,United Arab Emirates

Crowe UAE’s founder is one of this year’s judges at Middle East International Business Awards

Dr. Khalid Maniar’s advice for businesses amidst the challenging environment is: “Whatever you do, do not hold back!”

As the founder and managing partner of Crowe UAE, Dr. Khalid Maniar continues to help the company grow as a multidisciplinary practice that guides global organisations to make smart decisions.

As an active audit partner, he follows the highest professional standards set by the UAE Ministry of Economy and IAASB. He also played an active role in the succession planning of large family-owned businesses, bringing lasting value. 

Khalid lives by the saying, “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. According to him, this is not just a quote, but a way of life. 

“It may be relevant to our career or business, but it applies to all aspects of life. If you enjoy innovation, you will find yourself ahead of the curve. If your colleagues enjoy digital transformation because you have trained them well, you will find they adapt quickly. So whatever you do, do not hold back!” he said in an interview with Asian Business Review.

As one of the judges in the inaugural Middle East International Business Awards, he shared his knowledge on the important business trends in the region and how companies can overcome the crisis.

Can you share with us your work experience or a backstory that has contributed to your expertise? 

My professional journey started in the UK, where I trained and qualified as a Certified Chartered Accountant. I had the good fortune to move to Dubai in 1981 and there has been no looking back. Thanks to the excellent infrastructure of the UAE, today I am the managing partner of the firm I started as a sole practitioner. We are currently serving more than 1,000 clients annually; thanks to our more than 20 partners and directors and 200 professional colleagues.

What is the most important business trend that has emerged in the past year, in terms of innovating internal practices and strategies? 

Digital Transformation. This has not only changed how we do business, but what business we do. At Crowe, our subject matter experts keep up with the latest innovations so you may focus on doing what you do best. Making smart decisions by understanding the latest market trends and ensuring that your supply chain is always reactive to global changes. Be it due to factors that are not in your control.

What key factors are you looking for when judging who should win? 

There are a number of criteria, but the focus is a healthy balance of financial and non-financial performance. This enables us to ensure that we provide adequate weightage to those who are working relentlessly for the betterment of others without expectation of gains. Adoption of digital technology is very important as the pandemic has encouraged us to think outside the box and work together, as one. This means we are working with people, not just in our region, but across the globe. And of course, no factor is without healthy innovation. Unless we continue to love innovation, we risk being obsolete.

The impact of the pandemic lingers within and outside of the Middle East, what would be your advice to companies that are still in the early stages of recovery? 

My advice is that we are still not out of the pandemic. Yes, thanks to modern science, we have made great progress. One piece of advice is to stick to your core competency; and continue to innovate and develop business sustainability strategies. This can be achieved at a greater pace if the above criteria are applied both accurately and appropriately. Core competencies will allow you to explore opportunities with greater depth and breadth.

What are the challenges that will likely be faced by businesses moving forward? 

The challenge will be retaining talent today to adapt to tomorrow’s needs. Several businesses which were successful yesterday do not exist today. The reason is that they did not keep up with the times. One way to continue to develop and grow is to ensure that the talent you retain is always updated with the latest regulations and developments. This keeps them motivated and ensures your organisation is agile.

How should they prepare for these kinds of uncertainties? 

Investing in technology and training to deliver service excellence in all aspects. I cannot emphasise here the service excellence. It is of paramount importance. Unless we do things in an excellent manner, we risk being left behind by the competition. Yes, it is important that we consider all aspects that may impact our business considering uncertainty. For that, we need to always remain agile and stay on the move.

In what ways can companies set themselves apart from their competition? 

Do not fear what you do not know – adapt! Often, companies that have been taken over or indeed overtaken by their peers are not because they were not providing the best service. That’s granted. It’s because they did not explore the unknown. There  is a possibility to be left behind if we do not reach out to the unknown. So be it new markets, new customers, new products, or even a new way of providing service, make sure you adapt. Remember, if you don’t do it, your competitor will.

What are some of your hobbies? Can you tell us more about them? 

Well-being in all aspects is very close to my heart. I am enjoying a balance of everything. From daily exercise and yoga to eating right and spending time with family. These simple things help me refresh and re-energise for the next working day. Balance is key to life as it is to business. You will find that most people who are successful have a balanced approach to healthy living. Enjoy what you do but also ensure to dedicate your time and effort to what matters the most.

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