April 23, Fineko/abc.az. We have had a conversation with Ziya Ibrahimov, Partner at Baker Tilly company about the pandemic and the ways to fight it.
ABC.AZ presents this interview to your attention.
What can you say about the impact of the pandemic and related quarantine measures on the audit sector?
As you know, a special quarantine regime has been declared in our country since the end of March. The audit sector also supports these measures. Supporting the measures taken in the country, the Chamber of Auditors recommended member audit organizations and independent auditors to delay the execution of audit contracts as much as possible and to work remotely as appropriate in order to prevent the risk of coronavirus. There is a special order of the chairman of the chamber in this regard. As one of the leading audit organizations in the country, we contribute to the policy pursued. So, as you know, as each sector has its own features, so does our sector. These features include the implementation of audit procedures in the client's office, as well as coming together to decide on some important issues. However, the quarantine regime declared in our country limits these opportunities and the quality, efficiency and timing of the work and services we provide are at risk. For this reason, we had to postpone the implementation of some projects or part of them to the post-quarantine period. However, we must not forget that our business principles are based on customer service. There are some strategic sectors operating today and we continue to serve our customers in these sectors on a daily basis. Such organizations include financial institutions and government agencies.
How is the work regime organized during the quarantine period and does this regime allow quality work to be performed?
As you know, we represent the service sector and our most valuable assets are our employees. So, shortly before the announcement of a special quarantine regime, we have provided remote working regime for small and medium business specialists in order to ensure the safety of our staff. By installing Wi-Fi and VPN on all computers, we managed to allow our employees to communicate with each other, as well as with customers through a number of platforms such as Zoom, Skype and GoToMeeting. Although, in the early days, we thought it would be difficult to work remotely, but later we discovered this system to be very effective. I think that in the current situation, there are no delays in our work and we continue to fulfill our obligations to customers 24/7. During all this time, our office was officially open and executives were always at work.
Is there a decrease in the number of customers, given that some areas are affected by the pandemic?
We continue to be with our customers in today's situation. It is an undeniable fact that certain sectors of the economy are affected in different ways by the coronavirus pandemic than others. However, I think that with the support of our state and the slowdown in the spread of the virus, those sectors will soon recover. As for us, there are no customer losses, and I think the same is true for other partner companies operating in this sector.
Have any preventive measures been taken to avoid being on the list of victims if quarantine continues?
At present, it is difficult to predict the nature and timing of preventive measures, as predictions about the spread of the coronavirus are not completely accurate. We create our forecasts on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. We are constantly discussing possible options to fulfill our obligations before our customers and employees in a timely manner and with maximum quality.
How do you assess the quarantine measures taken by the government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic as a citizen and a businessman?
It is the state and the government that suffer the most from the special quarantine regime. The quarantine regime causes millions of losses to the state every day, but the state supports its citizens even when it suffers this damage. It is no coincidence that the President of the country has repeatedly emphasized this in his speeches and said that the health of our citizens is a priority. We, as the company's management, support these measures and do the same to keep our valuable employees healthy during these difficult times.
As you know, the term of office of the former World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan Naveed Hassan Naqvi has expired. In this regard, an ABC.AZ employee interviewed Nagvi, covering questions about the activities over the past period, as well as about WB’s future plans for Azerbaijan.
The main source of economic growth in Azerbaijan still is the oil and gas sector. Although the government has already focused on diversifying its economy in the recent years, the pandemic in combination with the oil price crash showed how fragile the economy still is.
The audit sector also supports these measures. Supporting the measures taken in the country, the Chamber of Auditors recommended member audit organizations and independent auditors to delay the execution of audit contracts as much as possible and to work remotely as appropriate in order to prevent the risk of coronavirus.
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