ICAI Dubai’s 41st annual conference triumphs with global thought leaders

Industry giants and renowned speakers converge for a two-day celebration of vision, sustainability, and innovation

By Kushmita Bose

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Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan at the ICAI Dubai annual international conference. He commended the event as a platform for professional growth and reaffirmation of shared values.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan at the ICAI Dubai annual international conference. He commended the event as a platform for professional growth and reaffirmation of shared values.

Published: Fri 12 Jan 2024, 3:12 PM

The ICAI Dubai Chapter organised its highly anticipated two-day annual international conference on December 9 and 10 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Dubai Exhibition Centre. The event was a convergence of esteemed guests, influential speakers, and industry leaders, providing a platform for insightful discussions, knowledge-sharing, and networking.

It’s impressive to note the significant participation of 1,081 members from the chapter in the 41st annual conference, which had the theme ‘Confluence of Vision, Sustainability and Innovation’ and spanned over two days offering 12 CPE hours.

Harikishan Rankawat addressing the conference in Dubai recently. — SUPPLIED PHOTOS.
Harikishan Rankawat addressing the conference in Dubai recently. — SUPPLIED PHOTOS.

The conference reached new heights by hosting distinguished personalities from various fields, making it a truly impactful and memorable event with chief guest Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence; guests of honours Padma Vibhushan awardee Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of Art of Living; Aniket Sunil Talati, president at ICAI; Faizal Kottikollon, chairman, KEF Holdings; speakers Padma Shri awardee Mohan Das Pai, chairman, Aarin Capital; Padma Shri awardee Anupam Kher, Bollywood actor, director and producer, and other globally renowned speakers.

This event draws inspiration from the diverse perspectives shared on the dynamic intersection of vision, sustainability, and innovation within the ever-evolving landscape of chartered accountancy. The inaugural day served as a cornerstone, underscoring the significance of visionary leadership, resilience in adversity, the risk-to-reward dynamics inherent in the equity game, and the transformative impact of digitisation in finance and innovative approaches in accountancy. The stage for this intellectually stimulating event was set by luminaries such as Sri Ravi Shankar, who shared profound insights on overcoming life challenges. Chetan Bhagat offered a unique perspective on the ‘11 Rules of Life’, while Hardik Seth delved into the realm of automation in finance.

Cheenu Gupta, with his practical wisdom, added depth to the discourse. As the conference progressed into its second and concluding day, the discussions delved deeper into the evolving role of chartered accountants. The focus was on driving sustainable business practices, fostering innovation in financial management, and envisioning a future where the chartered accountancy profession played a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable and resilient global economy.

In summary, each speaker and contributor at the ICAI Dubai Chapter’s annual international conference left an indelible mark. Their insights, delivered with passion and expertise, offered attendees a wealth of knowledge and inspiration across various facets of finance, sustainability, and taxation. The conference served as a nexus of ideas, collaboration, and personal growth, leaving a profound and lasting impact on the professional journeys of all who attended. It was a true celebration of wisdom and music, making it a conference to remember.

Sheikh Nahyan seeks balance financial bottomline with societal and environmental costs and benefits

Sheikh Nahyan at the ICAI Dubai annual international conference celebrated the enduring India-UAE relationship. He commended the event as a platform for professional growth and reaffirmation of shared values.

The conference’s theme, focusing on vision, action, sustainability, and innovation, received praise. The chief guest emphasised the triple bottom line—financial, societal, and environmental considerations and urged accountants to balance these factors.

He showcased the UAE’s commitment to sustainability, innovation, and economic diversification. The chief guest stressed collaboration for interdisciplinary innovation and the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

In conclusion, he expressed confidence in the accounting profession’s adaptability and urged upholding integrity, accuracy, and clarity. He hoped the conference would inspire improved accounting practices. The chief guest’s speech highlighted the importance of sustainability, innovation, and professional integrity.

Sri Ravi Shankar emphasising resilience and inner strength

The recent conference hosted by the ICAI Dubai took a remarkable turn with the presence of spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. His participation elevated the event, imbuing it with a spiritual and humanitarian dimension that transcended the usual discussions of finance and sustainability.

Ravi Shankar’s discourse on resilience in adversity resonated deeply with the attendees, leaving a profound impact on their hearts and minds. With wisdom and grace, he underscored the paramount importance of maintaining inner composure and strength when confronted with life’s myriad challenges.

