Uniqus Consultech, a tech-enabled global consulting firm, inaugurated its Dubai office on Thursday.

The company was founded by Jamil Khatri, ex-global head of Accounting Advisory Services and part of the India leadership team at KPMG and Sandip Khetan, ex-head of Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) for EY in India. Uniqus is backed by leading institutional investors including Nexus, a Silicon Valley based venture capital firm, Sorin Investments and a number of private investors.

The company will offer ESG and accounting and reporting consulting in three primary markets — the US, Middle East, and India.

Speaking to Khaleej Times after the inauguration, Khatri said that Uniqus will focus on two key businesses — finance function advisory and the ESG climate change consulting business. “Every time the finance function in a corporate needs help, we as consultants come in, which we believe is an evergreen business. Companies will need this given the regulatory requirements in transactions. ESG and climate change as we know is a focus for everybody – society, governments, and companies,” Khatri said.

Khatri stressed that the company seeks to make a difference through a very deep focus on technology. “Even as skills and talent are important it is equally important to have technology solutions for solving clients problems and we believe that’ll help us serve clients in a more holistic manner,” he said.

Khatri identified three big drivers for the UAE market. “On the ESG side there is a big consciousness in the UAE driven by the policies of the government. We have been talking to a lot of big government-owned controlled companies. It’s not just about regulation but genuinely about wanting to do the right thing,” he said.

The second driver for the UAE market is the corporate tax law that is being introduced in the UAE. “This will require companies, particularly family businesses, to get a lot of their financial reporting in place for the new tax regime. That is a great opportunity for us,” Khatri said.

Thirdly, all companies are looking at automation in productivity, where Uniqus believes it is in a strong position.

One major issue is that a lot of businesses, like family-owned business are now planning to scale up and looking at IPOs. “But their finance function has not being able to support them so there is a need for them to upgrade,” said Dinesh Jangid, regional managing partner, leading Middle East operations at Uniqus.

Sanjay Nayar, CEO of KKR in India and currently a managing partner in Sorin Investments, a venture capital firm that has invested in Uniqus, believes that this will be a very scalable business and it will take time for the Big 4 audit firms to grasp the new opportunities. “A new start-up with very experienced professionals is what attracted us,” Nayar said.

Vijay Malhotra, ex-chairman of KPMG in the Lower Gulf said: “Uniqus is focusing on a very niche market in terms of advisory services and accounting and ESG. The Big 4 haven't really deep-driven into these two areas, so there is huge potential.”

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