Grant Thornton Cambodia continues to ‘Go Beyond’ after celebrating 10 years of operation

Harrison White

Grant Thornton Cambodia – one of Cambodia’s leading professional audit, outsourcing, tax, advisory and assurance services and – has celebrated 10 years of operation launching its new global strategic strategy ‘Go Beyond’.

Grant Thornton Cambodia, is an independent member within Grant Thornton International and a wholly foreign-owned company. Grant Thornton’s presence in Cambodia first started in 2004 through a joint venture partnership.

The firm was then launched in 2011 and is of only a few auditing audit firms approved by both the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia and the National Bank of Cambodia.

Speaking to Cambodia Investment Review, Ronald C. Almera the CEO & Partner of Grant Thornton Cambodia said the company was marking the milestone by launching its global ‘Go Beyond’ strategy.

Ronald has over 20 years of audit experience. He joined the Cambodia practice in May 2013 from Vietnam where he spent seven years auditing multinational companies across multiple industries working for a Big 4 audit firm.

The firm is involved with servicing Cambodian clients in a wide range of industries including manufacturing, oil and gas, consumer products, not-for-profit organizations, real estate, banks and financial institutions, and professional services.

Their work mainly includes financial audits, financial and tax due diligence, reviews of financial statements, and performance of agreed-upon procedures, compilation audits, and outsourced accounting & tax services.

‘Go Beyond’ and the Grant Thornton Cambodia concept

The ‘Go Beyond’ encompasses five areas of operations for the firm being:  We care about people and relationships, we are more agile, we value different perspectives, we show the way and be ahead of the issues to guide the Client, and we keep a sharp focus on quality and Go beyond the brief.

According to Ronald, the firm does not believe in simply “advise and leave”, but to stay and deliver actual outcomes. This approach aims to partner with Clients and embed the firm into existing teams that can then provide additional capacity required to increase the certainty of outcomes.

“The current Go Beyond campaign encompasses the Grant Thornton mindset of providing more than just one of advisory services. We believe that by being truly connecting with our Clients we can fully understand their unique needs,” Ronald said.

“Once this relationship is built we can become a pivotal part of company operations. This usually results in a better long-term Client retention; the firm values its people that help provide distinctive service to Clients thereby improving staff loyalty and commitment,” he added.

The firm had three people that are recognizably part of growing the business. Yee Zent Ng from Audit and Assurance Service department that became a partner last October. We also have two local directors, Mr. Sinra Kong from Audit and Assurance and last but not the least is Ms. Sitha Hourn from the Finance and Admin, People & Culture.

Increased compliance as Cambodia’s business environment matures

Cambodia’s auditing and financial compliance have been slowly maturing since the 2005 Law on Commercial Enterprises stipulated that all companies in Cambodia must keep accounting records.

This compliance culture was accelerated in January 2016, when Cambodia’s National Assembly passed the Law on Accounting and Auditing, which replaced the 2002 Law on Corporate Accounts.

The new law was designed to overhaul the regulation of the accountancy profession and established a clarified legal framework for promulgating accounting and auditing standards.

“Cambodia’s business community have been slowly starting to understand that compliance is a must when it comes to the General Department of Taxation and it will continue to mature and develop I believe,” Ronald said.

The increased need for auditing and, hence, auditors has resulted in some worker shortages in the industry with staff retention also identified as an issue.

According to Ronald, skills shortages in Cambodia’s auditing sector is a major concern for the business adding that the majority of his workforce comes from one school, the CamEd Business School.

CamEd Business School, is an institute of higher education in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It specializes in teaching accounting and finance and is a primary source of new hires for major audit firms in Cambodia

Cambodia Investment Review previously reported on the school highlighting its students had set their sights on Cambodia’s booming banking and insurance industries.

Looking to 2022 and the future of auditing in Cambodia

While international legal and tax firms are increasingly turning to technology to assist them with administration and taxation requirements Ronald reflects that, on the ground, auditors are still an essential requirement under international standards.

“Technology in auditing is an area that our Clients are increasingly talking to us about. This technology refers to the computer-aided audit tools we use to help improve the efficiency and quality of our audits,” Ronald said.

“Grant Thornton Cambodia is already working under, what we call, electronic work paper and we are moving next year to a new platform called LEAP. This audit technology is a key project that will help the firm achieve the risk management and quality objectives in our network strategy and will deliver a working tool that will be transformational for our network and Clients. This is fully compliant with the international standard of auditing,” he added.

While the technology ensures compliance and standardize the delivery of services. However according to the current standards there is still a large requirement of ‘on the ground’ auditors’ under international standards.

Looking to the future, the firm remains cautiously optimistic about 2022. “As we put on our budgeting plans together, we are currently identifying the sectors of the market that we will believe will grow,” Ronald said.

Two of the main sectors the firm has earmarked will include banking and manufacturing adding that the hospitality and transportation sectors will still need time to recover from the COVID impact. 

“This year we were able to secure the auditing contract from one of the Kingdom’s big banks – this has displayed the confidence in our services and we are already seeing more traction from other financial institutions now,” Ronald said.

“This in addition with the GDT’s ongoing agenda of ensuring compliance places licensed auditing firms such as Grant Thornton in a strong position in the future,” he added.

To find out more on what Grant Thornton Cambodia or Ronald C. Almera can do for your business needs click here

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