In 2013 Deloitte, withholds the lead as one of the Big Four, the four largest international professional services networks. Deloitte provides to selected clients in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), services ranging from Audit, Consulting, Corporate Finance, Risk Management, Legal & Taxation to integrated IPO.

In the CIS, Deloitte employs today over 2500. A substantial footing considering that it started servicing clients at the end of the 1980’s. What distinguishes Deloitte from the rest, is that they were one of the first firms to provide consulting services to the CIS market. It was there right at the end of the Communist financial system and Deloitte was in place as Russia shifted to a market economy.

It was visionary of them to foresee that they could assist Russia through this transition by providing them Western Best Practices. Introducing international auditing standards and new business methods to the Soviet was considered revolutionary by many people. As a result, Deloitte remains in the lead as one of the largest international professional practices in the CIS. Today, Deloitte is recognized and is highly regarded for their honest opinion, thus representing the gold standard of an external analysis. Deloitte presents a wealth of business methodologies and tools, as well as access to best practices to the heads of Russian companies.

Their vision is summarize in the following: “We aspire to be the Standard of Excellence, the first choice of the most sought-after clients and talent.”

We visited their Moscow office and were fortunate to be greeted by Val Draggeim, Partner in Technology Integration/Consulting CIS. His extensive consulting background extends from years in the United States, in Germany to finally return to his native Russia, some 17 years later. He had left a communist country as a young man and to his astonishment, he returned to a thriving economy. Val describes the world of Consulting as « exciting ». A passion for which he clearly displays as he talks about the field. In addition to his busy schedule, he takes the time to teach classes founded on hands-on experience at Deloitte. Thus, he transmits his enthusiasm to new a generation of consultants.

He graciously explained the period of über growth in the CIS regarding the wireless expansion. In simple terms, many Russians made the leap directly to smart phones. As there was no need to utilize an older equipment in place, such as phone lines. Russians embraced this newer technology as well as mastered it extremely quickly.

Furthermore, our host did not shy away when we asked him what was the most difficult part of their business strategy to implement in Russia. He candidly answered hiring individuals with the right skill set. Val explained that those that are hired, have a field of expertise, the skills of a specialist. However, the most successful consultants are those who are generalist backed with an area of proficiency. As for him, his specialty is in MIS, though for he is proficient with the sector of information and technology in general. In simple terms, his department solves with an IT component business problems for companies.

Val also explained that even when faced with an unpredictable economy, commerce seems to pursue « as business as usual » and in my opinion, this is mostly due to the great resilience of the inhabitants of the CIS.

In summary, the encounter was greatly informative, lively and permitted to a foreigner’s perspective to grasp the relation between Russia’s rich past and promising future.