Baker Tilly International seeks 100% revenue boost in ME

(Staff Report)
Filed on February 22, 2011

DUBAI - Baker Tilly MKM, one of the leading professional audit assurance and advisory practice headquartered in the UAE, is celebrating 30 years of successful operations in the country, with its parent company Baker Tilly International aiming to at least double its size in terms of revenues in the next five years in the Middle East region.

Geoff Barnes, CEO and President of Baker Tilly International, London, and Ted Verkade, Regional Chairman of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) of Baker Tilly International, who flew in from the UK, along with M. Krishnamurthi, Group Chairman of Baker Tilly MKM, and Mago JB Singh, Managing Partner of Baker Tilly MKM, on Monday reviewed the achievements of the past three decades and announced their future plans.

Baker Tilly MKM and Just and Fair International Consultants, a consulting division of the firm, are members of London headquartered independent advisory firm, Baker Tilly International, the eighth largest accounting network (in terms of combined revenue) worldwide, as per the 2010 International Accounting Bulletin World Survey, released last month.

The network’s combined revenues total $3.07 billion at a time when organisations were struggling to adapt to the rapidly changing environment of the economic recession.

“In these difficult times it is not easy to maintain or grow the practice level. Our member firms have the expertise to deal with crisis management and the flexibility to meet the needs of our clients, leading to stability that evolves from disciplined business practices,” Barnes said.

Baker Tilly MKM was founded in 1980 as a single office practice by Munaem Al Rubaie. Today, Baker Tilly International has a network of over 150 member firms with some 30,000 people in 610 offices in 124 countries.

Barnes said that Baker Tilly International, an untarnished brand, operates a network whose members act ethically and deliver with integrity and its aim is to be the best in the middle level firms’ market.

“Our long-term strategic objectives, set after a critical review of the network, are to maintain our position as top eighth global network, build recognition of Baker Tilly International as a leading global brand, provide consistency in client service through firms that are strategically aligned and share the same values, and continue collaboration to help member firms expand their businesses,” Barnes said.

He said that the achievements of the objectives would be reviewed in 2015.

Verkade said that in the vast EMEA region, Baker Tilly International is present in 71 countries out of 130. These include 44 in Europe, 10 in the Middle East, and 16 in Africa, through nearly 9,500 personnel in 81 firms.

Verkade said that Baker Tilly has expanded its presence in Oman and Saudi Arabia last year through acquisition/joint venture and has plans to open new offices in the region including Bahrain, Iran and Syria in the Middle East while it looks at East and North Africa for expansion in the coming years.

“The expansion of Baker Tilly into Saudi Arabia enables us to offer a greater depth of services to clients operating across the Middle East, and underscores our commitment to providing truly integrated solutions to our clients,” Barnes said.

Verkade explained that Baker Tilly’s next step would be to increase its presence in the Middle East while sticking to its policy of one firm per country. “Our policy is to allow our members grow organically by getting more clients and buying small practices. With the group of our firms in the Middle East, we will at least double in size in terms of revenues in five years.”

“We are definitely required to grow in the Middle East and Africa as our practice volumes are low here,” he said.

Krishnamurthi said, “Baker Tilly MKM has achieved remarkable progress in the UAE during 2010 taking into consideration the challenges of the economic recession. Baker Tilly MKM have been guiding the clients through the challenges of operating in this new environment and successfully servicing many entities in various sectors and industries from all over the UAE for many years.”

In the UAE, Baker Tilly MKM has seven offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jebel Ali, DIFC, and Sharjah. It plans to open UAE’s eighth office in Ras Al Khaimah this year, he said.

“We are confident our relationships have been maintained through trust, confidence and well-valued expertise,” Krishnamurthi said.

Singh emphasised on the huge potential of the Middle East as it is the land of opportunities. “Still the region has substantial development to undertake, more specifically to create industrialisation and provide employment. Our current group practice is of over $ 10 million, we want to grow to $ 50 million practice in the next couple of years,” he said.

Singh added that he has plans to attract huge amounts of FDI in the region for new business ventures and industries including down-stream petrochemical companies and other industrial venture from Europe, the US and Asia. This is the specialisation of the group as Just and Fair International Consultants is the premier manufacturing advisory practice, he said.

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