It gives me great pleasure to be speaking to you about our latest integrated report, as the newly appointed CEO of PwC in Southern Africa.
I take over this role from Dion Shango at a time when the audit profession is undergoing deep introspection. After many years of being ranked as the world’s number one nation when it comes to auditing and reporting standards, South Africa’s reputation has been tarnished by the string of recent corporate scandals, with auditors standing accused of failing to spot the potential for corporate failings or accounting scandals. The extent to which this is warranted, or can be described as an audit profession failure rather than a wider business issue, is open to some debate. What is clear, is that the profession has work to do in rebuilding and regaining this lost trust.Through this report we have an opportunity to be open and frank with all our stakeholders in detailing how PwC is supporting efforts to restore trust in the profession.
We also wish to demonstrate how we’re fulfilling our purpose of building trust in society and solving important problems, by contributing to the greater societal purpose. We do this because we’re a values-driven organisation, with a vested interest in a functioning economy and strict governance standards. We understand that we have a role to play in being part of the solution.
Having been with PwC for the best part of two decades, I’m in the fortunate position of understanding the firm, and knowing the challenges - and opportunities - it faces. I have an opportunity and a responsibility to make decisions that are going to be in the interests of the firm, both in the short and long term. At the end of my four-year term I expect to be held accountable. While supporting the firm’s Africa strategy, my priorities are slightly different. Helping our service delivery teams to strengthen already existing relationships and establish new ones; accelerating the adoption of Salesforce to maximise our market opportunities; focusing on continued compliance in our internal processes; and enhancing PwC’s role in improving the performance of state-owned companies. These are important aspects of my go-to-market strategy that will hopefully be reported on favourably next year.
Understanding the rapidly changing nature of our profession, focus areas will continue to evolve; however, some remain unchanged. I am passionate about the development of dedicated and eager professionals who will take our firm into the future. In the same way, succession planning is crucial and something I’m going to make sure is planned for well, at all management levels.
Mine is an agile, inclusive and transparent leadership style. My strong focus on diversity, inclusion and employment equity remains unchanged. These are non-negotiables no matter where in the world you operate, but more so in Southern Africa.We’re not where we need to be in this regard, and I hope to be able to positively influence this..
The South African environment is a unique one, with unique factors to be taken into consideration. As I said, my perspective is a long-term one, and in addition to the external focus areas just mentioned, I also have great aspirations for our people at PwC. At the end of my four-year term. I would like to have contributed to PwC in South Africa becoming the undisputed number-one professional services firm, with quality and profitable clients, as well as quality people who are digitally fit. I look forward to realising this vision.
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