The FINANCIAL — “The year 2010 is the new stage for us, first we moved to the new office several days ago, moreover, we are starting recruiting new employees for Tbilisi and Tajikistan,” says Daniel Hilaire, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Georgia.
Grant Thornton Georgia, the part of Grant Thornton International, is a multi-professional group of public accountants and auditors, specialist advisers in finance, business and management, as well as tax and legal advisers operating in Georgia since 1999 year.
“Grant Thornton is operating in Georgia since 1999, when we first audited Tbilisi water utility. Second stage was to open an office in Georgia with first local people in 2005. Between 1999-2005 we used to come from France, England, and Armenia to do our work here, so there was no Georgian team.”
“Being audit is very good and interesting job, and is good training for business, individuals learn about many companies, one day you are evaluating water companies and the other day work in the central banks. Individuals cannot expect the better training if they plan to enter into the business world, its best school from business that anyone can expect to,” says Hilaire.
On average Grant Thornton is serving 40-50 companies per year. Moreover, the company has 50 permanent clients.
“We have clients in both public and private sectors. In the public sector we work with international financial institutions like World Bank , EBRD, with UN system, UNDP.
We also target government entities. We have opportunity to work with the Ministry of Finance, with Municipal Development Fund of Georgia. Moreover, we had projects in the sphere of education and health.
We have large clientele in the private sector in industries such telecommunication, transport, energy sector, good relationships in hospitality industry, food and beverages, manufacturing. Mining sector is also one of our key areas,” says Nelson Petrosyan, Director/Partner of Grant Thornton Georgia.
The company targets both large companies that employee 200-300 employee, as well as small companies up to 15 people.
According to Daniel Hilaire there are some challenged the company faces in Georgia. First is the issue of finding the right people for the company.
“First of all it is quite difficult to find the person with a lot of experience in this field, because this filed is not so old in this area, not only in Georgia, but also in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, people do not have long experience with this activity,” declares Hilaire.
“What we offer is rapid professional growth, we are looking for the people who are interested to be advancing with us in the next levels of development, and there is no limit to the extent the professional team to develop, there is no limit where they will succeed within our network, there is always room for growth within Grant Thornton,” says Petrosyan.
“First stage for Georgian companies is to see audit as an obligation and we have to show and to explain why not take this opportunity to be useful for the company itself. We spend lot of convention to explain our clients that they are partners rather than clients. They need to give fair transparent information, it’s really a team work.
The information can be useful not only for the company to provide it for the banks and for investors, but also its really profitable to have better accounting system , better financial views, better objectives, and better financial management,” declares Hilaire.
“Our work increases transparency in the business operations and transparency is the guarantee for the economic development of the country as a whole, so we in our daily work contribute to economic development of our country. We are working in the pure public interest we contribute to the increased transparency in every aspect of business operations which in its turn increases opportunities for foreign investments and for multiple-digits of the growth of the economy,” says Petrosyan.
Hilaire says that while auditing the company their main point is not to say any criticism.
“To be as near as possible to this goal we work with clients 365 days during the year, not only during the audit process, we work with them as advisers as able to answer to any small or big questions they have during the year, so we can find the solution before we arrive to audit them,” he declares.
“Certified IT auditor is another area where we provide very top IT advisory services which is very new to the market and especially very new to the regions.
This product is very good especially for the companies whose businesses are heavily relied on IT infrastructure, firstly financial institution banks, telecommunication and any others. Business success is heavily dependent on IT environment, and we offer products for specifically targeting those areas,” says Petrosyan.
At present, 20 people are employed at Grant Thornton. Moreover, recruiting process is started to hire employee for local and for Tajikistan.
“Grant Thornton has just succeeded to win a big tender in Tajikistan very first time all Georgian team will work outside the country and its something we also expect to extend, only for Tajikistan we need minimum 5 people to go there plus 2-3 senior , probably if we can to find around 10 people,” says Hilaire.
“We call our office – house and our team – family, we have open door policy, if any staff member has something to discuss with us, criticize, suggest we are always there to help and to listen, this is very important.
We provide very good working environment, we provide trainings to our people because that’s the biggest investment we can make, investing in the people that we work together with. We offer competitive salaries, offer a very large opportunity for learning experience.
If you look at the statistics, especially in companies like ours and in the industry its very stiff curve, very rapid learning environment. There is no limit to the professional growth,” declares Petrosyan.
Grant Thornton International is one of the world’s leading organizations of independent owned and managed accounting and consulting firms. The total revenue was USD 3.6 billion as for 30 September, 2009. The company is operating in approximately 100 countries with the personnel of over 30 000, 2 600 partners provide clients with high quality service in over 500 offices worldwide.