What captivated the audience was Ravi Shankar’s unique ability to seamlessly blend ancient wisdom with the complexities of contemporary life. His teachings provided a fresh perspective on how individuals can navigate the modern world while staying firmly rooted in timeless principles of inner strength and resilience.

The influence of his address extended far beyond the conference hall. It left an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to witness it. Attendees departed with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of the critical role mental and emotional well-being plays in achieving professional success.

In an event primarily focused on finance and sustainability, Ravi Shankar’s presence added a transformative dimension, reminding us all of the profound impact inner strength and resilience can have on both our personal and professional lives.

Aniket Talati’s visionary leadership shines at ICAI conference

The conference witnessed an enlightening presentation by its president Aniket Talati. His address not only informed attendees but also showcased his unwavering commitment to advancing the field of chartered accountancy.

Talati assumed a central role in elucidating the institute’s multifaceted initiatives, providing attendees with a comprehensive view of the ever-evolving landscape of the accounting profession. His leadership within ICAI was palpable, reinforcing his dedication to propelling the profession to greater heights. He outlined the institute’s strategic vision, highlighting initiatives aimed at fostering professional development, ethical conduct, and excellence in the field.

A standout moment of Talati’s presentation was his focus on the pivotal role of technology in reshaping the future of accounting. He discussed how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain are poised to revolutionise the profession. He emphasised the need for accountants to adapt and embrace these innovations to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving field.

Throughout his address, Talati’s passion for the accounting profession and his dedication to its advancement were unmistakable. His speech served as a powerful call to action, urging attendees to actively engage in shaping the future of chartered accountancy. He underscored the profession’s core values of integrity and professionalism, reminding everyone of their collective responsibility to uphold these principles.

Talati’s visionary leadership and his inspiring address at the conference left attendees with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of the dynamic changes and opportunities that lie ahead in the field of chartered accountancy.

Sustainability and innovation are the foundations for future growth

Rankawat, in his capacity as the chairman of the ICAI Dubai Chapter, played a pivotal role in setting the conference’s overarching theme of sustainability. His words resonated with authority and conviction, underscoring sustainability not merely as a buzzword but as a shared responsibility that demands unwavering commitment.

Rankawat’s visionary leadership and dedication to integrating sustainability into the realm of chartered accountancy were unmistakable. He emphasised the importance of aligning financial systems with environmental responsibility, compelling attendees to consider sustainability as an integral part of their professional ethos.

Rankawat’s dedication to this cause was apparent in his tireless efforts to bring together thought leaders and experts who could shed light on the multifaceted aspects of sustainability. His commitment went beyond mere rhetoric; it translated into concrete actions that reflected his belief in the power of collective action to address pressing global challenges.

As attendees absorbed Rankawat’s insights, they couldn’t help but feel inspired and motivated to take proactive steps in their professional lives towards promoting sustainability. His vision extended beyond the conference, aiming to leave a lasting impact on the field of chartered accountancy by infusing it with a heightened sense of environmental responsibility.

Experts illuminate financial horizons at the conference

The keynote address by the guest of honour, Faizal Kottikollon, chairman of KEF Holding, at the conference centered on industry trends and emerging opportunities. His insights, expansive and forward-looking, provided a strategic roadmap for attendees, guiding them through the intricate landscape of business and finance.

Kottikollon’s profound understanding of diverse sectors, including real estate and infrastructure, added depth to the conference. He meticulously outlined the challenges and opportunities facing these industries, offering attendees a panoramic view of potential growth avenues and avenues for innovation.

Moreover, Kottikollon’s commitment to sustainable practices within the business world resonated with the overarching theme of the conference. He stressed the importance of responsible corporate citizenship and the need for businesses to align their strategies with environmental and social sustainability.

The conference, a veritable gathering of luminaries from the financial world, left attendees enthralled by a wealth of knowledge and insights shared by renowned experts in their respective fields.

Hardik Seth, partner and director, Boston Consulting Group, US presented on digitisation in finance and accounting was nothing short of visionary. His insights, delivered with precision and depth, illuminated the transformative potential of technology in these domains, signaling the dawn of a new era in digital financial transformation.

Cheenu Gupta, fund manager (Equity), HSBC, presented on ‘Risk to Reward, Mastering the Equity Game’ was a masterclass in navigating the intricate labyrinth of financial markets. Her wealth of knowledge, conveyed with meticulous clarity, armed attendees with invaluable tools for making informed investment decisions.

