Companies operating in Africa who want to remain relevant, active and alive must take steps to adopt and sustain sound corporate practices, says leading business advisor Chinedu Ozor.
“There is a thin line between law and corporate governance,” explains Ozor, the Head of Business Advisory Services at DCSL in Nigeria. “Corporate governance, for me, should be a way of life for most companies. If you want to survive, you have to carve a niche for yourself, and adapt to those laws and procedures which will ensure your survival.”
The benefits of good corporate governance for companies in Africa – across all sectors and industries – go beyond simply meeting their legal and regulatory obligations. Along with being a good corporate citizen, companies are far more likely to attract business and investors if they have their house in good order, says Ozor.
“Generally business, investment, cash will flow to companies that have a proven track record of corporate governance achievements.”
Leading a talented team at DCSL Law, a commercial law firm that grew out of DCSL Corporate Services Limited, “masters of corporate governance”, Ozor has witnessed the benefits of providing legal, regulatory, and corporate advice for varied clients across different sectors.
As a result, the firm developed an SME Bundle specifically designed to help start-ups and small to medium enterprises to adapt to the ever-evolving corporate governance requirements and best practices. This suite of services ensures legal and regulatory compliance, develops best business practices, and thereby primes clients for sustainability and success.
The SME bundle supports business across a wide range of industries and sectors, with a variety of services that are vital at various times throughout their operation, notes Ozor. The lawyers and advisors at DCSL, who all have a strong grounding in corporate governance, assist local and multinational companies to register new start-ups in Nigeria, establish relevant corporate structures, and convene and attend board meetings.
“We also provide induction and board training services to these SMEs, to help the board acquaint themselves with the relevant legal and statutory requirements that are applicable to their company, industry, or practice,” says Ozor.
“Basically, we assist the board, we train the board on contemporary legal and regulatory issues, and then we also ensure that newly appointed directors are acquainted with, not just the internal workings of the company or business, but also that they are up to speed with the legal and regulatory requirements.”
Further services in the SME bundle include reviewing statutory records, filing relevant returns, and providing ongoing legal and regulatory support. Clients can range across sectors, from agriculture, forestry, and mining to manufacturing, construction, and service businesses.
Prescribing to the SME bundle allows businesses to benefit from DCSL Law’s weight of experience in corporate governance and as legal consultants, and ensure timely compliance, says Ozor. In addition, clients receive ongoing advice on governance issues and practices that help to entrench sound corporate governance and culture within their companies.
With so many commercial laws, codes and regulations in Nigeria and wider Africa essentially addressing how organisations relate to various stakeholders, says Ozor, it’s vital that companies and those advising them understand and action sound corporate practices.
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