Jun. 10, 2015


Vugar Farman Aliyev

Azerbaijan

Vugar Farman Aliyev

Managing Partner, KPMG Azerbaijan

TBY talks to Vugar Farman Aliyev, Managing Partner of KPMG Azerbaijan, on the growth of the company, a global presence, and goals for the future.

BIO

Vugar Aliyev is a Managing Partner of KPMG in Azerbaijan. He started his career at another of the big four firms in Azerbaijan in 1996 and joined KPMG in July 2011. Over the last 17 years, he gained a thorough auditing and advisory experience with banks, insurance, leasing, and real estate companies operating in Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia, and Turkey. He has a PhD in International Civil Law from Baku State University.

KPMG's outfit has grown to employ more than 80 employees since setting up a full service office in 2011. Why has KPMG been able to grow in this way?

KPMG is a strong brand. It is an international company, which has more than 162,000 professionals working together and delivering value in 155 countries worldwide. In addition, we have gathered a professional local team with many years of experience and deep expertise in the market, whom we are proud of. Last, but the most important, is our clients, both international and local, who stay loyal and with whom we are working closely on daily basis.

What is the balance in employees between Azerbaijani and foreign, and how are potential employees trained?

Approximately 90% of our staff is local professionals, and this percentage is growing. In 2014 alone, we hired 21 new local employees. At the same time, our global membership provides us with access to an enormous amount of best practice, knowledge, and methodology to use in Azerbaijan. International experience helps to create indispensable experience for talented local employees, and it is a huge advantage for our clients; we offer decisions that proved their efficiency worldwide.

KPMG, with its global presence, can observe different countries and their reactions to global market shifts. How would you assess Azerbaijan's success so far in combatting the falling oil price and depreciation of the manat?

Despite of some crisis signs in the region, Azerbaijani economy still shows growth, and we have a positive balance of trade. Actually, all of these are the yields of proper economic policy. Over the past decade, the non-oil sector increased by 2.5 fold, and its share in GDP reached 68%. It is no coincidence that, in spite of the volatility in the energy market and decline in oil prices over the last year, the economy has grown up by 5.3. I believe that 2015 will be a difficult year for all countries with rich energy resources; however, our difference is that we have tried to diversify the economy on time. Since 1995, Azerbaijan's economy has attracted more than $200 billion of investments, 62% of which was invested in non-oil sector.

Looking at Azerbaijan from its regional position, how would you assess its development compared with the region?

Azerbaijan is an undisputable leader of the region. GDP for the past 10 years has increased by 3 fold, its volume per capita 2.6 times, industry 3.6 times, agriculture 1.4 times, and state budget revenues 12 fold. At present, Azerbaijan's economy comprises more than 75% of the economy of the South Caucasus.

KPMG sponsors a number of events and institutions including the Azerbaijan Foreign MBA Club. How are these sponsorships chosen, and in what way can they provide mutual benefits?

During the last year and a half, we were organizers, sponsors, and partners of many events. Our main objectives in this activity are to share our knowledge with institutional business community and our customers, create the network, and bring the best practices of various industries to Azerbaijan. The aims of these events that we sponsor are the same: we are embarking on useful projects for our society and business. For us, sponsorship is the commitment for the community.

What are KPMG's current aspirations and targets in Azerbaijan for 2015?

As a company, we will continue as a center to deliver value-adding product. As for the business segments growing in Azerbaijan, we forecast the development of consulting service area, and we will work intensively in this direction. We also focus on the development of industries, such as ICT, transportation, and the rapidly growing non-oil sectors.

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