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Wednesday, November 22, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES
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Date posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 | Manila, Philippines


Loyalty pays off for some

SYCIP GORRES Velayo & Co. (SGV) is keeping its position as the top auditing firm by dint of its having cornered the most number of clients that made it to this year’s Top 1000 Corporations.

SGV continues to be the most sought-after auditing firm by the country’s biggest corporations, as it audited the financial statements of 411 of the 1,000 companies in this year’s listing. This adds 13 clients from last year and increases SGV’s market share to 41% from around 40% previously.

“For almost 70 years, SGV has built up a matchless reputation for quality work. Our proven track record continually elicits trust and confidence from our clients, which translates into professional relationships founded on our delivery of exceptional, value-added client service,” said Cirilo P. Noel, SGV chairman and managing partner.

The company, however, is aware that it cannot rest on its laurels. Mr. Noel said SGV ensures that its people continue to be the best by providing them with intensive training.

R.G. Manabat & Co. (RGM) has overtaken Isla Lipana & Co. for the second spot, after 134 of the former’s clients landed in the magic circle of 1,000 firms. RGM had 120 clients in last year’s ranking.

Isla Lipana & Co. followed closely with 123 firms, adding one firm from last year.

Punongbayan & Araullo landed on the fourth spot with 4.6% of the market or 46 clients, down from last edition’s 48.

Completing this edition’s top five external auditors is Navarro Amper & Co., which inspected the financial reports of 29 of the top 1000 firms, two companies less than the 31 last year.

Other auditors whose clients joined this year’s edition of Top 1000 Corporations are A.E. Jimenez & Co. (AEJ), Commission on Audit (CoA), Corazon R. Ladiza (CRL), Diaz Murillo Dalupan & Co. (DMD), Ellinor C. Fua-Geronimo (EFG), Jaime P. Esperida (JPE), Ma. Emma T. Sy-Bang (MTS), Ocampo, Mendoza, Leong, Lim & Co. (OMLL), R.S. Bernaldo & Associates (RSB), Reyes Galang King and Co. (RGK), Reyes Tacandong & Co. (RTC) and Virginia D. Besa (VDB).

This year’s top 15 corporations remained loyal to their respective auditors. Top grosser Petron Corp. and San Miguel Foods, Inc. (No. 10) were still with R.G. Manabat & Co.

SGV retained in its list of clients some of the country’s biggest firms: Manila Electric Co. (No.2); TI (Philippines), Inc. (No.4); Nestlé Philippines, Inc. (No.5); Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (No. 7); Philippine Airlines, Inc. (No.8); Globe Telecom, Inc. (No.11); Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (No. 12) and Smart Communications, Inc. (No.13).

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (No.3); PMFTC,Inc. (No.9) and Chevron Philippines, Inc. (No.15) also remained loyal to Isla Lipana & Co.

Reyes Galang King and Co. and Punongbayan & Araullo held on to Mercury Drug Corp.(No.6) and BDO Unibank,Inc. (No.14), respectively.

For this edition, the number of auditors that had five or more clients in the Top 1000 increased to 17, up from the 16 in the 2013 and 2014 editions. It was also higher than the 12 firms in the 2011 and 2012 editions and the 13 auditing companies in 2010.

“As with any industry, growth is always a healthy and positive sign,” Mr. Noel said.

“The rise of more audit firms is an excellent indicator of the continuing growth of the Philippine economy and that more and more businesses are recognizing the importance of having sound financial information in order to compete,” he said.

“It also means that the efforts of local regulatory bodies to encourage transparency and good governance are successfully enhancing the local business landscape, thus creating the need for more professional services such as those offered by auditing firms,” he added.

As the competition gets tougher, with more audit firms stepping up their delivery of services, auditors are to protect their market share.

Stand-alone auditors said their relationships with their clients, along with the trust that they have established with them, are their best selling points.

Ma. Emma T. Sy Bang, a stand-alone auditor whose six clients made it to the Top 1000 Corporations, said, “Sometimes small is beautiful. I like to think that my clients keep patronizing my small accounting firm because they do not have to go through layers of staff.”

“I try to make their life easier and less stressful for them. Over the years, I think we have developed rapport and I have gained their confidence and trust,” she said.

“I treat my clients as my friends so they feel at ease that they can ask questions and receive direct advice from me,” she added.

Jaime P. Esperida, with seven clients, said, “They have trust and confidence in my profession. I maintained the CPA reputation for integrity, good judgement, objectivity and competence earned for so many years.”

Mr. Esperida however said, “Stand-alone auditors have to face the world of reality of competitiveness and survival.”

According to SGV’s Mr. Noel, “Audit firms are but a segment of the larger professional services industry. As in any industry or sector of the economy, healthy competition is to be expected; what is important is for the profession to have a level playing field.”

“Rather than focusing on competing with each other, Filipino accounting professionals should stand united as we promote the caliber of our local talent in an increasingly global market,” he added.

The country’s top auditing firms also rose to the challenge of the evolving state of regulatory requirements in the past year.

“For SGV and our clients to remain compliant and competitive on an increasingly regional and global level, we have to make sure that not only are we constantly up-to-date on international reporting standards, but that our clients also have a clear understanding of how the regulatory changes can have an impact on their business,” Mr. Noel said.

“I needed to study harder because of the changes in the accounting field,” Ms. Sy Bang said. “But a very important factor in hurdling the challenges that came my way was client-and-auditor commitment to abide by what is right.”

*Send e-mail to Christine at cscastaneda@bworldonline.com or follow her on Twitter @cjscastaneda.

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