Lebanon is located on the east of the Mediterranean Sea, enjoying 225km of coastline. The country has a long history of being a commercial hub, acting as a convenient trade link between Europe and North America in the West and the countries of the Middle East and further beyond. The country’s strategic location means it is often regarded as the gateway to the Arab world and has helped it play an important role throughout history in regional politics while contributing to its attraction and connection to the West.
The country enjoys the key characteristics of a liberal economy, offering free trade and investments in all business segments without major restrictions, with the exception of limitations of ownership of real estate properties. The country’s economy is mostly service-based, driven by the private sector. The government is keen to encourage investment and has taken many steps to create an environment conducive to investors establishing or bringing operations to the country.
Deloitte was providing independent professional advice and services in Lebanon even before the country itself gained its independence. The Deloitte practice in Beirut was established in November 1942, a full year before the Republic of Lebanon was founded. Since then it has looked after the needs of its business community in good times and in bad. Even in the darkest days of the civil war, Deloitte was the only Big 4 firm to retain a full presence in Lebanon during this period, serving its domestic and multinational clients.
Beirut became the Middle East Firm’s regional representative office in 1998 and now has two separate offices: one to provide services to every Deloitte office in the region and the other to look after Lebanese business.
Just as the Firm has traditionally taken a proactive approach, so today it continues to be a driving force in all initiatives taking place in the market generally, and financial services in particular. Over the years, the Firm has helped promote best practices, representing a major contribution to support the economy and promote transparency in ethical behavior and financial reporting. This tradition has its roots with the founder of the Middle East firm who was the first chartered accountant in the region, and had a strict commitment to promote the accountancy and auditing profession throughout the Arab world.
Today Deloitte in Lebanon continues to shape the country’s future, enhancing transparency, rule and discipline in financial reporting through its Audit services, while helping businesses overcome challenges and improve performance through its Consulting, Enterprise Risk, Tax and Financial Advisory services.
Just as we’ve played a vital role in the economy of Lebanon to date, we’re also very much a part of its future. Deloitte has identified the Middle East as a priority market that represents superior growth opportunities.
As such, our Middle East firms, operating in 15 countries and employing almost 2,500 professionals across the region and including Lebanon, have been targeted for major investment. This is accompanied by a focused strategy of expansion in key business areas and a continued emphasis on recruiting and retaining the most talented professionals from the region and other countries to serve Middle East companies. To address the growing market needs, we have expanded our specialized professional services in the Middle East, leveraging our local and global talent in areas such as Financial Advisory Services, Enterprise Risk Services and International Tax Services.
We have also continued to play a pivotal role in serving the region’s high-growth industry sectors such as tourism, hospitality and leisure, construction, telecoms and financial services, as well as major sectors such as oil and gas, the public sector and the Gulf region’s sovereign wealth funds. Our Middle East knowledge centers are a testament to our specialized capabilities in strategic services and industries.