The important role that BEE consulting plays with the development of your BEE strategy

The important role that BEE consulting plays with the development of your BEE strategy

The important role that BEE consulting plays with the development of your BEE strategy

Do you know how your business can benefit from the expertise offered by a BEE consulting company? Do you have a BEE strategy that is integrated with your business objectives?

Often times BEE consulting is needed for the complexities of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes, in a low-growth economic environment and various other challenges that businesses are facing because B-BBEE is not simply a “tick box” exercise. The tremendous shortage of reliable and accurate B-BBEE  advice leaves many business owners stumped when it comes to developing and implementing their BEE strategies. That is why many companies rely on BEE consulting.

Before we continue, let’s look at what BEE consulting is? A consultant is a person who provides expert advice on a professional level in a specific field of expertise, in this case B-BBEE or BEE. A BEE consultant assists businesses in unravelling the intricacies of B-BBEE and turning B-BBEE compliance into a measurable growth strategy. BEE consulting is therefore essential for any company in South Africa that wishes to comply with BEE legislation.

The purpose of this article is to explain what BEE consulting really entails and the importance of successfully integrating a BEE Strategy into your business.

What is the difference between BEE consulting and a BEE verification analyst?

Clients often confuse BEE consulting with BEE verification. The following explanation distinguishes between the two roles.   

  • A BEE consultant is positioned right at the centre of the BEE arena and acts as a professional advisor to small, medium and large businesses in numerous sectors by guiding them through the BEE transformation process. They are actively involved in assisting businesses with BEE queries, preparing them for BEE verification, helping with the BEE verification process, etc. They will assist you throughout the verification process, collecting evidence, advising you on meeting the required targets, calculating your current, future or proposed claims and determining the impact on your level of compliance, amongst other services. A BEE consultant will assist you to achieve your desired level of B-BBEE compliance in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. It is a process of guiding a client towards the desired or required BEE compliancy level. They also manage the gathering of required documentation for verification.
  • A BEE verification analyst is the person who deals with the verification process from an independent and impartial point of view by assessing the preparation done by the BEE consultant as explained above without advising them. After the BEE consultant has gathered all the necessary information, such information is submitted to a verification agency to be verified by an independent BEE verification analyst. As can be seen from the above, a BEE consultant plays an important role by advising a business on BEE implementation principles in line with legal compliance and business practices.

Both these roles are subject to certain challenges, but for the purpose of this article, we will focus on the BEE consultant. Let’s look at how important the development and implementation of a BEE strategy is.

What is a BEE Strategy or BEE Strategic plan?

The BEE strategy is a company’s plan outlining what needs to happen to achieve certain outcomes to fulfil their BEE objectives. The BEE consultant provides planning advice and is involved in drafting and customising the BEE strategic plan according to the client’s business needs for purposes of budgeting to achieve the maximum benefit from it. A BEE strategy will include the following:

  • A layout of the terminology used in the plan;
  • A summary of the information that was gathered in order to compile the report;
  • An overview of the latest BEE legislation;
  • A breakdown of all the BEE elements;
  • Different proposals regarding restructuring of ownership, occupational level changes, proper skills spend on correct EAP targets and correct calculations for the monetary targets, with suggested initiatives, will be made for implementation with a view to earning optimal points on the scorecard.

The BEE strategic plan will serve as a guide through the year for both the BEE consultant and the client to keep track of the proposals and implementation thereof.  By following the guidelines as set out in the BEE strategic plan, a client can rest assured that all elements on the scorecard are covered insofar as targets and spend are concerned.

Some of the benefits of BEE consulting include professional advice regarding the following BEE scorecard elements:

  • Ownership – what ownership entails (i.e. black ownership) and ownership structures that are available;
  • Management Control – reflecting the current position of staff and any proposed changes;
  • Skills Development – skills development and training that need to take place during the upcoming year based on the company’s projected payroll;
  • Procurement – spend on BEE suppliers and identifying where the shortfalls and opportunities are in terms of the scorecard;
  • Supplier, Enterprise and Socio-Economic Development – who will qualify as a beneficiary, what rand value needs to be spent and what needs to be implemented for that beneficiary during the financial year based on financial figures supplied by the client?

What are the challenges that a BEE consultant faces?

  • Despite financial forecasts being provided to the BEE consultant, the figures that are supplied are not always a true reflection. Inaccurate figures may lead to under-expenditure, which in turn leads to fewer points on their BEE scorecards, resulting in an overall lower BEE level.
  • It is imperative that a client provides the BEE consultant with the necessary financial figures to compile a document which makes planning for the financial year possible. The sooner a client starts with their BEE budget and implementation of proposals, the easier it is to obtain the desired BEE level.

In conclusion, BEE changes as your business evolves, along with legislation. Every company faces unique challenges, requirements and opportunities – and each works within the parameters of specific budgets. The role of a BEE consultant cannot be emphasised enough as BEE is a process and not a once-off exercise. It is an ongoing client-consultant relationship aimed at achieving the outcomes as outlined in a company’s BEE strategy.

SERR Synergy develops client-specific BEE strategies that address most of the queries a client might have during the year.  It helps with proper budgeting and identification of targets and proposes changes in order to come up with the desired BEE compliancy level.  It is a workable document with long-term solutions for our client.

About the authors

  • Stanley de Vries started with SERR Synergy in 2017 as a Project Manager. He obtained his LLB in 2009 from the University of Pretoria and was admitted as an attorney in 2011. He started BEE consulting during 2012, after which he entered the BEE verification market for a few years. He is now consulting again, assisting clients with strategies, giving advice and providing guidance within the B-BBEE industry. 
  • Florene Taute is a lawyer specialising in BEE and still passionate about it after 9 years.  She obtained an LLB from PU for CHE (North West University) in 2003, holds a Certificate in Advanced Trust Law from CE@UP and is the BEE Manager of our Gauteng Branch.

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