Bikash Prasad, president and Group CFO, Olam Agri, emphasised on the pivotal role of accountants and CFOs in sustainability resonated as a clarion call for financial professionals. His presentation, brimming with insights and practical wisdom, underscored the imperative of driving sustainable practices within organisations, forging a path toward a more responsible and resilient future.

Mohan Das Pai, a luminary in the business world, captivated insights into the ‘India Success Story’ provided attendees with a ringside view of the nation’s remarkable evolution as a global powerhouse. His narrative, intricately woven with India’s economic and technological journey, left a lasting impression.

Ankur Aggarwal, CEO and founder, Bricks n Wood Real Estate, vividly portrayed the transformative moments and challenges within the real estate industry offered a multifaceted perspective. His presentation, enriched with real-world experiences, unveiled the dynamic landscape of the sector, giving attendees insight into the forces shaping its future.

Devita Saraf, chairman and CEO, the Vu Group, addressed on the ‘Power of Vision, Turning Dreams into Reality’ served as an inspirational tour de force. Her words, delivered with unwavering conviction, ignited a spark within attendees, motivating them to pursue their dreams with unyielding determination.

The conference, featuring these distinguished speakers, provided a platform for attendees to expand their horizons, gain fresh perspectives, and arm themselves with the knowledge needed to navigate the complex world of finance and investments. The collective expertise and wisdom shared by these luminaries will undoubtedly resonate with those fortunate enough to have been in attendance, leaving a lasting impact on their professional journeys.

Discussion explores interplay of finance, sustainability, and taxation

During a thought-provoking panel session, senior partners from the Big 4 explored the issues and challenges of finance, sustainability, and taxation. The session was moderated by Abbas Ali Mirza, chairman of the 21st session of ISAR/UNCTAD at the UN and author of 15 books on IFRS. He provided attendees with invaluable insights into the dynamic relationship between these pivotal domains.

The panel discussion, enriched by the collective wisdom and expertise of these industry leaders, offered a unique opportunity for attendees to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnected nature of finance, sustainability, and taxation. It underscored the importance of informed decision-making in an increasingly complex global landscape and left attendees with invaluable insights to navigate the intricate dynamics of these vital domains.

Anthony O’Sullivan, managing partner at EY UAE, contributed to the panel discussion with his years of experience under his belt and added layers of complexity and nuance to the discourse. His comprehensive insights shed light on the multifaceted interplay between finance, sustainability, and taxation, leaving attendees with a deeper understanding of these critical intersections.

Olga Earmolaeva, tax director at Deloitte, provided the perspective on taxation and its symbiotic relationship with sustainability brought a fresh dimension to the discussion. Her expertise illuminated the intricacies of tax implications within the context of sustainable practices, providing attendees with a novel lens through which to perceive these critical domains.

Omar Saraswala, partner at PWC ME, enriched the panel discussion, fostering a holistic exploration of their interdependence. His insights delved into the complex challenges and opportunities that arise when striving for a harmonious balance between financial objectives and environmental responsibility.

Celebrity talks by actor Anupam Kher and author Chetan Bhagat

The conference witnessed the magnetic presence of Bollywood legend Anupam Kher and celebrated author Chetan Bhagat. Their sessions provided attendees with a unique blend of charisma and wisdom.

Rankawat moderated the session of Kher. Kher’s captivating conversation with Rankawat was a magnetic force, drawing attendees into a world of anecdotes and profound insights. Beyond entertainment, his talk offered a deep reflection on life’s journey. Sharing his experiences in the world of cinema, Kher’s ability to connect with the audience on a personal level made his celebrity talk both memorable and enriching.

Bhagat known for his literary prowess provided a delightful fusion of entertainment and enlightenment and presented a unique perspective on the ‘11 Rules of Life’. His celebrity talk was a tapestry of wisdom, humor, and relatable storytelling. Bhagat’s unique talent for communicating complex ideas through relatable stories left a lasting impact, inspiring attendees to explore new perspectives and possibilities.

Grand finale: Live concert by B Praak

The ICAI Dubai Chapter’s annual international conference concluded on a high note with a star-studded lineup of celebrity talks and a grand musical finale, leaving attendees with memories of a truly unforgettable event.

The conference’s grand finale featured a live concert by the exceptionally talented B Praak, transforming the event into a musical extravaganza.

B Praak’s musical performance electrified the atmosphere, leaving attendees enthralled and exhilarated. His dynamic and energetic show served as the perfect crescendo to the conference, infusing a spirit of celebration and unity among the over 2,000 participants who immersed themselves in the festivities.


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