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KPMG South Africa announces further steps to accelerate change and rebuild public trust

KPMG South Africa Announcement

KPMG South Africa Announcement


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Since last September, KPMG has already taken significant steps to change the firm. These include changes to governance, to leadership, significant changes to improve quality and risk management and to our client portfolio and the work we do in the market.

We recognise that each of these measures can only be part of our continuous effort to rebuild public trust. The departure from the firm this week of two partners, as part of the ongoing investigation by Bowmans into events at VBS, is a reminder how much more needs to be done to reaffirm the public’s trust in KPMG.

We are putting quality and integrity at the heart of our mission. Everything we do – in terms of the business we do, the clients we work with, and how we do our business – will be shaped by how they serve these two principles.

As part of this, we are implementing the following immediate additional steps:

  1. Integrity – we have commenced an expanded process of Integrity and background checks of all partners (and their spouses/partners). The process will be coordinated by KPMG International using the expertise of an external firm and the findings will be reported directly to the Board Quality and Risk committee.
  2. Quality – a new programme of extensive quality file reviews has commenced and will run over the next several weeks. These reviews will cover all audit partners. This programme will be in addition to other internal and external reviews that have been carried out to date. The purpose of this new programme is to assess the commitment to quality and professionalism of our engagement teams. These reviews will be conducted by experienced KPMG partners from elsewhere in our network and will be overseen by a board committee of majority independent non-executive directors.
  3. Governance – we will appoint additional non-executives on the Board to ensure that independent scrutiny is built into the DNA of the firm at the highest level.
  4. Implementing a “Speak Up” programme. This is an immediate, expanded initiative that will sit alongside normal whistle-blowing policies. We will be encouraging colleagues over the next 30 days to speak up if they believe they have any information of relevance to the quality and integrity of the firm’s work.

In addition to the immediate steps outlined above, we intend to make further changes to our business. We are well-advanced in thinking through these and expect to communicate further in the coming weeks.

KPMG South Africa chairman Wiseman Nkuhlu commented:

“We recognise that we have damaged the trust of key stakeholders and that further and deeper changes are needed to regain that trust. We must reassure the public and our clients that we are totally committed to the standards they expect. The initiatives we are announcing today, taken with extensive measures already underway, will help restore the reputation KPMG previously enjoyed. We have a responsibility and a duty to rebuild the firm, and the leaders of the firm will stand together to achieve this.”

KPMG South Africa chief executive Nhlamulo Dlomu commented:

“We realise that to build a KPMG that we and South Africa can be proud of, one that has quality and integrity at its heart, we must be prepared to adopt and embrace significant change to our culture and partner conduct. Some of the steps we are taking are not easy, but we are in a position where such measures are unavoidable requirements to rebuild trust. We are more resolved than ever to take the necessary steps to restore the firm to health. And we will not hesitate to act decisively when issues are identified.”

For all media related queries and concerns please contact:

Nqubeko Sibiya
Communications Manager
Marketing and Communications KPMG Services (Proprietary) Limited
Mobile: +27 (0) 76 991 5823

© 2020 KPMG Services (Pty) Limited, a South Africa private company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss cooperative. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity.  Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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