In February 2017, public accountants Joy V. Bhatt & Company became a member of the. Moore Stephens is the 10th largest global accountancy and consultancy network with its headquarters in London. Its network comprises 626 offices in 108 countries throughout the world, incorporating 27,997 people with annual fee income in excess of $2.742 billion (Sh274 billion). The entry of the audit firm into the local market could give the big four auditing companies - PWC, Deloitte, Ernst &Young and KPMG - a run for their money. But this will depend on how Joy V. Bhatt, the founder and CEO of Joy V. Bhatt, runs the firm from now henceforth. On September 1, 2017 the firm rebranded to Moore Stephens JVB LLP.
Give us a brief history of JVB?
JVB started in Mombasa in 1994 and has for long been a sole proprietorship. From 1994 to 2004 we had a growth which was organic. In 2004 I lost my brother whom we had managing the firm with and so I became the sole proprietor. In 2004, we acquired a local firm which had 13 staff and in 2006 we acquired another firm which had about 8 workers. And in 2013 we acquired yet another firm in Nairobi which had between eight and 10 workers. And then in 2014, we were headhunted by Moore Stephens.
What does it mean to be a member of the Moore Stephens International Ltd?
It means more prestige, international recognition and global networking. There will be comfort of service for our business and other member firms and clients looking for cross border engagements.
You also have realise that Moore Stephens is ranked tenth in the world. This ranking has a lot of meaning, and gives weight in terms of confidence. We will also be connected to Moore Stephens’ intranet, enabling our staff of about 80 to 85 employees will be able to access their data and library. Actually, we have already started seeing the benefits of this transformation with a new set of clientele showing interest, such as donor-funded agencies and banks. We expect more referrals and good quality assignment going forward.
What did it take for you to be co-opted in the network of Moore Stephens?
Since our senior management has all been exposed to internationally recognised firms during their training, and quality and service standard conscious, it only took an element of polishing up a few things to achieve our membership with MSIL.
How long did the process take before you were allowed in?
The entire process was under two years, with some unavoidable time gaps manageable within a year. The process which started in 2014 was initiated by Moore Stephens’ South Africa office. It is that long because they have to look at a number of things before they allow you to use their name.
What are some of the standards that you need to comply with when you become a member of the Moore Stephens? Obviously, the MSIL Network benchmark flair which embraces together the highest level of IFAC and International Accounting and Auditing Standards.
Do they regularly check to ensure the standards are consistently complied with? Yes, like all reputable networks, peer reviews and constant updating via continuous training, conferences and member firms personnel interaction on network intranet.
With this development, should the big four accounting firms be worried? In one word, definitely. Constructive competition backed by requisite and timely quality service is always healthy and welcome by a potential client. This backed by our network can give us an edge in certain untapped sectors by us.
What changes you are you going to institute as a result of this development?
We have already initiated and created certain specialised departments due to influx of relevant assignments, over and above the existing ones. We are now focused on sector based expertise approach.
We have also strengthened our intake procedures, and we will focus only quality intake. For example, our intake will mostly be done through a web portal.
Also, next year we should admit two or three partners in its office in Mombasa and another two or three in its Nairobi office.