Deloitte exits Zim as management leads buyout

(pic: Scotty)

Deloitte, one of the world’s big four accountancy firms, is leaving its Zimbabwe business and senior partners will buy out the unit.

The Zimbabwe practice will exit the Deloitte network by October this year.

“This mutually agreed decision to exit the Deloitte network was based on being able to better serve the unique needs of clients in Zimbabwe,” says Deloitte Zimbabwe.

The transaction follows “extensive discussions between Deloitte Africa and Deloitte Zimbabwe”, adds Charity Mtwazi, Managing Partner at Deloitte Zimbabwe.

“With the exit of Deloitte in Zimbabwe, we will be ushered into a new phase,” Mtwazi said in a statement.  “We are excited to continue our legacy of serving clients in Zimbabwe, but under a different brand. Importantly, the team responsible for service delivery remains the same, ensuring continuity and client trust.”

She says the buyout by local partners allows the business to “tailor its services and offerings even more closely to the specific needs of the local market”.

Globally, business has slowed for the big four consultancy firms, KPMG, PwC, Ernst & Young and Deloitte. Since last February, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC shed more than 9,000 jobs through multiple rounds of layoffs across the firms’ largest markets in the US and UK. Deloitte cut 100 jobs earlier this month in the UK, after slashing 800 posts in September last year, blaming a slowdown in deal activity.

With the decline of consultancy business in Zimbabwe, made worse by low activity from multinationals, the decision to drop this market would not have been a hard one for Deloitte. All the big four accountancy firms have scaled back on business in Zimbabwe over recent years. The hyperinflationary environment also makes it hard for local practices to comply with the rigid audit standards demanded by global firms, experts say. While these larger firms have struggled, some locally-led companies have kept their heads above water. Among such players in the market are locally-led BDO and Grant Thornton, which was formed out of Camelsa in 1996.

Last year, Zimbabwe was one of several emerging markets that Standard Chartered exited from as it realigned its global business.