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UAE - Economy

Emilio Pera

CEO and Senior Partner, KPMG Lower Gulf (UAE & Oman)

Bio

Emilio Pera is CEO and Senior Partner at KPMG Lower Gulf (UAE & Oman).

“KPMG in the lower Gulf has been in the UAE for 50 years, having started operations with our first office in Abu Dhabi in 1973.”
TBY talks to Emilio Pera, CEO and Senior Partner at KPMG Lower Gulf (UAE & Oman), about the role of the company in the UAE, disruptive technology, and the country’s economic vision.
How have the quality of audits evolved over time, and how do they play an important part in the UAE?

KPMG in the lower Gulf has been in the UAE for 50 years, having started operations with our first office in Abu Dhabi in 1973. We have played an integral part in the history of the UAE and are honored to have witnessed and supported the UAE’s transformational growth. As a professional services firm, we have performed a critical role in providing positive assurance to capital markets in the jurisdictions that we operate in. We operate across all key industries within both the public and private sectors in the UAE. With the increasing demands on the profession in recent years, especially with the introduction of new audit and accounting standards, we have significantly invested in specialist resources, such as IT audit and real estate valuation specialists. We also continuously invest in the latest technologies to enhance our audits to optimal levels as clients become more technology enabled in their businesses.

What are KPMG’s views on disruptive new technologies and the role they play on the UAE?

With organizations becoming more technology enabled, cyber threats and cybersecurity have come to the forefront. To respond to this need, we are continuously upskilling our teams to equip them with tools to assess our clients’ risk environment and profile. This means increasing our capabilities around all IT platforms and solutions. In the realm of disruptive technologies, we have partnered with G42 in Abu Dhabi to enable organizations to develop their digital transformation strategies. By partnering with such technology firms, we have been able to co-develop products, such as data mesh, so that the organisations can start using data as a product. Such technologies provide us with opportunities to lead the market by offering solutions directly to our clients, or alternatively, to partners.

What industries does KPMG mainly serve as a consulting firm, and how does it promote ESG initiatives across them?

We operate across all key business sectors in the UAE. With COP28 being hosted in the UAE in 2023, dubbed the Year of Sustainability, the ESG agenda has become an enormous focal point for the country and for us as a firm. KPMG globally invested more than USD1.5 billion in ESG issues, partly for training and educating our own people. The E in ESG represents the environmental element to businesses. With the global shift towards sustainability reporting, we believe that sustainable growth is the only way to build a successful business and have a lasting impact on society. In order to inform a robust ESG strategy, we have a team of experts who investigate a business’s ESG maturity and ambition, adopt circular economy practices, compare it with the ESG landscape, and help craft a compelling ESG story. Cutting across industries, our ESG services are multifaceted from Financial Services, Debt Advisory, sustainable supply chains, ESG assurance, ESG reporting and Inclusion, Diversity and Equity strategy. Within KPMG, we consistently aim to maintain a sustainable and cohesive place to work through proactive diversity and inclusion initiatives. Our Emiratization program is a strategic priority for KPMG, and we are well ahead of the targets set by the Government. Moreover, we aim to have 10% Emiratis be a part of the firm’s headcount by 2026. We are also proud to have signed the pledge with the UAE Gender Balance Council to achieve 30% representation of women in middle and senior management roles by 2030. We are well underway with this goal, currently standing at 28%.

What gaps does KPMG aim to fill in the diverse industries in 2023, and how does it align its values with the country’s economic vision?

The UAE has a proven track record of introducing innovative government policies to influence a culture of positive change. A good example of this is Expo 2020 Dubai, which brought together more than 190 countries to discuss globally imperative issues such as sustainability. We take a keen interest in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, which serves as a roadmap for the emirate’s economic vision to shift its reliance on oil and make Abu Dhabi a sustainable city. Its aims of economic diversification, an empowered private sector, a growing knowledge economy and optimization of the emirate’s resources are areas we are honored to be working with many government entities to make this Vision a reality. His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai also recently launched the Dubai Economic Agenda ‘D33,’ a set of goals to double the size of Dubai’s economy in the next 10 years. With a longstanding and strong relationship with Dubai-based entities, we continue to support the city to become an even greater source of economic growth for the next 10 years, as we have done in the past 50 years. As a professional services firm, KPMG has a key role to play as a knowledge partner and a broader market thought leader. We are committed to working with the private and public sector to deliver the latest research, while engaging with the industry through innovative technologies to keep abreast of the changing environment and fulfil the social and economic priorities of the country.

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