CQS Holdings set to rename to Caseware Africa

The acquisition of CQS Technology Holdings, which was announced at the end of 2015 by Adapt IT, will move into its final phase on 1 July, when the CQS name will be replaced by CaseWare Africa, a division of Adapt IT.

Ross Hampton, MD of the division, and long standing Director of CQS, is enthusiastic about the move.

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“The acquisition has been carefully planned to cause minimum disruption to our clients. The leadership and team remain the same, and the way we engage with our clients will stay unchanged but with the added benefit of having the resources of a much larger, JSE listed, entity behind us,” he says. “CaseWare is the world leader in financial reporting and audit software, and has achieved dominance in South Africa because of the local team’s passion for what they do and their obsession with delivering the highest level of customer service to all clients, regardless of size. All of that remains in place, as it has done since the acquisition was announced.”

Hampton confirms that the move into a larger group will yield substantial benefits to the company’s current customers. “Being part of a large group is a significant advantage as the cloud era dawns. Technology is disrupting the accounting and audit profession by driving automation and supporting the creation of an ecosystem across the reporting value chain.

“Cloud enables seamless collaboration irrespective of geography, common stores of big data and powerful analytics to derive deeper insight and so add value to customers. The role of the finance professional is transforming,” Hampton says. “All of this requires considerable infrastructure and, as part of a bigger group, CaseWare Africa is even better placed to partner with its clients as they face the challenges and seize the opportunities new technologies present.”

CaseWare Africa has an existing team of local developers as well as audit and accounting specialists devoted to localising the software in line with relevant government and other regulations and standards.

This localisation effort will be strengthened further via access to the resources of the Adapt IT group, particularly as CaseWare’s drive into other African companies gains momentum, and the software needs to be localised for each country.

“Africa has been a growth focus for some time, and Adapt IT’s existing footprint in Mauritius and Botswana, with Kenya soon to come, will allow us to offer in-country support and service more rapidly,” says Hampton. “This acquisition adds a considerable upside for enhancing what we already offer our clients

Cloud and automation: CaseWare Africa bringing opportunity to accounting firms across the African continent

Technology is bringing immense changes to the auditing profession which are predominantly being driven by automation and cloud.

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CaseWare Africa business leader Theuns Holtshousen, says it is predicted that robotics and artificial intelligence will replace up to 5% of all jobs globally by 2020. “Even though we think that the African continent will be lagging a few years behind the developed world, we have to acknowledge that technology is already impacting nearly all areas of our lives in one or another way. When it comes to accountants and auditors, technology offers a platform on which small and medium practices can compete on the same level as their network firm counterparts.

CaseWare’s Working Papers and add on modules delivers these capabilities.

“CaseWare’s solutions provides more growth opportunities than ever before for financial professionals of any size firm. It not only automates, but ultimately reduces complexities, creating a simple, transparent process, one that allows financial professionals to spend less time compiling, and more time interpreting information,” says Holtshousen.

He adds that some financial professionals develop their own solutions. “These home-grown solutions are difficult to keep updated in line with legislative changes, while managing the change in formulas with multiple contributors making it challenging to deliver a set of financial statements on time. It makes more sense to tap into the benefits of existing global solutions that can be localised, for: small, medium and large practices; medium to large corporate organisations, and even public entities across the continent.”

Ultimately, financial professionals want to save time and increase profitability. Automation offers just that. “It provides new ways of working that boosts the performance of the firm, business or public entity and drives prosperity through efficient and compliant reporting and auditing tools.”

According to Holtshousen, businesses often look at automating their manual processes by replicating them digitally. “There is no true value in doing this. It’s tantamount to digitising a broken process, better to re-engineer it whilst investing in automation.”

“Drafting solutions in the market today should facilitate the importation of trial balance from any accounting system out there, or even from Excel. Once the trial balance has been allocated to compliance reporting categories, via a pre-defined set of accounts, CaseWare can instantaneously produce a set of financial statements—something that used to take days, even weeks. Should there be a requirement for consolidation between multiple company data into a single set of financial statements, CaseWare allows for hierarchy set-ups that can produce consolidation structures with true aggregation and elimination capabilities.” He adds this is all available at the click of a button.

“These financial statements become the starting point of informed decisions in business today and directly impact the business in the future. Whereas an audit report proves the health of the organization for investors, institutes recognition for the organisation’s efforts and promotes market trust. Once submitted to the auditors, the electronic file will live in that part of the ecosystem, allowing them to apply an automated audit methodology that facilitates collaboration from anywhere, at any time, through the power of the cloud.

“Cloud technology is a model that is driving behaviour globally. The increasing trend in online shopping is one of many examples. The concerns around cloud security have been addressed by a broad set of policies, technologies, and controls deployed to protect data, applications, and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing.”

Holtshousen says that by using the cloud companies can collaborate and store data in a secure environment, thus significantly reducing risk. “Technology suppliers normally offer hosting as part of the cloud solution. This means no more shared folders, local server costs and multiple versions of one file – just one central data repository with version control in a secure cloud environment which is access-controlled.”

“These changes are driving a significant shift in the roles of accountants and auditors. This shift may even accelerate as more businesses adopt the cloud. The beauty about cloud computing is that ever-evolving organizations are supported by developing tools, as updates are pushed out as and when they happen, giving end users access to new features and functionality almost immediately,” he concludes.