New Age Finance and Accounting Summit reveals that leading with AI is impacting frontiers in finance

Finance leaders salute the pivotal role of women in championing diversity and inclusion

by

Leslie Wilson Jr

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From left: Moderator Fadi Sabbah, CFA, Director of Finance at Al Futtaim Group Real Estate; Panelists Nauman Asif Mian, CFO at Bayt.com; Susana Correia, Head of Search & Staffing MENA at LinkedIn Talent Solutions; and Joe Robinson, Head of Professional Services Recruitment-KSA at Robert Walters, during the Panel Discussion: Driving Transformational Excellence Through Upskilling Finance Functions at the New Age Finance and Accounting Summit 2024 organized by Khaleej Times, held at Kempinski Central Avenue, Dubai. Photo by Muhammad Sajjad
From left: Moderator Fadi Sabbah, CFA, Director of Finance at Al Futtaim Group Real Estate; Panelists Nauman Asif Mian, CFO at Bayt.com; Susana Correia, Head of Search & Staffing MENA at LinkedIn Talent Solutions; and Joe Robinson, Head of Professional Services Recruitment-KSA at Robert Walters, during the Panel Discussion: Driving Transformational Excellence Through Upskilling Finance Functions at the New Age Finance and Accounting Summit 2024 organized by Khaleej Times, held at Kempinski Central Avenue, Dubai. Photo by Muhammad Sajjad

Published: Wed 29 May 2024, 10:12 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 May 2024, 10:07 AM

Informative keynote speeches, riveting panel discussions and the exploration of emerging trends were all part of an unmissable New Age Finance and Accounting Summit which was organized by Khaleej Times at the Kempinski Central Avenue in Dubai on Wednesday.

The event brought together some of the most diverse and leading industry experts, financial analysts and finance gurus to explore the future intricacies of corporate finance and banking.


Speakers and panellists engaged in constructive dialogues, addressing the new-age intricacies and challenges that must be confronted to help reshape the volatile financial landscape of today and tomorrow.

As the term ‘New Age’ suggested the focus was on the innovative approaches and cutting-edge practices that are currently reshaping the financial world. Attendees were treated to evocative discussions on topics such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, digital transformation and sustainability which are all vigorously impacting today’s finance and accounting.


This summit also provides a platform for professionals to share insights, network, and gain valuable knowledge that will help them stay ahead in the rapidly evolving financial industry.

In his illuminating opening address Ravi, Tharoor, CEO of Khaleej Times noted that the current world of finance was driven by continuous innovation and technology and that ‘we are compelled to refine and redefine our traditional roles and responsibilities.’

“To begin this journey let’s delve into the transformative power of the track-driven CFO industry seeking profound insights into what the future holds for those who embrace AI, or artificial intelligence, (and question) does AI have the power to revolutionise decision making, efficiency and strategic foresight or is it just temporarily overstated. That’s a big question,” he said.

“We will strive to unravel the intricate ways in which Artificial intelligence and machine learning are reshaping the daily tasks of accountants and driving financial and technological excellence like never before.

From left: Moderator Gavin Maxwell, Partner at EY-MENA; Panelists Tamer Abomosalam, Group Chief Financial Officer at Emaratech; Srivatsan Chari, Co-Founder of ClearTax; Amel Chouikh, Head of Finance for France, Middle East, and Africa at Uber; Kamar Sarakbi, Director of Finance and MENA Finance Project Lead at L'Oréal Middle East; and Shereen Chalak Maalouf, CFO of Microsoft UAE, during the panel discussion 'Strategic Finance in the Digital Age: AI and Machine Learning and the Transformation of Financial Decision-Making' at the New Age Finance and Accounting Summit 2024 organized by Khaleej Times, held at Kempinski Central Avenue, Dubai. Photo by Muhammad Sajjad
From left: Moderator Gavin Maxwell, Partner at EY-MENA; Panelists Tamer Abomosalam, Group Chief Financial Officer at Emaratech; Srivatsan Chari, Co-Founder of ClearTax; Amel Chouikh, Head of Finance for France, Middle East, and Africa at Uber; Kamar Sarakbi, Director of Finance and MENA Finance Project Lead at L'Oréal Middle East; and Shereen Chalak Maalouf, CFO of Microsoft UAE, during the panel discussion "Strategic Finance in the Digital Age: AI and Machine Learning and the Transformation of Financial Decision-Making" at the New Age Finance and Accounting Summit 2024 organized by Khaleej Times, held at Kempinski Central Avenue, Dubai. Photo by Muhammad Sajjad

