Biz Buzz: From upstart to major player
THE FASTEST growing audit firm in the country is poised to grow at an even faster pace. But its superstitious partners won’t formalize it until after the traditionally inauspicious Chinese “ghost month” ends in a few days.
We are talking about Reyes Tacandong & Co. which, five years after it was set up, has now grown with more than 500 audit and support personnel, led by 22 partners.
We describe Reyes Tacandong as the “fastest growing” audit firm because increasing one’s staff base to more than 500 in five years through organic growth is not an easy feat. To compare, it took the Philippines’ largest audit and consultancy firm, SGV & Co., 15 years to reach a staffing compliment of 800 people, achieved through merging with and acquiring smaller companies, industry insiders say.
More importantly, Reyes Tacandong—which is led by former SGV stalwarts Roman Felipe “Manny” Reyes as chair and Protacio Tacandong as COO—has 350 accountants who graduated from their courses with Latin honors or are topnotchers in their professional exams.
To house its growing family, Reyes Tacandong recently expanded its office footprint, getting the entire 11th floor and half of the 8th floor of Citibank Tower in Makati City to decongest its 26th floor office in the same building.
“Now we have room to grow,” said company chair Manny Reyes, who is also known around town as a consummate dealmaker and a “connector” of key business personalities. In other words, he makes things happen.
Reyes Tacandong’s leaders have now set their sights farther afield, client-wise. In the first five years, the firm focused on solidifying its footprint with local clients like San Miguel Pure Foods, the Max’s group, McDonald’s and the Roxas group. Going forward, it is focusing on reeling in foreign corporations doing business in the Philippines.
Reyes Tacandong was founded by 14 former SGV partners who left the pioneering audit firm five years ago after a bruising internal fight with another faction.
“It was difficult, at first,” Reyes told Biz Buzz. “SGV was trying to bar us from competing initially. They were jealous of us and didn’t want to see former partners competing [against them]. They wanted to maintain monopoly.”
And as soon as the Chinese ghost month ends (that’s in a few days), Biz Buzz hears that Reyes Tacandong will unveil a newly sealed partnership with a large international audit and tax consultancy group that will allow it to stand toe to toe with other large local players (all of which have international tie-ups).
Which international audit group, we can’t reveal yet, except to say that it’s a London-based outfit with a global presence. Daxim L. Lucas
IN ITS legal battle with a lady executive who had complained of illegal dismissal, British banking giant Standard Chartered had bounced from an initial loss.
The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), ruling favorably on Stanchart’s motion for reconsideration, said in a new order dated Aug. 12 that the complainant had “failed to prove by substantial evidence that she was constructively dismissed.” It cited “substantial” evidence that the lady executive had voluntary resigned and that the complaint was a mere “afterthought.”
A labor arbiter at the NLRC earlier ruled that Stanchart had “illegally dismissed” this lady executive, formerly the bank’s vice president/head of corporate affairs in the Philippines. The bank was earlier ordered to reinstate her and pay full back wages summing up to P10.92 million and 10 percent thereof for attorney’s fees (computed based on 36.4 months worth of the lady’s monthly wage of P300,000).
The complainant’s resignation letter which contained words of gratitude and appreciation worked against her in this case, as the NLRC ruled that the kind expressions could not have come from an employee who was forced to resign. At the same time, the labor court had given due weight to her act of securing the exit clearance and receipt of benefits amounting to P1.84 million, the e-mail confirming the accuracy of the benefits as well as the quitclaim (where she had stated that she had voluntarily resigned) document.
The NLRC also said the lady executive had failed to adduce evidence of harassment or intimidation by her superiors. Assuming for the sake of argument that pressure was indeed exerted by her bosses, the court said there was no urgency for her to sign the resignation letter.
In deciding that this complaint was an “afterthought,” the court cited her inaction for more than two years before filing this case, adding that “for surely, a person wronged would not wait long enough to pursue her valid cause of action.”
As such, the court said there was no legal nor factual bases in ordering her reinstatement and awarding money claims.
Commenting on this favorable court ruling, the foreign bank said: “We are pleased with the outcome. Standard Chartered takes its obligations and responsibility as an employer very seriously, ensuring that we comply with the spirit, not just the letter of laws, regulations and group standards.”
Our approach has always been to handle all employee matters in a fair, open and transparent manner.” Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
A ‘JOHNNY-COME-LATELY’ with ‘zero’ experience refurbishing election equipment tried unsuccessfully to convince the Commission on Elections that the Herculean task of repairing and upgrading 82,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines can still be done in time for the 2016 polls.
Up until last week, Comelec insiders say representatives of German biometrics firm Dermalog were busy making the rounds of the poll agency’s Intramuros office to sell its services. Apparently, the firm got some sympathetic ears in Comelec despite the insistence—by the agency’s technical people, no less—that Dermalog makes fingerprint reader machines, not election equipment. In fact, the Hamburg-based company reportedly enjoys a virtual monopoly in the biometrics of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and at the airports in Kuala Lumpur, Brunei and Frankfurt.
Dermalog’s last-ditch, hard-sell efforts, however, failed to convince the Comelec as it had already signed a lease contract for 23,000 brand new optical mark reader (OMR) machines with election solutions provider Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. The agency also gave a Notice of Award to the same company for the lease of 70,977 OMR units, all scheduled for delivery before January 2016.
But just before the contract signing, Biz Buzz learned that there was “real hesitation” on the part of some key Comelec officials who were still rooting for the refurbishment option despite the obvious lack of time that could imperil the 2016 polls.
Insiders say that what was worrisome about Dermalog—aside from its zero experience in PCOS repairs—is that it was allegedly on the brink of bankruptcy in 2012—until it was rescued by the German government. Germany’s national printing office, Bundesdruckerei, reportedly owns 22.43 percent of Dermalog.
As the Comelec is still keen on refurbishing its PCOS machines—albeit after the 2016 polls—expect Dermalog to be very much around. Unless cured, however, its inexperience and government foreign ownership will continue to hound the German firm in the days to come. Daxim L. Lucas
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