Ruwynne Smith is a legend in the Saiba community, not least for the years of toil and excellent service delivered to his clients. Now he has another reason to celebrate: he is one of Saiba’s newly minted Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs), and he sees this as the door to double the size of his business over the next year.

“My business has already doubled since the start of Covid,” he says, “but I think the real growth starts now. The public respect and visibility you command when you can put the words ‘Business Rescue Practitioner’ after your name is immense.”

Smith was a hit among the Saiba members present at the Practice Management Conference last week, many of them wanting to know whether they, too, should become licenced BRPs.

Ruwynne Smith of Smith & Company Administrative Consultants is now a licensed business rescue practitioner

“The most common question is what fees can you charge, and that’s the good part. You can charge R15,000 a day up to R25,000 depending on your seniority as a BRP. But in truth, as an accountant, I have been doing business rescue for years. Only I was doing it for SMEs with limited budgets, now I am doing it as part of a team of liquidators or lawyers, and my income is not dependent on the very limited budgets of an SME. For example, our most recent assignment was to assist with the lodgement of the business rescue proceeding and appointment of business rescue practitioner of a mining company.”

Smith has been an accountant in practice for the best part of two decades, and built up a thriving practice with six employees. The Saiba BRP licence is a game changer: “As accountants we have incredible knowledge of accounts, debits and credits, tax and how to properly manage a company. But we are often seen as little more than bookkeepers. Once you have a BRP licence, it opens doors to other professionals who recognise your value as an accountant.

“We’re often dealing with lawyers who understand the Companies Act and business rescue procedures, but they don’t understand accounts or tax, or compliance and secretarial issues. Part of the work that we do is secretarial – we take minutes of the meetings, and we ensure that the correct processes are followed.”

Smith studied for the Saiba BRP licence in 2020, and in 2021 applied to the CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) for accreditation as a business rescue practitioner. To be licensed by the CIPC you need five years’ experience or proof that you have five years practive in the industry. “I was able to show that I have been involved in company rescues through my normal accounting work, and this accelerated me getting recognised by the CIPC,” says Smith.

“There’s another point to bear in mind: tens of thousands of businesses in SA are under some kind of distress at the moment. We can roll up our sleeves and make a huge contribution to the upliftment of the country. My advice to my fellow Saiba members: get licensed as a BRP and use your networks to the maximum effect.”

You can find out more about Saiba specialist licenses here.