Ali Nawaz joined Sovereign Corporate Services, Dubai in April 2018 and is now Manager – Client Accounting. We caught up with him by Zoom when he was celebrating his recent promotion.

Ali’s social media profile includes a long string of letters after his name. His formal handle is thus Ali Nawaz ACCA, CPA, CIA, CA-UAE, AFPA. We started there. Why was obtaining these qualifications so important to him?

Ali explained that in addition to the ACCA qualification, he studied – and passed at the first attempt – all the other programmes resulting in a wide-ranging, well rounded education that sets him apart from his peers. His career has benefitted from this dedication and he has been on an upward trajectory throughout his working life thus far.

Quite rightly, he adds the letters to his name with pride. More importantly, they demonstrate to potential clients and advisers his extensive knowledge that is second to none in the client accounting field.

Formal qualifications form only part of Ali’s professional growth story. Other than English, Urdu is his mother tongue and he speaks fluent Punjabi too. He moved to Dubai from Pakistan when he joined Sovereign as Client Accountant. He was attracted by both Sovereign’s work culture and the positive nature of his first meeting with Arun Gurung who remains his line manager to this day.

Promoted just two years later to Assistant Manager – Client Accounting, Ali advanced further in January this year to Manager. His team comprises four colleagues in Dubai and three more in Mauritius. He also has responsibility for accounting work in Cyprus. He was named Dubai’s Employee of the Year in 2019 and as we spoke to him he was celebrating again as he had repeated the feat in 2021!

Around 75% of accounting clients use other Sovereign services (principally company or other structures) but the remaining quarter use Sovereign for client accounting only. Clearly there is huge potential for cross-selling such as HR services, company administration, PRO services and wealth management.

Ali is responsible for promoting the services allowing the remaining team members to concentrate on the accounting work itself. Under Ali’s leadership, income has increased by almost 300% in both Dubai and Cyprus client accounting areas. An impressive achievement by any measure but he is not done yet. He is determined to develop the team’s profitability still further. Watch this space!

Ali has been successful in combining his accounting background with consummate sales skills. But how? He explains that his focus is to put clients’ needs first; to do so he must get to know the client first! He has the solutions and knowledge, but Sovereign empowers him and he is not micromanaged. He has bi-monthly meetings with Arun and is otherwise allowed to go out seeking good quality business wherever it is to be found.

The Middle East business environment is evolving rapidly. Corporate service providers must stay one step ahead. Ali cites last year’s implementation of economic substance regulations and the likely onset of corporation tax in 2023 as prime examples. He takes a keen interest in these developments in order to provide clients with the most up to date advice.

Ali married fellow accountancy professional Hateem two years ago. Outside work he is a passionate cricket and ping pong player although, perhaps unsurprisingly, he does not find as much time for sport as he would like.

A hugely committed individual in all he does, it was a pleasure to spend time with Ali Nawaz. We will follow him with interest as he takes his career (and leads his team) to yet more success in the future.

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