PKF South Africa appoints new chairman
22 Jun 2018
PKF South Africa announces the appointment with effect from 1 June 2018 of Theo Vermaak (CA SA) as chairman, replacing incumbent Kevin Gertenbach. The latter remains a partner of PKF Durban and member of the PKF Africa Board. Vermaak was also previously the Africa Regional Director of PKF International was elected to one of the top leadership posts of the global accounting profession - Chair of the Forum of Firms.
PKF South Africa chairpersons are traditionally elected from the managing partners of the PKF members in South Africa.
“The intention with the appointment is to bring in a chair that is independent from any one PKF firm, essentially to provide an outsider's perspective,” explains Vermaak. PKF’s focus in recent years has been re-establishing a credible national footprint, and the new chairman’s role is a more strategic one, looking to the future with an appropriate focus on enhanced risk management, quality and ethics.
Vermaak brings deep experience in the international context, having previous employment with PKF International, expertise he will contribute to the South African network to optimise the benefits of being members of PKF International.
PKF South Africa has experienced rapid growth in recent years. “With growth comes the need to reassess the way things are. Firms that have joined in the network provide a fresh perspective and I believe it is healthy to pause and ensure we are doing the right things. Our growth and new membership has resulted in greater critical mass, opened up new opportunities, introduced much-needed diversity - but has also increased resource requirements,” adds Vermaak.
“Our philosophy has been to get strong firms of the right size, rather than just putting multiple dots on a map. All the new PKF firms have been fully integrated into the national structures, and have adopted common methodologies, systems and values. All share a focus on owner-managed businesses, and nationally, we are present in key locations. This places PKF in a competitive position to serve a particular clientele all around the country. Shared training and quality assurance systems go a long way towards creating consistent client experiences wherever we are.”
Vermaak takes the helm at an undoubtedly trying time for the profession, a factor which requires the head of any leading accounting and audit firm to have one eye on the reputation of the broader profession as much as on his or her individual firm.
“In that context, my vision is to position PKF to be an obvious choice of business adviser to the owner-managed market, and to be a compelling choice as employer for talented and passionate people looking for opportunity to grow. We will continue doing those things PKF has always done well: selectively growing our presence; continuing enhancing national structures and systems. We need to better address the opportunities and real threats from technology, and to better leverage our joint experience in specialised areas and specific industries. While doing so, we need to work tirelessly to improve quality and exhibit faultless ethics. I would like to see PKF contributing to the efforts that are needed to restore faith in the profession in South Africa,” asserts Vermaak.