Partnering For The Better – Pioneering International Audit Collaboration (Accensis & Buzzacott)

Talent Development
February 9, 2023 - Accensis Chartered Accountants (SA) and Registered Auditors, Buzzacott

This is a thought leadership article from PrimeGlobal member firm Accensis regarding their collaboration with member firm Buzzacott on outsourcing auditing from the UK to South Africa.

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Outsourcing Collaboration Audit

It's estimated that around 37% of businesses outsource either accounting or IT services work. But what about accountants outsourcing amongst themselves?

Outsourcing to more-than-capable African nations is a new trend we are happy to see. As global competition raises the barrier to entry, international companies have seen our excellent work, and South Africa recognises Accensis' expertise.

In a new innovative move, Accensis's audit team has pioneered a new way of working with companies and people from all walks of life with a similar vision of the future.

In recent months Accensis had the chance to work alongside their PrimeGlobal colleagues in the United Kingdom, Buzzacott LLP. The Buzzacott team was looking for additional audit staff from late September to November 2022, and they were keen to work with another PrimeGlobal firm who shares the same values and cultural alignment. The two different audit environments catalyzed the joint success in this endeavor and the collaboration has continued into 2023.

Like many other workplaces, Buzzacott and Accensis have adopted hybrid or remote working opportunities, removing the limitations of a permanent location.

Muhammad Umar Karim
"You do not need to leave SA to gain the necessary skills and teachings of the international sphere. Business leaders should focus their time on their business and growing their business to the next level while knowing that their accounting is being taken care of by experts through the use of outsourcing" Muhammad Umar Karim, Director at Accensis

Accensis Director Muhammad Umar Karim further elaborated that "Project Management” was a key element in this engagement.

They had weekly project management meetings between the leaders of both teams which proved fruitful and useful, and benefited all parties involved.

Accensis audit consultant Ntobeko Mzobe shared his insight, stating that Accensis staff got to further their knowledge, by working with clients in the education and NGO sectors.

"It's something new for the both of us. We just had some challenges in terms of the systems. It was a big learning curve. As time went by, it became easier. It's important to note that Buzzacott's audit strategy is different to ours in South Africa, which was a big learning curve for me," said Ntobeko.

Advising other seniors in the field, Ntobeko would hope that others jump at new opportunities to grow.

"There is a lot of exposure they will get from the clients. The international standards that they learn will challenge them, in the end making them a better accountant," he said.

Audit trainee Shabnum Hassim felt overwhelmed at first but eased into the role as the audits progressed.

"As a trainee, I didn't really think that I would be personally working on any international audits."

Shabnum felt like Buzzacott helped her transition well into their style of work.

"Being one of my first audits I was still trying to understand, and figure out what I am doing. However, my seniors over at Buzzacott really explained everything in detail like 'this is why we do these sets of testing' or 'this is why we are following this procedure' – it really helped," she said.

Ebrahim Kaloo, another trainee on the project, believes that this opportunity not only gave him exposure to new work but gained a whole newfound appreciation for working with various diverse teams.

"Buzzacott were really, really friendly people and helpful. This job and the wonderful people at Buzzacott really helped me grow as an individual and a trainee," said Ebrahim.

Accensis' colleagues at Buzzacott commented that whilst there were some initial challenges around IT access and data security as well as the differences in audit approach, regular communication and feedback between the manager and partner teams helped to resolve these. Accensis adjusted their working day to match UK hours in order to facilitate effective collaboration and Buzzacott appreciated the enthusiasm of the Accensis team during a very busy period. Both teams hope that this relationship will continue in the future.

For Accensis, as a firm in South Africa, this was an incredible opportunity to collaborate with another firm overseas. This has brought about a wealth of international experience for their staff and an immense appreciation for gaining a deeper understanding in the world of remote outsourced audits.

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Accensis Chartered Accountants (SA) is rewriting the way business perceives non-core financial services. We have developed a highly capable team experienced in the seamless migration of back-office processes from an organization, to enable our clients to better focus on their deliverables. Accensis people have one key objective. This is to enable clients to focus on their deliverables with absolute assurance that non-core business activities are operating at optimal efficiencies. Complying with the statutory, legal, banking and tax requirements when investing in South Africa can be extremely difficult. At Accensis we are able to guide foreign investors to establish their businesses in South Africa with:

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At Buzzacott we are trusted for the experience we have, the specialisms we understand, the relationships we build and the values we live by. We define ourselves by the needs of our clients, large and small, and we work hard to build and maintain relationships that are personal, collaborative and enduring – to be a partner you can trust. We blend pragmatism and front-line experience with the insightful knowledge of an industry leader. Our 400+ staff work cooperatively in specialist teams under one roof to tailor-make solutions for you. We’re big enough to display deep knowledge over a broad range of specialisms, and small enough to understand the power of personal connections.

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