Rolf Stern

Rolf Stern

President, BDO Ecuador
Gino Erazo

Gino Erazo

Partner, KPMG
Consultancies in Ecuador are an essential part of the country's recent drive to internationalization and sustained economic growth.

Over the past decade, Ecuador has seen an economic transformation. How has that changed the nature of your business in the country?

GINO ERAZO The world is rapidly changing and Ecuador has tried to keep pace. We are facing challenges on all fronts: increased competition, ongoing regulatory developments, decreasing perceptions of the value of our services, and margins under pressure. Therefore, we believe that the consulting firms also need to reassess their business model to be more global, more efficient, and more customer-focused so that they can enhance quality of advisory and audit services and drive value to better meet the needs of investors and other stakeholders. The current marketplace requires KPMG to refocus efforts to diversify our services beyond those related to the core services. Currently, the firm is pursuing a transformation to drive increased quality and sustainable and profitable growth in light of high competition and the plethora of regulations and standards set worldwide, which Ecuador also seeks to comply with. KPMG Ecuador is seeking to align to market expectation and strengthen other service areas, such as advisory, tax, and legal, and generate further business, a task that demands the employment and development of highly skilled people.

ROLF STERN The growth of the middle class in Ecuador has been important, and the strong middle class acts as a political stabilizer in the country. Adopting the US dollar as our currency has changed the way that business is conducted by eliminating currency fluctuations. This has led to an increasing demand for our services, which we have met by growing our capabilities and business. In 1973, BDO was only one person, but today we have 150. We expect to continue with this level of growth. Our success has also made it possible to hire and train the best talent available. It also means that the nature of the services that we provide has expanded. Initially, we specialized in consulting but as we grew, we branched out into auditing, taxation, and recently outsourcing. Today, we have about 150 people working from our offices in Quito and Guayaquil. Our clientele has also diversified as we expanded. In 1973, we did not have any petroleum clients, but now we audit Petro Ecuador. Today, we also audit one of the largest shrimp businesses in Ecuador. There were very few NGOs in 1973, but now we audit NGOs supported by the European Community, and the US and the Ecuadorean governments. We have diversified in response to attending to our clients' needs. While we always had clients in the commercial sector, the industrial sector, and the banking sector, our clientele base now is much larger and more diversified. We also audit banks now.

What does the market expect today from consulting firms?

GB Today's unrelenting pace of change means our stakeholders are facing equally challenging pressures. And they want more from us, they want us to add value to their business. They also want our insights, in particular on the risks we identify while rendering our services, and they are seeking broader assurance. At a time when the volume of data is expanding daily, I would predominantly refer to the use of technology. Many of our clients are introducing sophisticated technological capabilities to address increasing challenges and opportunities around the velocity and volume of data. In KPMG, we are focused on driving quality and relevance by developing innovative, technology-enabled capabilities that will transform the way we conduct our services.

RS We are the fifth largest firm in the world; however, our priority is not size, but rather excellent customer service. The senior partners of our firm routinely get together and work with our clients, and we strive to foster active relationships. While we are part of a worldwide firm, much of our decision-making takes place at a local level. This lets us work faster, and be agile, and flexible, qualities that we strive to maintain.