International audit and advisory firm EY, has been recognised as the best Big 4 practice in the country for the 2019/2020 period. The accolade was granted for the second consecutive year by the SA Professional Services Awards sponsored by Sanlam and W. Consulting.

Stephen Ntsoane, Assurance Leader at the firm, received special commendation from the judges in the Big 4 Professional of the Year category. Assurance partner Tima Norkie was a finalist in the same category as well as a finalist for Woman Professional of the Year. Consumer Products division partner Ziningi Khoza was a finalist for the Young Professional of the Year (CLM) Award.

Professionals from various organisations were set to gather at a gala dinner in Montecasino Ball Room on the evening of 19 March 2020 to honour the best amongst them. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SAPSA Awards were indefinitely postponed. The organisers of the event have subsequently undertaken to progressively announce the winners for the 2019/2020 edition prior to hosting a gathering for all finalists and guests. This marks the fifth edition of the Awards following a rigorous process of determining winners through strict criteria.

Janette Minnaar, the chair of the adjudication panel explained how the winners were determined.

“Individuals were judged based on a host of attributes including demonstration of leadership skills, changing of paradigms and innovation within the bounds of available resources. We also conferred a number of Lifetime Achievement Awards to deserving recipients who had served their professions faithfully for many years,” said Minnaar.

The firm awards were based on the following criteria – business growth, customer service, technical excellence, contribution to the community, contribution to the profession, transformation record and commitment to ethics and professionalism. The criteria were not equally weighted, a strong showing in one category was sufficient to put the firm above the rest.

“The judges continue to admire EY for a number of reasons including their recognition of entrepreneurs both locally and on the world stage,” the judges remarked. “The firm continues to exhibit ethical execution of professional services within the accounting arena. Furthermore, EY scores highly in its contribution to the community through the NextGen programme and embracing transformation through the targeted 51% black ownership by 2020. EY were deserved winners in the Reporting Accountants category at the Dealmakers Awards 2019.”