“Our goal, and collective aspiration, is to serve as a guiding beacon wherein CFOs must realize the importance of harnessing automated data for informed decision making ultimately leading their organisations into a future defined by agility innovation and success,” concluded Tharoor.

Tharoor left the stage open for the speakers and panellists to discuss and showcase the latest trends, software and tools and the integration of technology in the digital age.

In his opening Keynote Presentation titled ‘Tomorrow’s CFO: Navigating the Future of Finance and Accounting,’ Adib Zoghbi, Global CFO - Enterprise Customer Solutions, Baker Hughes said: “The rapid scaling of AI signifies a paradigm shift in how we approach data, insights and decision making.

“In the age of AI agility, adaptability and transformative technologies are no longer optional they are imperative for staying ahead in the competitive landscape as our ability to harness AI’s potential will define the success as we navigate towards more challenging opportunities.

“The reality is that AI isn’t just a tool, it’s a transformational force that has the potential to redefine the role of CFOs profoundly. Those who embrace AI technologies gain a competitive edge leveraging data-driven insights efficiency agility and informed decision-making,” he added.

Armin Moradi, Founder and CEO of Qashio, a comprehensive spend management platform for businesses to manage expenses, and payments with integrated corporate cards and accounts, said the New Age Finance and Accounting Summit had an important role to play in today’s business landscape.

“This event is very good as it gathers finance leaders in one place where they can have engaging topics and conversations that help progress the most senior people in the role to take the necessary actions to move the country forward,” he said.

“Great minds no longer think alike, they think differently. They have access to new information and new technology and they can make the best decision to move the business forward.

“The most important message that I would like to give is to make sure you organize your financial health whatever that means for your organisation because it’s the lifeline and lifeblood of your organization,” Moradi added.

Tamer Abomosalam, Group Chief Financial Officer. Emaratech, a leading technology and management consulting company owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai,, said he was happy to see that people in the industry were in harmony.

“It gives you the confidence when you know that everybody is on the right track depends on where you are on the roadmap whether you are,” he said. “It gives you comfort to know that you’re thinking right.

“That you’re not the only one there and that everyone has the same challenges, the same feelings at a subjective level. The key forward is to cross that bridge and to collaborate with different generations,”

Fadi Sabbah, CFA, Director - Finance, Al Futtaim Group Real Estate, who moderated the panel discussion ‘Driving Transformational Excellence Through Upskilling Finance Functions’ believed that the summit offered positive feedback that the top executives from leading companies ‘will take back to their team members and transfer that knowledge to good use.’

Arun Sadagopan, Sales Director, MEA for Jedoxsaid it was ‘great to be once again part of the NAFA Summit in Dubai.’

“We are continuously seeing that businesses are experiencing unprecedented levels of disruption and impact from several global trends. More than ever, Finance leaders need to support the business to balance the need to protect short-term margin and drive long-term growth – balancing between data-driven planning and cross-organizational reporting and collaboration” he said. “We were delighted to meet all the delegates and discuss how Jedox technology can provide the agility needed to thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape.”

Shereen Chalak Maalouf, CFO of Microsoft, moderated the panel discussion on ‘The pivotal role of women in Finance championing diversity’ and said: “Great event. I thought it was really inspiring to listen to everyone’s perspective and to connect with other professionals in various industries. “For me, the biggest takeaway is the fact that finance is constantly evolving and we are heading towards a very exciting and transformative stage. It’s a great place to be now.”

Maalouf also addressed the pivotal role of women in finance saying: “We are making good progress towards closing the gender gap and ensuring that we have more and more women CFOs to drive more diversity and inclusivity culture. This is very reassuring.”



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