Responding to the Needs of the Market
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Callum Philp
After benefitting from a successful global rebrand in 2013, EY Namibia is aligning with the wider, internationally renowned financial Group’s Vision 2020 in a bid to become the most integrated assurance and advisory Company in the world.
Starting business in Namibia in 1956 and adopting a variety of names in the past seven decades - most recently known as Ernst & Young - EY has grown from a small practice offering limited assurance services, into a fully-fledged division of EY Group; with more than 80 employees and five partners. The first to introduce a dedicated tax service line in the country in 1996, EY Namibia quickly expanded its service offering in line with the increasing demand for tax advisory and compliance services.
“Namibia’s economic growth began to dictate the need to address more sub-service focus areas, so we created several value-add offerings to add to our repertoire, including fraud investigation and dispute services (FIDS), internal auditing and transaction advisory services,” comments Cameron Kotze, Managing Partner of EY Namibia.
With a newly rejuvenated brand and Vision 2020 approach, EY Namibia has ambitious growth plans to develop its people and better position itself to replicate the same high standards offered by EY globally; partially driven by a series of recent acquisitions in the local market along with other continuous improvement goals.
“One of our distinguishing factors is our ability to align with the multinational companies (MNCs) that operate in various markets around the world, strategically setting up our operations in the best locations in order to best serve their needs. As a result, the EY Group now has a presence on every continent around the world, including operations spanning the entire African continent,” Kotze says.
He further details: “By looking at what motivates us each day, it became clear that we needed a strategy that contributes to our vision of ‘building a better world’. This became the Group’s tagline, with every audit, every tax return, every valuation and every interaction helping our clients fulfil their purposes and contribute to building a better working world themselves.”
In support of this positive attitude to innovative service delivery, EY Namibia has taken a closer look at refining its policies and identifying key market trends that will be mutually beneficial. As many African governments, including Namibia’s, are under pressure to spend their available funds in the most effective way possible, EY is bolstering its assurance, FIDS and tax services so as to meet this market requirement.
Similarly in the private sector, companies doing business in Namibia are being careful with spending as commodity prices remain under pressure. “Therefore, we need to find a variety of ways to help clients reach optimal efficiency and right now, we are seeing a big demand in the advisory space, so we are looking closely at how we can grow in regards to better process improvement, as well as expanding our internal audit client base.
“Another area where we are seeing growth is in the IT risk advisory services sector. Companies are going digital, which is increasing demand for data analytics and other services in the technology space,” Kotze says.
By further diversifying its product offering, EY Namibia is able to gain practical insights into the methodologies needed to continue to foster healthy growth. “This forward-thinking strategy stems from the Group’s ‘Growing Beyond’ initiative, by finding new ways to be innovative and gain a practical insight into topics such as globalisation and entrepreneurship,” he explains.
Despite the challenging economic environment felt around the world, opportunities are still plentiful for companies to move or expand into new markets. Part of EY Namibia’s strategy is to assist those companies who are looking to enter a specific territory with access to a variety of information that makes their decision easier, allowing the organisation to create a better business model to enter the country in question.
“Complementing this is our Africa tax centre and Africa payroll hub that we offer to MNCs, the former co-ordinates our service delivery and the latter renders services to MNCs so they can outsource their payroll function to the hub. We are seeing many companies taking up our offering when they move into Africa for ease of doing business,” Kotze highlights.
Not only do EY Namibia’s clients benefit from its vision for growth, but many internal processes are now in place to improve connectivity and interaction with all divisions around the world, having made significant investment in technology solutions as a Group to make sure that the client gets the best solution as quickly as possible.
Kotze notes: “In the fall of 2014, we began rolling out EY Canvas, our new audit tool that has replaced our old audit support platform. The global network made an investment of more than US$400 million to implement this, with the ultimate goal to improve audit quality and project management methodologies.
“EY Canvas is enhancing audit quality and performance by better aligning the significant risks identified during an audit with the audit procedures that address those risks, and by enabling our teams to better tailor audit procedures to the specific characteristics of the entity being audited.”
Striving for a superior audit quality, EY is committed to creating solutions that address the investing public’s demands, while rendering its exceptional client service levels with a growing team of quality and multidisciplinary staff. “People are at the centre of our organisation and will be key to future-proofing the Company and driving efficiencies. Our ambitions have led us to keep on retaining top local talent that can deliver the high performance levels befitting an international organisation,” he further details.
Since the rebranding activities two years ago, EY is now able to share Group synergies on its way to achieving Vision 2020 goals.
Kotze concludes: “We want to be seen as the most distinctive professional services organisation, making sure each country practice does its part to help reach - and even exceed - this status.
“We want to make sure we have the best brand globally, country-by-country, become the most favoured employer, grow faster than our competitors in our chosen markets and enjoy market-leading growth as a reward for adding scale to our business and meeting our bold ambitions.”