Our member firm, Logista, hosted this year’s South African Meeting in the beautiful town of Stellenbosch, about 50km from Cape Town.
BKR was represented by myself, Stephen Hamlet, as Executive Director of the EMEA region, our EMEA Chairman, Peter Janssen, and the Asia-Pacific regional director, Stephen Roger. Stephen Roger had been responsible for recruiting Logista and therefore took pleasure in being reunited with old acquaintants.
On 7 March, we visited Logista’s offices and met with the partners of the Stellenbosch office, as well as partners who had come from the Nelspruit and Pretoria offices. We were additionally joined by partners from BKR’s other South African member firm from Johannesburg, Boake Incorporated. Discussions took place around various BKR matters and we debated ideas as to how we could promote the Southern Africa region.
We were then invited to present to the staff of Logista’s Stellenbosch office. Stephen Roger commenced proceedings with a brief history of BKR International and details of the Asia-Pacific region, followed by Peter Janssen who presented information about the EMEA region, concluding with a presentation from myself on my past experiences, my current role within BKR, the services we provide for the region and our ideas for future development.
We all felt this was of great benefit to Logista’s employees, bringing them up to date on BKR matters and, for some, educating and informing them as to BKR and the benefits to their firm in belonging to the association.
Before drinks with the partners of Logista and Boake, we were treated to a most informative and entertaining speech from Professor Bakkes, of the University of the Western Cape, and who also acts as a consultant for Logista, on the accounting profession in Africa and his worldly experiences.
The official conference ran over the two days of 8-9 March and included a number of vibrant speakers on a variety of stimulating topics, including “Employee engagement and leadership”, “Professional service marketing in Africa”, “IT security”, “Retirement and national healthcare reform”, “Electricity demand in South Africa and future sustainability”, “An overview and outlook of the South African economy”, and “How the political climate has an influence on running a first world business in a third world country”.
We thank Lourens Oosthuizen for organising such fantastic sessions and indeed for his, and his colleagues’, hospitality throughout the duration of our stay.
On a lighter note, we enjoyed a fabulous meal of authentic African cuisine at the outdoor restaurant, Moyo, on the Spier wine estate. This included a huge selection of different foods, exquisite Stellenbosch wines, African dancing, and the obligatory face painting.
The Meeting was a great success and we hope went some way to bridging the gap between our South African member firms and the rest of the region. We fully appreciate South Africa is geographically a long way from most of our firms in Europe, yet Africa is indeed a vital, significant, and growing continent, and we hope BKR can too grow in this region. We look forward to many more meetings like this.