Spotlight on Mazars: An Interview with the Managing Partner on the Brand Relaunch in Nigeria

Uhabia Ojike, the Managing Partner of Mazars in Nigeria shares insightful information about the new Mazars brand

Can you tell us about Mazars in Nigeria?

Mazars Nigeria (formerly Ojike and Partners) is part of an international audit, tax and advisory firm. We work as one team committed to helping our clients and people succeed by respecting who they are, how they work and adapting our approach accordingly.

Established indigenously in June 1975, we have been in existence for over 45 years.  Currently, we have over ninety professionals (including 4 partners) across our offices in Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

What type of services does Mazars Nigeria render to its clients?

We have six distinct service lines at Mazars. These are: 

-        Accounting and outsourcing solutions

-        Audit

-        Consulting

-        Financial advisory

-        Legal and corporate commercial

-        Tax

What differentiates Mazars Nigeria from other firms?

For me, it’s about our approach to work and the relationships we strive to build with our people and clients.

We are committed to helping build the economic foundations of a fair and prosperous world by caring for the success of our clients, the health of financial markets, and the integrity of our profession.  This is a point of principle, distinction and pride like no other in our industry – an industry we helped to create and whose conscience we continue to inspire.

To deliver on this goal, we cannot just rely on the quality of our services and an understanding of what our clients do.  We must understand and respect who they are and how they work: adapting to their unique goals and challenges, as well as their individual circumstances, histories, cultures and ways of working.  We believe we must treat our own people the same way: celebrating their individuality and helping them become expert practitioners and empowered leaders. Finally, we approach every piece of work with independence, accountability and a social conscience.  When we do this, we build relationships that give clients, investors, markets and regulators confidence in our ability to do what is right, and therefore confidence in their own decisions.

As an international and multicultural partnership, we are uniquely placed to develop such relationships and deliver an exceptional, personalised service to every client. We have the scale to serve the largest global clients while remaining agile and creative in our approach. Our deeply rooted local teams ensure our work combines cultural understanding with a global perspective. And our single, united, partnership means we operate seamlessly as one integrated team. 

Who are your target markets and how many clients do you currently serve? Can you please mention some?

We assist clients of all sizes, from SMEs to mid-caps and global brands as well as start-ups and public bodies at every stage of their development. We currently have over 200 clients across various industries including financial services, energy, real estate, health care, consumer, industrials and the public sector.

Why is Mazars re-launching its brand?

For over 75 years, we have operated as one team, guided by our founding principles: to act responsibly, cultivate high quality teams, deliver bespoke solutions to clients, and manage our firm in an integrated way for the benefit of future generations. 

But while some things haven’t changed, much has:

• We have doubled in size in the past ten years to become an international organisation present in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide

• The diversity of our offerings, clients and talent have flourished as we have grown

• Society’s expectations of business have also grown, bringing new challenges and opportunities for us and our clients and driving us to innovate. 

Now is the right time to reflect this change and rearticulate the promise that we make to our clients, people and society. Our new brand reflects the firm we have become and that we strive to be in the future. 

What should we expect from Mazars going forward? 

We will continue to deliver on our brand promise - to be the right partner for our people, for our clients, for our industry and for the society at large; through our brand pillars which are

-        Empowered expertise : Professionals empowered to do the right thing for our clients

-        Seamless integration: One team delivering a rewarding experience and assured results

-        Balanced perspective: Thoughtful counsel that blends local and global perspectives

-        Social conscience: A mindset that gives clients, investors, markets and regulators confidence that we do what is right.

What would you say is the outstanding characteristic of your firm?

We operate as a united partnership and work as one integrated team, leveraging expertise, scale and cultural understanding to deliver exceptional and tailored services in audit and accounting, as well as tax, financial advisory, consulting and legal services.

In addition, I would say the decision in 2004/2005 to prepare and publish an annual report, including our consolidated financial statements under IFRS and audited by two external auditors remains a distinctive feature of our integrated global Partnership.

What changes would you like to see in the accounting profession in Nigeria?

There was no mention of joint audits in the draft audit regulations 2020 issued by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria. We have to demystify the concept of joint audits and question the urban myths around it. It is a tested and proven mechanism to facilitate the emergence of new players and, in the case of France, has led to creating the least concentrated audit market of any major economy. 

Some of the key benefits of joint audits include:

-        Macro-economic policy: The only proven mechanism enabling new entrants into the audit market for large multinational companies and listed entities, stimulates competition between a greater number of audit firms from different cultural backgrounds, resulting in more innovation and better response to market needs.

-        Independence and objectivity: Reinforces auditor independence, in particular over proper acceptance of non-audit services.

-        Quality: Reinforces audit quality via the “four eyes” principle by creating timely and in-built independent quality control.

-        Technical knowledge: Enables companies to benefit from the technical expertise of more than one audit firm and to have a richer discussion on complex technical issues.

There has been loads of unrest this 2020, what would you say that the firm has taken up to withstand competition and keep their talents.

A strong Business Continuity Planning (BCP) process and training has been well-established within teams across Mazars. Our teams have full access to remote working technology with secure access to their applications, tools and data.

This means that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we were fully equipped to maintain the level of quality service you would expect, without interruption. This flexibility assured our employees of their safety and enabled them focus more on assignments. 

What would your advice be for other international consulting firms who want to venture into Nigeria?

My advice is to fully understand the domestic market and collaborate with trustworthy partners that can provide honest, insightful guidance. You should always be compliant with laws and regulations and follow due process. The cost of compliance is far less than the penalties for non-compliance. See challenges as opportunities and maintain an attitude of realistic optimism.

On a final note what would be your advice to the clients hearing about your firm for the first time.

You would be amazed at the quality of our work and the value we will add to your organization.

As an independent audit, tax and advisory firm with European roots and international scale, Mazars provides you with an opportunity to experience a different perspective, as what sets us apart brings you choice. We would consistently deliver on our brand promise of being the right fit for your organization.