of the merger are former BDO employees, and as such bring with them their BDO history and values. In this regard, culture and the alignment thereof are very important, Stewart said, and special effort will be put into ensuring that any differences are identified and understood.

Stewart said:

"We believe that this will strongly complement and strengthen our culture."

The merged firm will offer 413 professional staff, including 35 partners and directors, across both Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, bringing BDO's total staff complement to just over 1,000 employees. Services offered include the full spectrum of professional services including Audit, Company Secretarial, Business Services and Advisory, Corporate Finance, Cyber Lab, Economic Incentives, HR Advisory, Internal Audit and Forensics, Legal Services, Risk Advisory, Tax, Tech Advisory, and Wealth Advisory.