ME PoV Spring 2017 issue


ME PoV Spring 2017 issue

Closer than we think

About this issue

We may one day be able to explain the upsets, or Black Swans, that characterized so much of 2016. After all, there is very little that physics, coupled with hindsight, cannot explain: as Newton’s third law states, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. A physicist may rightly observe that our countries seem to be moving further and further apart, much like the galaxies in the universe. The question is… well the question is another story.

A recent advertisement for a Danish television station proffers that we tend to categorize ourselves into distinct boxes based on what we do or how much we earn or where we come from. But what if we were asking the wrong questions? What if we were to classify ourselves, and each other, based on our relationships, our activities, our likes and dislikes? We would probably find, concludes the ad, that we share more in common than we think.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Director, Christine Lagarde at the World Economic Forum in January was quoted as saying: “If the disruptions that we are expecting in 2017 as a result of what has happened in 2016 prove to be all negative then we’ll end up in a race to the bottom on the tax front, on the trade front, on the financial regulation front […] It would be a really big Black Swan with devastating effects.” Our articles in this issue of Middle East Point of View say otherwise and confirm that, were we to ask the right questions, we would point to a world that is nearing closer together rather than growing apart. At least when it comes to taxation!

Collin Keeney (ISO 37001 has been enacted), Alex Law and Claire Dawson (It’s all in the prep) all point to financial institutions that are working together to combat tax evasion, bribery and corruption through ISO certifications and the Common Reporting Standard. “We hope,” says Keeney, “that [the involvement of MENA region countries in crafting the ISO 37001 certification] signals a heightened commitment to transparency and accountability.” Law and Dawson also point to a host of MENA region countries that have agreed to sign up for CRS (Common Reporting Standard), dubbed the “Global FATCA.”

These tax and banking matters will highly affect family businesses in the region say Fiona McClafferty and Yasmine Omari (New Year resolutions for families in business.) The introduction of CRS, along with Value Added Tax (VAT) will “have a dual impact [meaning] that families in business have even more reason […] to prioritize the formalizing and restructuring of their business affairs,” say the authors.

Competency is another theme that recurs in this edition of MEPOV. Richard Barrett takes issue with schools and universities that value knowledge over competency (Competent or merely well informed?) in an age where competency in the workplace is better rewarded than knowledge. Ghassan Turqieh, Joana Abou Jaoude and Hanna Aoun agree. In their article Reward me, reward me not…they say: “the challenges faced by employees and employers generally […] center on the need for new competencies, a changing workforce and changing performance metrics.”

Talking of performance, Rajeev Lalwani and Syed Ammar Zaheer look at the benefits of schedule management. “Because we don’t get anything immediate out of schedule management, we associate it with an invisible jail cell that always feels restrictive[…]In reality, schedule management can free us to have more fun, more money, greater success in relationships and more “kick the can” type of days.” They outline the solution to this problem in their article Scheduling the impossible.

Akshay Lamba identifies the challenges faced by Chief Information Officers in today’s disruptive world; Ben Hughes assesses the construction market in the region for 2017; Munish Mohendroo explains the merits of an asset-based approach to valuing businesses; all in the hope of continually asking the right questions in order to find the right answers.

Because in the end, we are all closer than we think.

Closer than we think

ISO 37001 has been enacted

Companies can now officially receive ISO certification for their anti-bribery and corruption (ABAC) compliance programs. 

What ISO 37001 does is normalize the wide variety of competing and overlapping guidance from international regulators and agencies into an auditable set of ABAC policies and controls.

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It’s all in the prep

Ethical tax is becoming increasingly topical as more of us become international citizens–living, working and investing in multinational jurisdictions and giving rise to more complex tax and reporting obligations. How will the Automatic Exchange of Information and Common Reporting Standard affect residents in the GCC?

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New Year resolutions for families in business (and their advisors)

The year 2017 is going to be a busy one for many business families in the Middle East as they prepare, not only for the effects of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) but also that of Value Added Tax (VAT). This dual impact means that families in business have even more reason (if any were ever needed) to prioritize the formalizing and restructuring of their business affairs.

Click here to read the full article

Competent or merely well informed?

Many employers use competency as a measure to recruit employees. So why do schools and universities still value knowledge over competency? And how does the region compare?

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Reward me, reward me not…

It has since proven to be of vital importance in the workplace as it gained both, a managerial and a financial angle. More recently, this topic has reached a new level of complexity and importance in light of the mounting pressure that organizations are facing due to the ever-changing dynamics of the workplace, the shifting characteristics of the workforce and the strategic shift from a traditional process-driven performance management system into an agile, people-driven one.

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With a little help from my friends

There are two varied forms of industrial complexes in business today–one, asset-heavy and driven by maximization of utilization; the other, asset-light and driven by scale. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) today have a similar technology construct to manage–large-scale, asset-heavy enterprise systems that are built to address complex business processes on the one hand, and agile new age technology stack like cloud, digital, analytics and Internet of Things (IOT) on the other. How do they do it?

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Construction 2017: A positive market outlook?

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), GDP growth across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to have reached 1.9 percent by the end of December 2016. In 2017, it is forecast to increase to 2.3 percent. This growth is a reflection of a stabile oil price and increased market confidence, underpinned by strategic initiatives aimed at reducing oil dependency, such as Vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia.

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Reading between the lines

Tangible assets form the core of many companies’ balance sheets. These include real property (such as land, building, improvements) and personal property (including machinery, equipment, motor vehicles, furniture, computer equipment, etc.)

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Scheduling the impossible

Thousands of pages have been written on schedule management that include theories, books and reports and hundreds of training courses and workshops that are conducted on the subject every year. And yet people generally avoid implementing even a small portion of this technique into their working and personal lives although it has been proven to increase productivity. We estimate that the majority of corporate professionals struggle with the theory of schedule management and find scheduling tools abhorrent. Why is that? And what can be done to overcome it?

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