Saiba is proud to announce a strategic alliance with Mazars, which opens up vast new opportunities for Saiba members.
Saiba CEO Nicolaas van Wyk says one of the key benefits for Saiba members is the ability to tackle tasks of any size or complexity. “It means never having to say ‘No’ to a client,” says van Wyk. “The alliance with Mazars means members no longer have to turn work away due to the size of the task, complexity, or regulatory issues.”
The alliance will also be a source of cross-referrals for both parties. As the agreement states: “They (alliances) provide a place to turn when a smaller firm cannot accommodate a service because it is too small, too big, or too specialised.
“Bringing in new clients is a top priority for accounting firms. However, you may not have the resources to support a new client and as a result may not accept the new appointment. Similarly, a client may ask for a service that your firm cannot provide due to resource constraints, lack of expertise in that area, or a statutory prohibition such as with audits.
“Strategic alliances offer a solution to this problem as they offer you with the ability to provide a wide range of services to your clients.”
The Saiba Strategic Alliance initiative offers members access to specialised services with Saiba overseeing the B2B relationship created between a large audit and advisory practice (LAAP), in this case Mazars Central, and Saiba Small and Medium Practices (SSMP).
Typical structures that are expected to develop from the alliance include:
- Special projects and engagements: Contract with another firm to conduct a particular service
directly for your client.
- Joint ventures: Work with another firm by dividing the scope of work into specific pieces. For
example, if your firm doesn’t perform audits, you could subcontract the audit portion of the
engagement to an LP. They would have separate engagement letters with the client and render their own invoices.
- “Just‐in‐Time” consulting: Use the resources of a firm as if they were yours and have the firm bill you, not the client.
Strategic alliances should not be confused with accounting associations. Firms in these associations will typically share ideas and resources on issues of practice management and may work in joint venture on specific engagements. They provide members with a strong support system that can help firms compete. They are peer‐to‐peer groups, usually requiring minimum size and service requirements for entry, with members strategically recruited in various geographic regions.
What Saiba Small and medium practices need to consider
Saiba will require it’s SSMP to perform the following steps prior to joining the alliance:
- Conduct an analysis of your firm.
- Define goals and objectives for your firm.
- Consider if your firm can benefit from the SAIBA Strategic Alliance (SSA).
- Apply to be part of the SSA demonstrating quality and professionalism.
- Submit a “Request for contact” from within your online SAIBA member profile.
- Engage directly with MAZARS Central to determine the scope and nature of the specific services required.
Consider the Saiba Strategic Alliance
Your choice of strategic partners is critical. How do you begin to seek out firms that you can associate with on a long‐term basis?
Consider how you are currently working with bigger firm. Typically, firms that are actively involved are forward thinkers who may be open to just such an arrangement. You may already be acquainted with these firms and simply need to start a dialog.
You can impose many criteria in determining which firm will provide the best match for you and your clients. Issues such as billing rates, location, experience, and range of services are all important.
Saiba will require you to apply to become part of the SSA. This is just to ensure that you understand the nature of the relationship and the role of each party.
The SSA is only for serious practices that want to expand their client reach and increase the revenue through working with a bigger firm.
You will be expected to actively engage with a support the SSA as a strategic element of your own firm.
The basis of the SSA is skills transfer and opportunity sharing, and as such being part of the SSA will mean that you will have to contribute to the development of future accountants via sponsorships paid to the SAIBA Empowerment Fund for African Accountants (EFAA).
List of services
The following is a list of typical services that the SSMP can request from Mazars Central:
• Accounting services
• Payroll services
• Assurance services including Audit, independent reviews and agreed upon procedures
• Oversight and quality reviews on accounting
• Preparation of financial statements and oversight there of
• Preparation of financial statements and files for auditors of schools
• General business consulting and guidance
• Tax services including consulting
• Consulting services such as business plans, financial planning and structuring, Optimize,etc.
• Estate planning and administration.
Becoming a Strategic Alliance Firm
Membership to the Saiba Strategic Alliance is limited to participating firms and all firms will be required to contribute to the Saiba Empowerment Fund for African Accountants (EFAA). The function of EFAA is to source sponsorships and grants to fund the development and upskilling of unemployed graduates and place them in accounting firms. Donation to the Empowerment Fund for African Accountants (EFAA).
It is also a requirement that Mazars Central commit to skills transfer to SSMP and allow them to actively participate in complex engagements.
For more information, contact your Saiba consultant.