The alternative issue

Perspectives

ME PoV Summer 2014 issue

The alternative issue

The Summer 2014 issue tackles several hot issues: from auditing alternative investments, the social progress index, and technology in the public sector, to capital efficiencies in the workplace, private projects management and much more.

About this issue

“Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternative.” So said famously Maurice Chevalier, French actor and singer. Used to denote anything that is different, on the fringes, unorthodox and unconventional such as the “alternative arts scene,” or “alternative medicine” or a fallback plan (“what’s the alternative?”) the term has a more negative, rather than positive, connotation. Witness the alternative option that Maurice Chevalier notes!

Understandably, stepping out of one’s comfort zone to embrace that which is not the norm can be difficult for even the most ardent adventurers among us. But alternative also denotes change, options and with change and options comes opportunity and progress. Just think of the alternative if Thomas Edison, for example, chose to stay in his zone of comfort and not embrace the unconventional.

Click the link on the left to access the Summer 2014 issue. Alternatively, you can read each article separately by clicking below.

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Breaking the mold

Over the past five years investors have developed an increased appetite for alternative investments, due largely to their desire and eagerness to achieve high returns with less vulnerability as to the market risk and high volatility associated with quoted stocks. Accordingly, regulators and auditors are acknowledging the risks associated with such non-traditional investments that present a challenge for both, the investor and the auditor alike.

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Capital Efficiencies in the workplace

The global economic outlook over the last five years has created a change in the spending patterns of clients and their prioritization of capital expenditure. Cash remains tight and the business case for any capital investment has to be particularly robust for it to be considered. For projects already approved or even under construction, scrutiny on expenditure is ever greater and there is a new mindset of extracting as much as possible from the minimum level of investment: the Capital Efficiency process.

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Technology gone mad?

In wanting to provide consumer-centric and efficient services, the public sector is adopting new technology services and implementing new IT solutions to achieve its strategic objectives. But the challenges abound.

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Social progress

The Social Progress Imperative, a collaborative effort from across countries, disciplines and sectors has for mission “to improve the quality of lives of people around the world, particularly the least well off, by advancing social progress.” They have recently launched the Social Progress Index (SPI) for the second year running in which they ranked 132 countries, including eight from the MENA region. So how does the region fare? In this insert, in which we have included the results of the survey, two of our authors, Steve Almond, chairman of the Global Board at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and a member of the board of the Social Progress Imperative and Rashid Bashir, partner, head of Strategy Consulting at Deloitte Middle East, discuss the importance of the SPI for countries in general, and businesses in particular.

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Saving Private Project

With capital spending now at US$11-12 trillion annually, with a growth of 10 percent or more expected in the next few years, it seems the lull in spending across the globe was short-lived. But as “bigger and better” becomes the new maxim, and companies are investing heavily in capital projects again, managers are facing significant challenges in keeping spending and schedule under control.

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Disrupting the CHRO

If you are old enough to have known anyone in charge of a corporation’s finances in the 1970s, he might not have worn a green eyeshade, but he was assuredly relegated to the back office, focused on accounting, controls, and preparing financial and tax statements. Fast-forward to today, and the role has evolved into something deserving of the high-ranking title of “chief financial officer,” so influential in major decision making that it is now considered among the most important in an organization’s C-suite. So how did the money counter transform into one of the CEO’s closest partners in driving business strategy?

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