PKF South Africa announces the appointment of CEO, Butch Abbott, from 1 July 2015, with Kevin Gertenbach remaining in the role as Chairman of PKF South Africa and PKF Africa.
The appointment aims to facilitate future growth of the firm and to bed down a series of recent additions to the network.
As a returning partner, Abbott says that his first objective is to facilitate the integration of new firms that have joined the network over the past 12 months, which include two offices in Johannesburg (on the East and West Rands), as well as Knysna and Cape Town. These entities joined established PKF firms in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Welkom.
PKF South Africa required additional scale when its Johannesburg and Cape Town firms opted to merge with another accounting and auditing firm. Abbott himself was party to the merger and now returns to PKF in the recognition that the culture and niche of the PKF brand fills a sorely-needed vacuum within the South African business community.
"There is a definite need in this market among small and medium-sized companies wanting to list and access a new source of capital, but are apprehensive of the JSE because of the amount of regulation that goes with it," he says. PKF is perfectly poised to lead these companies to successful listing.
PKF South Africa Chairman, Kevin Gertenbach says while the regional network has enjoyed considerable expansion on the African continent - with the addition of three new firms and two new countries - South Africa's immediate emphasis this year has been to strengthen its core local network. PKF International has established its regional headquarters for Africa in Durban to support this process.
Abbott has 42 years' experience with PKF through its various incarnations. "Our objective is to build up the firm as rapidly, though selectively, as possible. The first target is to have 10 partners and 100 staff in a consolidated central Johannesburg office, and we're already almost there."
He says the need for an entrepreneurial firm such as PKF is greater than ever, with businesses needing assistance to take their growth to the "next level" and to manage the regulatory labyrinth, especially regarding black economic empowerment compliance. "Larger firms find it almost impossible to offer personal service to their owner-managed clients, while at the very core of PKF's family culture is our close client relationships. Smaller firms need personal attention and a hands-on approach that complements their own dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit," explains Abbott.
The consolidated Johannesburg office - as with the PKF firm in Port Elizabeth - has a strong commitment to the public sector, a market specialisation which is primarily driven by its consulting division, a business built on trust and a reputation for consistent, quality delivery.
Through the years, PKF in Durban and Port Elizabeth have retained their top-three status in their markets, and PKF is now close to re-establishing itself among the top 10 Gauteng offices.
While Abbott's immediate focus is on organic office consolidation and recruitment, he says this is by no means an end to additional expansion. "Our network firstly needs a strong Johannesburg presence, but we also have our eyes on a number of other dynamic firms that align with our network's culture and would facilitate a nationwide footprint."
The strength of the culture and partners within PKF International's network is evidenced by the appointment of Theo Vermaak, Africa Regional Director for PKF International, to the prestigious role of chairman of international body, Forum of Firms, an association of top global networks of accounting firms.
With the South African firms now numbering 37 partners, Abbott says its next target is to become the 8th-largest audit practice in South Africa.