What's in demand in co-sourced accounting services

Accounting and Financial Advisory's Shaun Govender outlines four key areas their clients need help with.

Accounting and Financial Advisory (AFA) is an independent financial management consulting firm that spun off from a Deloitte division of the same name. The spin-off was to give the team the independence to approach a wider range of clients, unlimited by Deloitte’s current and potential audit relationships, and to grow the business accordingly. 

Shaun Govender, one of the directors at AFA says that since the consulting firm was registered, the majority of their consulting clients have requested services in four key areas that, taken together, give an overview of the most pressing accounting issues that finance teams are faced with in the current market. These areas include: 

Automation of Financials and XBRL
The submission of an annual XBRL statement isn’t a large amount of work, and responsibility generally rests in the secretarial space. However, this XBRL standardisation can be packaged with the automation of financials, making it easier to stay up to date with each year’s new requirements from the CIPC, and to avoid the fines levied for missing or late submissions. The automation of the annual financial statement preparation has been the fastest-growing product in AFA. The tools currently used are CasWare and DraftWorx. The process is to utilise the previous final set of AFS and create an automated version in the AFS using an automation tool. This then helps the client to remove the need for casting and cross-casting coupled with the reduction of time spent on audit adjustments. Shaun noted that more and more companies are coming to the realisation that a qualified chartered accountant should be utilised in analysing of the numbers in the annual financial statements rather than performing a preparation role on manual labour intensive tools like MS Excel and MS Word. 

The policies and procedures of finance 
Shaun explains that often, individuals within finance will have assumed responsibility for certain tasks, and will have their own processes and spreadsheets for dealing with them. If that person moves on, the remaining team might not know what the steps are, or where the supporting documentation lives. 

AFA therefore helps organisations move these roles and tasks into a process environment. They also map the processes with Microsoft Visio, which creates a flow diagram of tasks and responsibilities within an organisation. This then helps the client re-engineer their process to remove control deficiencies and implement an automation strategy to reduce manual processes. 

Flexible resourcing 
Many organisations don’t require certain finance resources throughout the full year, but rather only during high volumes example during budgeting, half year or year-end reporting. AFA has in excess of 110 CAs(SA) nationally that can be allocated as experienced resources to organisations during crunch time. The deliverables are performed as a managed solution to the client via an AFA delivery methodology like Audit Readiness or Annual Year End Intervention team.

IFRS 16 
This new leasing standard came into effect this 1 January 2019. While most companies have created a workaround in MS Excel, this is a short-term solution and amendments or complexities in leases will reflect the MS excel weaknesses. AFA uses a tool called Nomos One, which was created in New Zealand, to assist clients with contract management. IFRS 16 was added and Shaun says it’s become a very effective tool in accounting for the leasing aspect of business. In fact, he’s seen that many companies who have developed in-house processes for IFRS 16 compliance come to realise that it is a short-term solution, and go looking for a fully comprehensive tool that covers the IFRS and the contract management in the next financial year because of the complexity of the changes and amendments to lease contracts. 

Given the way in which AFA deals with clients’ pain points and peak demand times, AFA employees always have the opportunity to work in high-pressure, high-expertise dynamic environments. Shaun shares how AFA is a fantastic place to work, for CAs(SA) with ambition and passion for what they do, and who want more than audit or monotonous or repetitive financial accounting. 

“We take skilled newly qualified accounting professionals, and put them on an accelerated growth journey. Our employees have the unique opportunity to be trained in our delivery methodologies and to work in varied industries and differing roles over a three- to six-month period where they gain a wealth of experience and insight. Since entering into the market, we have successfully delivered over 250 experienced finance resources  into the economy, in roles ranging from accountants to financial managers and financial directors.”