A fast-growing East African firm, with
intentions to expand throughout the region, has become the latest
member of RSM International.

RSM Ashvir is a six-partner, 60-staff firm
based in Kenya and Tanzania with offices in Nairobi, Mombasa and
Dar es Salaam.

Last year, it reported a 65 percent
increase in revenue to $1.45 million thanks to growth at its new
offices in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. The practice in Mombasa,
Kenya’s tourism and shipping hub, recorded significant profit rises
after RSM Ashvir took over a local office there in 2008.

RSM Ashvir, a former member of HLB
International, was only established in 2004 but plans to expand
into Uganda and Rwanda in the next few years.

Managing partner Ashif Kassam said in the next
4 to 10 years he wants RSM Ashvir to become a pan-African audit
firm. This involves developing in countries bordering East Africa,
including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Kassam said there is a demand for cross-border
services for large East African businesses that operate in the
region.

“East Africa is a regional block and is the
model for operation, especially if you want to service larger
clients. They are looking at an East Africa-wide audit operation.
So [the expansion] is basically to tap into the East Africa
market,” he said.

The firm’s target market is local corporates
that are not looking for international auditors but want the same
quality they would get from the Big Four.

About half of RSM Ashvir’s work is
in audit and assurance. The other half is in consulting, which
includes tax advisory and consulting, company secretary services,
business advisory services, primarily risk management and
transaction support services.

Kassam said the East African region has not
been badly hit by the global financial crisis as local banks are
regulated against trading in risky financial instruments.

Though the region is witnessing a slowdown,
particularly in exports, which is having an indirect rather than
direct impact on the economy.

Nicholas Moody