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Promoting transparency

Released at: 15:43, 23/04/2017 What's on

Promoting transparency

Mr. Nguyen Chi Trung, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Vietnam (Source: Grant Thornton)

Mr. Nguyen Chi Trung, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Vietnam, tells VET about Vietnam’s auditing market and the company’s performance in recent times.

What are your thoughts on the development of Vietnam’s auditing market and its outlook for the years to come?

Vietnam is strongly integrating into the global market. The operations of enterprises in the country are gradually conforming to international practice. Accounting and financial information is prepared in accordance with standards and international practices. Accounting and financial information should also be audited, independently, to ensure the reliability of the information for investors and other stakeholders. The auditing industry only started in the early 1990s and only has a development history of 26 years. The demand for audit and assurance services has been increasing, as initially only foreign-invested enterprises were subject to statutory audit, but now State-owned enterprises, banks, insurance companies, publicly-listed companies, large public companies, securities companies, investment funds, etc., are also subject to statutory audit, and it has made the auditing market more developed. In the years ahead, demand for audit services will continue to increase due to the development of the capital and financial markets and their further transparency requires that accounting and financial information be more reliable and independently audited. 

Audit services will also be more diversified and not only concentrating on the auditing of financial statements. Internal audit, compliance audit, and related services will also develop more strongly and demand will also grow. However, as quality control of audit services has not yet reached international standards and there is aggressive competition among audit firms, cutting fees would lead to poor quality in auditing services.

Can you tell us about some of Grant Thornton Vietnam (GTV)’s business achievements in 2016?

GTV achieved a 12 per cent increase in revenue and all services lines and both the taxation and advisory services saw impressive growth of more than 20 per cent. It has become one of the leading firms in providing high quality services to enterprises in Vietnam. It is also strong in providing audit, taxation, advisory and outsourcing services to Japanese companies. GTV is one of the Top 5 services providers to Japanese companies in Vietnam.

What is your target for Grant Thornton this year in Vietnam?

The target for 2017 is to consolidate our position as one of the leading firms providing audit, taxation, advisory, and outsourcing services in Vietnam, with a growth rate of 12 per cent at least. The majority of GTV’s clients are foreign-invested enterprises but GTV also provides services to large, emerging Vietnamese groups and corporations, such as VINGROUP, SSG, VINACHEM etc. and GTV targets strengthening the provision of services to these types of groups and corporations this year.

How do you view Vietnam’s business environment?

As Vietnam has been integrating into the global economy, its business environment has improved. In recent years, the Vietnamese Government has been very determined to improve the business environment to better attract investors. Administrative reform, especially in areas relating to enterprises and business administration, has been dramatically improved, such as in taxation, customs, labor, etc. The government has been putting a lot of effort into achieving the target that Vietnam be among the Top 4 countries having the best public services in ASEAN.

However, there are still weaknesses in administration procedures and the legal environment, which need to be improved to make the business environment more attractive in the eyes of domestic and foreign investors.

What are the opportunities and challenges for auditing companies doing business in Vietnam?

Vietnam’s economy is still in the initial stages of development and the number and size of enterprises are increasing rapidly, and therefore the demand for audit, taxation, advisory, and outsourcing services will also increase significantly. This is a big opportunity for auditing firms and they should be fully prepared to seize it.

However, as the competition in the auditing market becomes more and more aggressive, maintaining good quality services at competitive fees is a major challenge for auditing firms in Vietnam. Auditing firms should invest more in technology (auditing software, other necessary software, computers, servers, high speed internet connections, etc.) and people (to provide training in international standards), and this requires strong financial capacity. 

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