Ngubane, RSM merger creates tech-based accounting firm

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 24 Jul 2023
Current RSM South Africa CEO Dieter Schulze, who will take on the role of regional CEO, and Noma Ashom, incoming CEO of RSM South Africa.
Current RSM South Africa CEO Dieter Schulze, who will take on the role of regional CEO, and Noma Ashom, incoming CEO of RSM South Africa.

South African professional services firm Ngubane Johannesburg is to merge with RSM South Africa, a provider of assurance, tax and consulting services to middle-market businesses globally.

The combined company will be called RSM South Africa, and the merger will complete on 1 August.

The new merged firm will tap into technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and data analytics, to offer accounting services.

With annual billings in excess of R300 million and around 400 staff, RSM South Africa believes the merger will accelerate both businesses’ ambitions to drive growth through technology and sector specialisms. It will have offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Ngubane’s existing CEO designate, Noma Ashom, is to become the new CEO of RSM South Africa. Current RSM South Africa CEO Dieter Schulze will take on the role of regional CEO of the combined firm’s Cape Town team and will remain head of tax.

Schulze tells ITWeb via e-mail that in an evolving digital environment, technology has been advancing at breakneck speed, and is ultimately transforming the way businesses are run and will continue to do so for many years to come.

“RSM’s technology-driven model has led to the successful utilisation of solutions such as cloud computing, data analytics, AI, automation and blockchain. These technologies are designed to optimise processes, yield impactful insights and facilitate proactive decision-making for our clients, thereby significantly enhancing service quality and efficiency.

“Our continuous pursuit of digital transformation stems from our understanding of the critical role technology plays in the future of assurance, tax and consulting services.”

Describing the challenges local accountants are facing in regards to the use of tech, Schulze points to training and education. He says the rapid pace of technological advancement can leave a skills gap in its wake for many middle-market businesses, as understanding and proficiency in new systems become essential.

“For many independent accounting firms, while this is necessary, it can also be resource-intensive.”

The other challenge is the cost of technology implementation, he notes, saying new technologies, especially advanced systems like AI and machine learning, can be expensive to purchase and implement.

“Beyond the upfront costs, there are also ongoing expenses for maintenance, updates and possible system integration requirements that may strain financial resources of local accounting firms, particularly smaller ones.

“For local accounting firms which provide traditional compliance services, the introduction of new technologies often means a change in established workflows. This can encounter resistance from employees who are used to traditional methods, creating a challenge for firms to manage change effectively.”

He says technology in accounting is not static. “It's continually evolving, and new tools and systems are regularly emerging. For local accounting firms, keeping up-to-date with these changes, understanding their potential impact, and knowing when and how to adopt new tech can be challenging.”

On the impact of technologies such as AI in the industry, Schulze comments: “At the heart of our industry are the accountants themselves.

“AI is not replacing these critical roles but instead amplifying their abilities, providing the tools to turn data into strategic insights. It's enabling professionals to go beyond number-crunching, and being strategic advisors to the businesses we support. By embracing this change, we’re fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation.”