PwC to Exit Zimbabwe as Deloitte’s Departure Sets Industry Precedent

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HARARE – PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the globe’s leading accountancy firms, is slated to withdraw from Zimbabwe by the end of this year, according to a report by Business Times.

This move follows closely on the heels of Deloitte Africa’s recent departure from the country. Subsequently, Deloitte Zimbabwe underwent rebranding, now known as Axcentium, after a management buyout.

The revelation of PwC’s impending exit surfaced after Nampak Holdings Zimbabwe, the country’s largest packaging firm, announced plans to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on May 23, 2024. The purpose of the meeting is to select new auditors to replace PwC, which has served as its external auditors for an extended period.

In a notice to its shareholders, Nampak’s group company secretary, Keith Nicholson, disclosed that PwC Africa was withdrawing from its Zimbabwean operations. Intriguingly, the board of directors at Nampak has proposed the appointment of Axcentium, formerly known as Deloitte Zimbabwe, as the new auditors.

The notice stated, “The Board does not see value in retaining the successor firm to PwC Zimbabwe for the audit going forward.”

Upon reaching out for comment, Clive Mukondiwa, Managing Partner of PwC Zimbabwe, stated, “I will revert to you as soon as is practicable. Please bear with me.”

This development occurs amidst a global slowdown in business for the big four accountancy firms, namely KPMG, PwC, EY, and Deloitte. These firms have collectively shed over 9,000 jobs across their largest markets in the US and UK through various rounds of layoffs.

In recent years, the big four have downsized their operations in Zimbabwe, partially due to a decrease in consultancy work within the country. Additionally, Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary environment presents challenges for local practices to comply with the stringent audit standards mandated by global firms, as per expert analysis.

The departure of PwC from Zimbabwe, coupled with Deloitte’s exit and subsequent rebranding, underscores a shifting landscape within the country’s accounting industry, potentially signaling broader changes in the sector’s dynamics.