How Makosi is disrupting corporate deal-making

In much the same way it is disrupting the accounting and audit professions.
Makosi offers a compelling proposition for its clients as well as professionals in search of career growth. Image: Shutterstock

In the same way that Makosi is disrupting the accounting and audit professions, by attracting some of the best talent in the world and putting them to work with clients around the world, so too is it’s Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) unit upending our traditional understanding of corporate deal-making.

Makosi was conceived in the early 2000s by newly qualified South African chartered accountant (CA) Darren Isaacs while on a motorcycle trip through Africa. It was the frustration of qualifying as a CA after years of studying and articles, only to be confronted with a career ceiling that appeared to stunt accountants’ upward mobility, that prompted the creation of Makosi in 2006.

Today, Makosi employs over 1 500 accountants in 12 countries. The growth story is just beginning and the hunt for the best accounting and audit talent in the country continues.

Though it has its genesis in SA, Makosi is headquartered in the US.

TAS is a more recent creation within the Makosi family. Adding a corporate finance advisory service to the core accounting and audit business seemed a logical development.

TAS has been in existence for little over a year and already employs roughly 80 staff, most of them drawn from the Big Four accounting firms as well as investment banks. In this period, Makosi TAS has assisted in close to 200 deals – some of them involving large US-listed and private equity companies.

The services it offers include financial due diligence, valuations and modelling, post-merger integration, transaction accounting advisory and general corporate finance.

Pent-up demand for corporate deals

Makosi TAS director Kavir Rama says there is huge pent-up appetite among corporations/institutions and private equities for deal-making, which went into hibernation during the Covid lockdowns.

“In the months immediately after Covid, there has been a massive influx of buy-side deals as many firms had large amounts of dry powder in their hands, but given where the economy is now, we’re seeing a lot more sell-side activity. However, overall deal flows still remain higher than pre-Covid levels,” he says.

“Clients are preparing companies and business units for sale. There are a number of reasons for the increase in corporate activity, from companies wanting to build up cash reserves for deployment to those who want to strengthen their market presence in certain areas and value chains, or simply to focus on what they’re good at.”

Makosi has put out the call for talent and is hiring accountants, auditors and those with experience in corporate finance and investment banking.

Rama says Makosi offers a compelling proposition for professionals in search of career growth. Not only do they get to work on international as well as local deals, they get to interact with some of the most dynamic corporations in the world.

“We understand how our candidates want to grow their career and we provide them with a platform to do this,” says Rama.

“We support our candidates obtaining this experience both virtually and on-shore.

“One major advantage we have is that we can take an auditor who is a newly qualified CA and train them to operate as an experienced manager in half the time compared to how they would’ve grown in a traditional TAS practice.”

Bootcamp for corporate advisors

TAS operates a training bootcamp for different disciplines within corporate advisory that produces a professional advisor in half the time it would take through the conventional route in a bank or corporate advisory boutique or practice.

A dedicated team runs the in-house academy, delivering online and in-person training to professionals once they are on-boarded. A unique aspect of the training is that it provides professionals with access to virtual transactions where they can cut their teeth before being let loose on the market.

Rama is a CA who completed his articles at KPMG before moving into the deal advisory space, specialising in financial due diligence. He moved to Nedbank’s corporate finance team and later joined EY in its Transaction Advisory Services unit, again specialising in financial due diligence, before joining Makosi a year ago – just three months after TAS was created as a standalone business under the Makosi banner.

“I joined Makosi because I wanted exposure to business operations in the deal space, and to grow my skills and experience on the global stage,” he says.

“A big advantage of working here is the scope of work and growth trajectory. As a professional you get exposure to working on all parts of a corporate transaction and gain exposure to various clients around the world.”

A force for good

Rama says Makosi is a force for good in several ways.

“What we found post-Covid is that companies were hit by the Great Resignation, and many TAS skills left the industry to pursue other endeavours. This left directors and partners overwhelmed with work.

“We alleviate that pressure by getting our highly skilled teams to take on work to help our clients take a breath, live a more balanced life and enabling them to grow up the corporate ladder.

“Makosi is countering the effects of the brain drain and Great Resignation that South Africa has experienced in this industry by increasing the supply of TAS professionals and bringing these skills back to SA,” he adds.

“Lastly, Makosi puts its employees at the centre of the business by focusing on their career growth and development and overall well-being.”

Brought to you by Makosi.

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