KPMG SA continues efforts to rebuild its reputation

09 December 2019 2 min. read
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KPMG has made yet another push towards rebuilding its profile in the South African market, through the appointment of two new Independent Directors to its board. The firm’s CEO Ignatius Sehoole has revealed that it appears to have turned the corner with respect to its reputation in the country. 

In an interview with The Independent, Sehoole revealed that the firm is no longer viewed with suspicion in the market, primarily as a result of the changes that have been made at the firm in the last two years. Sehoole himself was a part of this change, having taken the reins in May this year as part of a fresh start.

Sehoole’s appointment was accompanied by a number of other changes made through this year. In March, the Big Four accounting and advisory firm released a report that detailed a new structure and culture, which had a number of additional checks in place to prevent malpractice and other pitfalls.

KPMG SA continues efforts to rebuild its reputation

According to Sehoole. These changes are taking effect. “The market is beginning to acknowledge and accept the changes that we have made,” he said, adding that clients no longer view working with KPMG as “taking a risky bet by doing business with us. Everyone is also concerned about their own reputation.” 

He adds that a true testament to the firm’s new chapter has been its practice of shedding some contracts and refusing other clients, in a bid to remain as risk free as possible.

“In that process we are probably seen to be quite schizophrenic. We lost quite a number of clients so we are in a space where it is expected that we are looking for more. We are heartened by the fact that our remedial actions are starting to be recognized in the important quarters, by old and new clients, industry bodies, government and by civil society,” he added.

A major part of the firm’s new practices has been the renewed independence of its board. Bloomberg reports that the firm has taken yet another step in this direction through the appointment of Imogen Mkhize and Ben Marx to its board of non-executive directors. Mkhize is an Executive Director at the Solegna Group, while Marx is a professor of accounting at the University of Johannesburg.