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PKFI chairman: we will fill membership gaps

After months of silence from PKF International (PKFI) following the loss of founding member PKF UK, the network has appointed a new leadership team.

In an exclusive interview with International Accounting Bulletin, newly appointed chairman Sajjad Akhtar assured International Accounting Bulletin that his first priority is to cover network membership gaps, and dismissed the possibility of a global network merger.

Akhtar told IAB the network is on the verge of naming a UK member firm. It has been five months since the merger of PKF UK and BDO UK was first announced.

Despite wanting to remain secretive on the new member, Akhtar said that the likelihood of the firm being a large national firm, like PKF UK, is slim and that "the network might be looking to have more than one member in the country".
Akhtar also said the network is actively filling other gaps in its membership that have opened during the past 12 months, such as in Belgium and Australia.

"We don't expect to lose any more members in the near future. We have had extended consultations with our firms and we have been surprised by the loyalty to the brand and to the network. And, a lot of our members did not succumb to the advances of other networks".

Global network merger?
PKF members from around the world have been approached by other networks and associations since recent membership losses PKF International.

"The fact that we are being circled around by other networks, and we have had offers from bigger and smaller networks than PKF, also led to us wanting to reassert our strength and that is what our members communicated to us," Akhtar says.

However, Akthtar said no global network merger involving PKF was on the cards for the time being. "We are not having any particular discussion with any network at the time being. We are committed to sustaining PKF as a key mid-tier network and brand. The brand is very important to us and the survival and strength of it. We don't want to subject of a takeover by any other network," he explained.

"Our members feel very strongly that if we ever do speak to another network we should be speaking from a position of strength," Akhtar added. "This is why we decided to go out and find firms that could potentially fill the gaps that have occurred".

Akthtar has succeeded former chairman Wolfgang Hofmann, who stepped down a few months prior to his term running out. PKF International also appointed John Sim as the network's chief executive. Sim previously worked as regional executive partner for KPMG's Asia Pacific region.

PKF International is the 11th largest network globally with revenues of $2.6bn in the year to 30 June, according to IAB's 2013 World Survey ranking.

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