ACCOUNTING is in Nelson Mandela Bay auditor Quintin Levey's blood. Levey, senior manager in KPMG's external audit department and chairman of the Eastern Cape Exporters Club of South Africa, always knew he would follow a career in accounting.
"I come from a family of chartered accountants. I have two elder brothers who are also chartered accountants and so is my wife," said Levey.
"We all also completed our training contracts at KPMG.
"My first year at KPMG included driving around the Eastern Cape in my Citi Golf to teach local municipalities how to e-mail the results of local elections and performing an inventory count at 6am on New Year's eve in the Port Elizabeth harbour."
He has worked in KPMG's external department for 13 years and has audit experience in local, national and internal auditing in various sectors – from automotive and agriculture to pharmaceutical and construction.
"I also head up the enterprise development initiatives department, which audits all government incentives. I am also chairman of our local transformation committee. In addition to that, I spend a large percentage of my time networking and meeting with potential clients."
When he is not crunching numbers he is also involved with the exporters club.
Levey is Port Elizabeth born and bred and matriculated from Alexander Road High School in 1993 after which he obtained his B.Com and B.Com Honours at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).
"I joined KPMG in 1999 as an articles clerk and qualified as a chartered accountant on the completion of my training contract in 2001."
Levey said in order to succeed in the financial sector one needed an in-depth understanding of one's clients, business and industry.
"You need this to assist them in cutting through the complexity of doing business in this highly regulated business environment.
"Clients no longer just see an audit as a signed audit report, but are looking for the auditors to advise them how to manage the risks facing their business."
He added maintaining independence at all times was also a key to being a successful auditor.
"You also have to be seen as a trusted adviser.
"During my time at KPMG I have developed a deep understanding of numerous industries and my clients' businesses which enables me to be a valuable sounding board for my clients. "Building professional relationships and business networks is key in building our practice in a highly competitive market.
"My inclusion in the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Top 40 Under 40 provides an excellent platform for me to in future grow my business network."
Levey believes the biggest challenges facing business today are remaining competitive despite the ever increasing input costs, including fuel, electricity and wages.
"Labour unrest is also a major challenge, with the automotive industry facing further strikes later this year.
"Exporters face the additional logistical cost of getting their products to the global markets, including ever increasing port and transportation costs," he added.
His advice to young entrepreneurs is to make the most of their training.
"When trainees join KPMG we encourage them to see their training contract as the start of their career, as there are so many opportunities for them locally, nationally and internationally within the firm, in various service lines, and in many industries.
"However, if their plan is to leave the auditing profession at the end of their contract they must use their contract to obtain the required experience in their field of interest to ensure a smooth transition into industry."