KPMG books strong growth in the wider Middle East region

16 January 2018 5 min. read
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KPMG has over the past year booked strong growth in the wider Middle East region, according to the firm’s latest financial figures.

With approximately 7,500 professionals across 32 office locations in the Middle East, KPMG is one of the region’s largest professional services firms. Its services span the advisory landscape, from audit, assurance and accountancy to financial advisory, management consulting and technology implementation.

Data released by the firm for its MESA region – as KPMG’s calls the business unit which comprises its operations in 10 Middle East countries, including the Gulf Cooperation Council states, plus four South Asian countries* – reveals that the unit has seen strong growth over the past fiscal year. Across all functions, KPMG MESA, which launched over four decades ago, reported 12.7% growth in aggregated revenues – meaning that the region was one of KPMG’s fastest growing arms.

Globally, KPMG International today saw its network revenues grow by 5% (in local currency terms) to $26.4 billion for the fiscal year ending 30 September 2017, with the Americas booking growth of 4.4%, Asia Pacific 8.1% and the combined region for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMA) reporting 4.0% growth.KPMG books strong growth in wider Middle East regionWith the growth, KPMG MESA continues its strong run of results – last year the regional outfit also managed to lead the growth tables, however, it should be noted that MESA is in terms of headcount the company’s smallest region, roughly one fifth the size of Asia Pacific, and one tenth the size of its Americas business. Across all its geographies, KPMG nearly has 200,000 employees.

Middle East leading the growth tables

“MESA once again places as one of the fastest growing regions within the KPMG network. We see MESA as a high growth market and one which we will continue to invest in both globally and through our local member firms,” commented Bill Thomas, Chairman of KPMG International.

From a services perspective, Tax was KPMG MESA’s star performer, booking a staggering growth of 19% – globally, the tax business unit added 5.9% in fee income. Audit revenues increased by 13% (globally 3.1%), while Advisory ramped up sales by 11% (globally 6.0%). Among the fastest growing service lines (+20% growth) were two Advisory wings: Risk Consulting (which provides clients with risk consultancy, including governance and compliance services) and Deal Advisory (M&A advisory, corporate finance and transaction support).

Commenting on the performance, Abdullah Al Fozan, Chairman for KPMG Middle East and South Asia, as well as Chairman for KPMG Saudi Arabia, said “The year has been an exciting one as we continued to work alongside the region’s major transformation programmes, assisting numerous clients for the introduction of VAT and also in digitalisation programs for many regional conglomerates.”

The figures come at a time when the region as a whole is facing improving economic fortunes. Lifted by a booming Europe, and healthy Asia Pacific market, the MESA region – which sits in between the two economies – is leveraging its strategic position, in combination with its advanced logistical infrastructure, convenient market access and an investor friendly atmosphere, to play a growing part in the global trade chain.

The improving sentiment is also highlighted by Jamal Fakhro, KPMG’s Managing Partner for Bahrain, who stated; “As the challenging economic conditions are beginning to show signs of improvement, I believe there are a lot of business opportunities in the region, which we will continue to leverage. Businesses are still working to transform their operations to keep up with market disruption and developments, and it is for this reason that we continue to work closely with our clients to help them grow their business.”Quote Abdullah Al Fozan

Looking ahead, Al Fozan, who has been with KPMG since 2000, after joining from Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), said that the Big Four firm will continue to invest to consolidate its market leading position. “KPMG has ambitious plans for the region and will continue to build on its strengths in the year ahead in order to be seen as the clear choice for clients.”

Among the priority areas, KPMG MESA plans to ramp up its services in public sector transformation and healthcare, while the firm will also boost its digital footprint through investments in the cloud domain and the extension of global alliances into the Middle East, as happened with the Microsoft alliance last year.

“There are a lot of opportunities in the Middle East and South Asia regions as many economies continue to undergo transformation amidst disruption. This two and half trillion dollar regional economy is too large for global corporations to ignore,” remarked Thomas.

Vijay Malhotra, CEO and Chairman of KPMG in the Lower Gulf (UAE and Oman), added, “Equipped with new capabilities in data & analytics and additional talent, KPMG is poised to further contribute to the region’s transformation process.”

KPMG MESA’s leadership team

The execution of KPMG’s strategic roadmap is led by an eight person strong leadership team, consisting of Abdullah Al Fozan (Regional Chairman), Jamal Fakhro (Managing Partner of Bahrain), Safi Al-Mutawa (a Senior Partner in Kuwait), Hatem Montasser (Managing Partner of Egypt), Vijay Malhotra (Chairman for the Lower Gulf region), Suhael Ahmed (Chief Operating Officer and Head of Advisory), Reyaz Mihular (Managing Partner of Sri Lanka), and Husain Basrai (a Senior Partner in Pakistan).

Meanwhile, rival PwC also booked strong growth in the Middle East in FY17, up 8%, although it trailed KPMG MESA’s growth significantly, by around 5%.

* KPMG’s Middle East bases are located in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The South Asian practices that fall under MESA are the member firms in Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.