Thailand audit partner Chavala Tienpasertkij has revealed the local market as the second biggest by revenue behind Singapore for the Southeast Asian audit and assurance practice of global professional services firm Deloitte, contributing around 15 percent. Pulling in $230 million across the region last year – of total global revenues now in excess of $43 billion – Tienpasertkij also stated that Deloitte was aiming for double-digit growth in its regional audit practice.
“Digital disruption is changing the way businesses operate.” Tienpasertkij said in a revealing local press interview. “Deloitte has been adapting to the new market landscape through implement new software technology and regionalising our operation to improve our services for our clients.” Already standing at 5,000, Tienpasertkij also stated the firm was aiming for double-digit growth in its number of clients locally and around 5-6 percent across the region.
According to the local partner, who has altogether more than twenty-five years of industry experience and has held responsibility at Deloitte for managing audit and advisory engagements for both local and multinational corporations, the Thai branch last year already grew its client-base by 9 percent, with its number of Thai clients – which includes Bangkok Bank and PTT Global Chemical among its existing key accounts – jumping by 15 percent.
The ambitious targets run somewhat counter to broader trends at the Big Four firm, with Deloitte’s audit & assurance division the slowest growing behind consulting, risk advisory, tax & legal, and financial advisory in its last reporting year (till the end of May 2018), at an albeit still impressive 7.7 percent. The year prior saw just 1 percent growth, in a trend common to not just Deloitte but all of the Big Four, with an evolving focus toward digital and consulting.
But Tienpasertkij believes it’s this digital aspect that will give another boost to the firm’s audit activities, noting the $600 million Deloitte Global has invested into developing the end-to-end auditing software Omnia over the past two years – now rolled out across the firm’s Asia Pacific operations after successful pilots launched in the US and Europe last year. Deloitte in Thailand has also been developing its own software.
“Another piece of software which Deloitte has been developing in its Thailand office is Rapiers, which will run on a separate platform than Omnia,” said Tienpasertkij, who stated he would propose the software to his SEAsian colleagues with a view to a wider APAC rollout. “Rapiers automates the process of closing their clients’ financial accounts at the end of each month and is able to reduce the amount of time the process takes from 40 to 120 hours to only 12 to 20 hours.”
One possible indicator that the Southeast Asian targets may not be so beyond reach; Deloitte Australia’s recently announced double-digit rate of audit growth for 2019. Tienpasertkij also points to last year’s merger of Deloitte’s various practices across Asia and the Pacific into a single operational entity, which has allowed for the better integration and exchange of resources, with the given example of being able to better serve the Thai office’s large Japanese client base.