How two dreamers formed an accounting firm in Pinetown which has stood the test of time

When Derek Cornelius stood on Spy Hill overlooking Pinetown over three decades ago he harboured a dream of helping small/ medium businesses by giving them accounting and financial back up to help to avoid any financial pitfalls as well as achieving sounder businesses. Rather than just dismiss his dream he embarked on a quest in a small rented office space with just two staff, Gwyn Davidson and Shirley Mellon.

Meanwhile, Denis Saville was working with a large transport company in Durban but had always been scheming on starting small businesses. “I was driving my family mad will schemes and ideas,” said Denis as he shared the story at the 30th Anniversary celebration. “Finally I came across the Ivy Park mini factory development and asked the developer for a list of the businesses that were moving in and told him that I wanted to provide accounting services to them. He offered me an office and his accounting work as well and I started approaching the tenants.”About 18 months later Derek and Denis’ paths crossed. These two enterprising Chartered Accountants decided to merge and call the resulting firm, Cornelius & Saville, and so, C&S was born.

Over the years the firm has grown from those six people to the present staff complement of over 20 members. There have been some who stayed for years, as well the fairly regular turnover of staff expected in a firm where there is as huge an emphasis placed on staff training. Many C&S alumni, as they are fondly called, still see C&S as a home they proudly claim as the launch pad for their career, despite having spread their wings.

When Derek retired he emigrated to Australia, leaving the space for Adrian Veeran to step into his place as a director at the firm. Denis said Adrian had been identified by both he and Derek as more than capable of carrying on the legacy of the firm and had consequently been groomed for leadership.

Last but by no means least, Raj Reddy initially joined C&S from Eskom with an engineering diploma to do his articles and qualify as a CA . “He then left and got a few more years experience in commerce and industry before we recalled him as a director after he had added an MBA to his credentials,” said Denis.

“It is not often that a small independent practice remains in business for 30 years. Over the years, a number of partners, employees and trainee accountants have joined that family. Each one of them contributed to the culture and values of the organisation in their special way,” said Raj summing up the firm’s ethos. “Over the years we have also seen companies grow from start ups to multi-million Rand operations, some going on to be market leaders in their specific industries.”

Contact C&S and see how they can help you achieve your business best by phoning them on 031 701 7388.



Eve Morris
Photographer and Feature Writer

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