Andersen Tax expands Africa presence with new member firm in Kenya

13 April 2018 Consultancy.africa

International professional services association Andersen Global has added yet another firm to its African operations, allowing it entry and access into the Kenyan consulting market. Nairobi-based consulting firm Nexus Business Advisory will now operate as an Andersen member firm. 

Andersen Global has been navigating a phase of expansion recently, particularly in Africa. The firm has a strong heritage in the world of tax and consulting, having evolved after the collapse of former Big Five accounting and advisory firm Arthur Andersen. The firm broke off as Andersen Tax in 2002, which was eventually incorporated into the Andersen Global international association of member firms, formed in 2013. 

Since its establishment, the fassociation has grown to operate in nearly 90 locations globally, employing more than 2,500 professionals. These locations stretch across North America and Europe primarily, in addition to lesser but nevertheless considerable presences in Latin America and the Middle East.

Up until earlier this year, the firm’s African presence was limited to two locations in Nigeria. However, the firm has recently demonstrated clear intentions to expand its operations on the continent by way of adding new member firms. In January this year, the firm collaborated with a Ugandan law firm by the name of Ligomarc, which will henceforth act as a member firm of the Andersen Global outfit and offer a foothold in Uganda and the surrounding regions.

Andersen Tax expands Africa presence with new member firm in Kenya

Now, the firm has further bolstered its operations in Eastern Africa, having signed an agreement with a Kenyan consulting firm by the name of Nexus Business Advisory. The boutique tax and financial advisory firm, which is based out of Nairobi, has been operational for more than 25 years.

Services offered by Nexus include support with mergers & acquisitions, due diligence, tax-advisory, investor support, structuring of employee compensation, litigation, tax audits, and even investigations. The firm is extensive in its operations, having conducted business in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda.

This extensive local infrastructure will combine well with Andersen’s international backing to serve the Kenyan market, which is currently in dire need of financial services. At a macro level, the country suffers from high levels of public debt, while at an individual level, recent studies have found that most people’s financial affairs are in dismal order, indicating a high-risk future if external help is not sought out.

Commenting on the move, Andersen Global CEO Mark VOrsarz said, “The launch of the Andersen name in East Africa is the next step in expanding and strengthening Andersen’s platform within this key market. The team in Kenya embodies the core values of our organisation including stewardship, seamless service and transparency. In addition, Philip is a member of the Andersen Global Advisory Council, where we partner to address the evolving needs of our global organisation, so I have a close working relationship and high level of trust with him.”

The new outfit will be led by Managing Partner Phillip Muema, who said of the development, “I appreciate the significance of working with like-minded partners around the globe, and our time with Andersen both as a collaborating firm and now as a member firm has demonstrated a shared commitment to providing best-in-class service. The launch of the Andersen name in Kenya heralds a new dawn for the tax practice in the Eastern and Central African market. We look forward to the continued collaboration with the dedicated professionals in the global organisation as we continue to grow and expand in Africa’s key markets.”

Technology is essential to simplifying the tax compliance process in Nigeria

03 April 2019 Consultancy.africa

Despite increasing pressure on public coffers and the expanding need for tax collection, inefficiency and a lack of user-friendly mechanisms are posing a major barrier to paying taxes in Nigeria, according to Head of Tax at global professional services firm PwC Nigeria Taiwo Oyedele. He posits technology as the solution to this problem.

As one of the largest economies in Africa, Nigeria is increasingly progressing towards higher degrees of economic prosperity, although the government is struggling to benefit from this growth in the current scenario. According to Oyedele, the country’s “revenue to GDP ratio” is at the lowest end of the global spectrum.

Oyedele attributes this high rate of default to the difficulty that Nigerian citizens face in paying their taxes, something that is simultaneously acting as a barrier to other government efforts to solve the problem. “It is a contradiction: you need tax money but you make the process very difficult,” he says.

Currently, the use of digital applications to pay taxes is among the payment options. Oyedele recommends that technology should be made the sole avenue through which tax is collected and administered, thereby making the process of calculation, payment, and filing for returns more efficient.

Technology is essential to simplifying the tax compliance process in Nigeria

In addition, using technology is expected to reduce the costs of paying taxes in the long run, due to what Oyedele terms as “cost of compliance.” “It is actually the money the taxpayer pays that doesn’t get to the government. So, both the taxpayer and the government have an objective to reduce that cost,” he said. 

Oyedele was speaking at the Tax Academy Clinic, and urged tax authorities in the country to enforce reforms in the system. These would be over and above the reforms introduced under the previous Minister of Finance, who initiated the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration to reduce default rates.

Technology is the key according to Oyedele, and he pledged that PwC would support in the process of integration. “In the past, getting your tax clearance certificate used to be like rocket science.When you need it to buy a plot of land or get a contract, getting the TCC is difficult. With technology now, one should be able to get that immediately,” he said.

“We know that these platforms are not perfect yet; so, our role as PwC, helping so many people to pay their taxes and also paying taxes ourselves, is that once we identify what the problems are, we get the stakeholders to come together to see how we can fix the problems,” he added.