Ask any professional accountant to name one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms and chances are they would say Deloitte. In the 2017 fiscal year, the multinational services network giant recorded a revenue of US$38.8 billion – $US1.1 billion more than its nearest competitor, making it the world’s ‘biggest’ professional services firm.
Curtin graduate Güneş Söğütlüoğlu is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board for Deloitte Turkey – a Deloitte member firm that operates primarily out of the country’s largest city, Istanbul.
With a population of 14.8 million, Istanbul is the largest transcontinental city in the world, spanning the Bosphorus strait that divides Europe and Asia. The city is a cosmopolitan melting pot, where east meets west and remnants of its Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman heritage can be found dotted across the landscape. The stable, yet competitive business environment and access to major European, Middle-Eastern and North African cities within a four-hour flight time make the city an attractive location for Turkish and international companies.
As chairman of Deloitte Turkey, Söğütlüoğlu is responsible for implementing the member firm’s Partnership Agreement and making recommendations when necessary concerning strategies, talent, quality and risk, and financials.
“Deloitte Turkey has been a front runner in the Turkish professional service sector since it was established in 1986,” Söğütlüoğlu says. “In parallel to our traditional services, we are increasingly growing in new service lines such as digital, innovation, artificial intelligence and cyber.”
Söğütlüoğlu is deeply driven by Deloitte’s mission to “make an impact that matters in the world”. He is an avid supporter of WorldClass, a Deloitte initiative that seeks to educate 50 million disadvantaged people by 2030, as well as various training programs and platforms to support the professional development of Deloitte Turkey’s employees.
“WorldClass will help us make an impact not only to our business but to all of society,” he says.
“Our objective for our people is to deliver an exceptional talent experience. Employees respect organisations where their ‘life’ besides their work is valued, so we have created learning and development programs, flexible and remote working opportunities, employee assistance programs and wellness activities to ensure our people have an engaged mind and healthy body.”
Söğütlüoğlu has been at Deloitte Turkey for much of his professional career, having begun as an assistant tax manager after completing his undergraduate degree in Ankara.
From 2000 to 2005, Söğütlüoğlu lived in Perth and pursued a Postgraduate Diploma in Taxation at Curtin to advance his career. Partway through his degree, Söğütlüoğlu landed a job at Schlumberger Australia – a leading technology provider for the oil and gas industry – and held roles as a senior tax analyst, consolidation accountant, treasury supervisor and business analyst.
“My degree helped me adapt to the Australian culture and get a foot in the door when I was looking for a new job. Graduating with a distinction was one of my greatest achievements,” Söğütlüoğlu says.
“Australia is a place where everyone deserves a fair go. I lived there for five years and became a citizen of it in the end so it is literally my second country.”
Söğütlüoğlu returned to Turkey, where Deloitte Turkey asked him to establish a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) service line within the tax department. The service line has since performed hundreds of due diligence and tax structuring projects and helped numerous professionals advance their careers, setting Söğütlüoğlu on a path to the position he is in today.
“I took the offer to establish an M&A service line with great pleasure because it gave me the chance to combine my technical knowledge with my international experience. M&A is an area where all parties must be prepared. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle with a lot of different skill sets and once you start pointing people in the right places, it becomes a deal,” Söğütlüoğlu says.
“At Deloitte, we strive to make an impact that matters, and I thank Curtin University for making a great impact on my education. My Curtin degree is one of the main pillars of my educational background, which literally supports the entire structure of my career.
“I’m proud to be a Curtin graduate!”
Name: Güneş Söğütlüoğlu
Studied: Postgraduate Diploma in Taxation