Deloitte turns to GLT Solutions, offers not just consulting services but solutions

26.10.2022 | 23:07 Home / News / Interviews /
Deloitte, the leader of the world's "Big 4" audit companies, has been operating in Armenia since 2012. In August 2022, as a result of a global decision, Deloitte left the Armenian market.

Following that decision, Suren Ghalumyan, who joined Deloitte Armenia in 2017, acquired the company's local business and rebranded it, continuing to remain in the Armenian market and provide professional services.

"As a company with Armenian roots, we will become a major international player," says Suren Ghalumyan.

The new company, GLT Solutions, will continue active cooperation with Deloitte, maintaining and developing the existing corporate culture.
Suren Ghalumyan told about difficulties they faced and about offering solutions instead of consulting.

Why Deloitte left

I joined Deloitte in 2017 (prior to that I worked for another "Big 4" company). I leaded tax and legal services. Over the years, the company's tax and legal services business has grown many times over, very good cooperative relationships and successful partnerships developed with Deloitte member firms worldwide.

Leaving Armenia was part of a global decision. Talking to different representatives of the company abroad, I realized that years ago, Deloitte decided to have several large clusters in the world, rather than continuing to work in separate countries. After the Russian-Ukrainian developments, when among other international companies, Deloitte also left the Russian market, the company's representation in the CIS region "shrank" even more.

After being notified of Deloitte's decision, we reached a mutual agreement that I would acquire the company's local business and continue to operate under our own brand.

Solutions instead of consulting

I quickly chose the name of the new company: GLT Solutions (Global Legal Tax Solutions). I did not want a name with a surname of the owner or with the word "consulting" like it is used to be done in the Armenian market (laughs – auth.), because, first of all, it will never be a person-company, and secondly, our goal is to enter the international market.

There is one more nuance, I wanted to emphasize the word "solutions", because when I look at it from the client's point of view, he/she does not need advice but solution. Here, even in linguistic thinking when talking about a situation, it is common to say: "we think that...", "perhaps...", insuring ourselves against possible or unlikely future issues. Continuing to operate in consulting business, we will provide solutions.

New services and professional "drive"

GLT Solutions has been providing and will continue to provide wide range of professional services in consulting, legal, tax, M&A support, business valuation, financial modeling and other directions. As a new service we offer to the market Forensic services, to support organizations manage the risk and vulnerabilities that come from corruption, fraud, and other threats. If previously Deloitte was best known in Armenia for audit, tax, and legal services, now we will offer a much wider range of services.

Suren Ghalumyan

We will do this, because, in addition to the core team, which, by the way, has mostly remained the same since the rebranding of the company, we also have close people, old "combat friends" with whom we have passed a long way. Some of them now live in different countries of the world, work in leading companies, occupying management positions. Along with this, they are always ready to be engaged in our various projects, delivering professional "product" in accordance with international standards. In this case, finance plays almost no role. We are all united by the "drive" to work together again on a project.

Cooperation with Deloitte

It is very important that GLT Solutions will officially continue cooperation with Deloitte member firms. We have cooperation agreements with member firms in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

A cooperation agreement with Deloitte Switzerland is also in the preparatory stage. As a result, we continue to provide high quality services of international standards to Deloitte's global multinational clients in Armenia. If necessary, we have the opportunity to cooperate or engage a Deloitte member firm in our projects. In other words, not much has changed “in our lifes” in terms of cooperation.

After years-long joint work, in addition to business relations, good friendly relations have already been formed. I should note that at the stage of making the decision to acquire the company, I also received significant support from the Partners of a number of Deloitte member firms. They convinced customers to continue cooperation with us.

I would also like to thank our customers, whom I do not usually call that way, because to us they are colleagues and friends: we are one team with one goal. We continue to work with almost everyone. As I said before, the main part of the team remained. All this motivated and helped me make the decision to keep the company.

The artificial obstacles we overcame

I sometimes wonder how we managed to keep the company's business in these volatile times and move on with even bigger steps: "how did we manage?" (laughs – auth.). Probably, due to my stubbornness, correctly calculated steps and the support of loyal people.

Suren Ghalumyan

Unfortunately, in addition to objective and natural difficulties, a number of artificial obstacles emerged since my decision, which I overcame thanks to the abovementioned. The willingness and constant support of close friends, the advice of my wise and experienced senior friends was very important. Together, calculating each step correctly, we managed to break through the emerging artificial difficulties. Their help is invaluable and unforgettable for me. By the way, I also measured the "degree of patience" of my wife, given my complex character (smiles-auth.). In difficult times, trust between you, your team, and colleagues is extremely important. Without trust, it would have been impossible to create what we have today.

Transfer Pricing Regulations

The Transfer Pricing Regulations, as a tax administration tool, came into force in Armenia in 2020. Both in Deloitte and now in GLT Solutions, we will continue to provide TP services to our partners. Before the regulations came into force in Armenia, we in Deloitte managed to gain a lot of experience in this direction and create a fairly good and strong practice. In general, the provision of transfer pricing services is more typical for international companies. In this regard, many local companies "get upset" and ask: "Can't we do this?" Many people believe that if they take the Tax Code and read the transfer pricing regulations like a fiction, they can provide this service. International companies are more experienced in this regard, because transfer pricing has been introduced in the world for a long time, hence, they have greater experience of working with it. Also, in my opinion, this is the most subjective part of international tax law. The proper calculation is possible only by analyzing international experience. In other words, you can separate, study and analyze financial reports of more than 400 companies and make a decision based on that experience. To me, tax law, especially international tax law, is a philosophy that needs to be analyzed and not simply read.

Suren Ghalumyan

As I said, at GLT Solutions we will continue to provide this service with the same staff and quality that meets international standards, but at a significantly lower price than previously and offered by other international companies in the market, certainly not at a dumping price. I think this could be one of our advantage.

Corporate governance is important

Unfortunately, in Armenian reality, person-companies are widespread: when the only decision-maker is the “boss”, when he/she has a big "cabinet", when he/she says: "I must know everything, nothing will be done without my approval." This is completely against my principles. We will maintain Deloitte's corporate culture, and I want GLT Solutions to eventually implement corporate governance culture. A board of directors will be set up comprising the best and leading professionals of the respective field who will make strategic decisions on business development.

A company grows only if it has a good team. When a director furnishes a large private room and sits there apart from the team, he becomes cut off from the people he has to work with for one purpose.

The goal is to become an international company

GLT Solutions should become an international company with Armenian roots. This is my vision and goal. Not wanting to insult Armenian companies, I would say that we will under no circumstances become a local accounting firm. As I said, we have loyal partners and friends around the world and in the future the company may expand worldwide. Our experience, our corporate culture and our work will contribute to this.

Yana Shakhramanyan

Photos by Emin Aristakesyan
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