Finance Indaba 2016: Nkonki isn't your average external auditor

"We will be talking about the mandatory audit firm rotation and our views on the positive aspects and the focus on auditor independence, how companies can gear up when it does come into play and how we play a part in this as Nkonki,” says Mitesh Patel, Managing Partner of Nkonki, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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In the coming weeks and months, we will be chatting to all the Indaba partners, asking them why they are joining the event and what their most important message for finance professionals is.

Do you want to hear more about Nkonki's full range of services? Do you want to be informed about the latest and greatest in finance? Then don't miss the Finance Indaba Africa 2016.

Why will you be present at the Finance Indaba?
"There are a couple of reasons. The main one is for us to contribute to this intellectual databank of the entire finance community. By doing this, we are going to be showcasing our brand in terms of what services we can offer and also understand the concerns, trends and movements coming out of the finance community. As a firm, we want to be able to cater to their needs and provide appropriate service delivery."

What will you be talking about?
"From a stall perspective, delegates will be able to see our full range of services. This is our first formal introduction to the Finance Indaba so we want to showcase the entire brand. From a speaker perspective, we will be talking about the mandatory audit firm rotation and our views on the positive aspects and the focus on auditor independence, how companies can gear up when it does come into play and how we play a part in this as Nkonki."

What are the challenges you can help finance professionals with in 2016?
"We will look at the trends coming out of the Indaba and take them to our clients if it affects them. We need to understand the transformational aspects we need to get involved in so professionals have access to firms such as ours, including the Big Four. They need to understand what is out there for them, over and above the mindset that you can only go to the Big Four to become a chartered accountant - let us showcase the other black firms and second tiers and see the options they have. There is a stigma attached to professional firms like us, as we are seen solely as external auditors, but we actually have a wide range of services and get involved in a variety of expertise, including corporate finance, external and internal assurance, forensics, etc and look at skills available in the market."

How do you view transformation in the auditing sector?
"Transformation still has a long way to go in the auditing sector. Regulators have had their eye on the ball in terms of making sure that transformation is top of mind. From a firm perspective, they are all thinking about transformation. But transformation throws up a wide variety of challenges. It is not simply about hiring black candidates, but also about giving intellectual capital to those who join our firms. Black firms need this capital to get access to market so that we can develop people who are better equipped to service the industry."

Tell us about your graduate programme.
"Our graduate programme bas two facets. Firstly, we have our CTA academy for those studying towards the certification. We house them and give them lessons and tuition to prepare them for the exams. The second part is the hiring of trainees to do articles. We try to hire students who are CTAs, but also those who are studying towards it, because that is where the gap in the market is. We are the only type of firm that can grant opportunities to these students who may not be able to study further because of financial difficulties. We try to strike a balance here."