Sumayya Zain, CEO and Managing Partner, Hallmark International Auditing of Accounts LLC

Tell us about your path to leadership.

As a chartered accountant, my path to leadership has been fueled by a deep passion for the business world. Almost ten years ago, I stepped into entrepreneurship , guided by a vision to make a significant impact in auditing, taxation, and

consulting. As the founder and CEO of Hallmark International Auditors and its affiliated companies, I’ve had the privilege of leading and innovating in this field. I am honoured to mention that, in addition to my role as CEO, I am a licensed auditor and FTA registered Tax Agent. This accreditation underscores my commitment to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and ethical practice in our industry.

How has mentorship influenced your entrepreneurial journey?

I’ve received invaluable guidance and support from many individuals. It’s said a leader plants the seeds of possibility, an entrepreneur waters them with innovation, and a mentor nurtures them into fruition. I’ve received invaluable guidance and support from many individuals. I believe business is all about people and relationships. My mentors instilled in me several invaluable lessons, some of them are as below:

Integrity as a cornerstone: To maintain ethical standards in all business dealings, building an enduring reputation of trustworthiness.

People-centric approach: The true strength of a business lies in its people. Leading with empathy and fostering a culture of respect unlocks potential at all levels.

Adaptability: Agility in responding to an ever-evolving business environment is vital for continued success.

What are the challenges in your field, and how do you plan to overcome them?

The domain of audit, taxation and assurance services is inherently complex, further compounded by the rapid pace of regulatory changes, laws, compliances and technological disruptions. Recognising these challenges as opportunities for growth, the strategic approach involves investing in cutting-edge technology, fostering a culture of continuous learning among our team, and staying agile in the face of evolving market dynamics.

By anticipating the needs of the future, we remain poised to deliver unparalleled value to our clients and be a one stop solution to all their business requirements.

How do you incentivise your team’s pursuit of excellence?

Success in business isn’t about being the best individually; it’s about working together, using everyone’s strengths to reach our goals. Great things are achieved by teams, not just one person. It’s all about teamwork. We focus on three things:

Empowerment: We provide training and development opportunities to keep our team at the forefront of industry knowledge.

Innovation: We encourage a culture where thinking outside the box and using technology to improve efficiency is embraced. This allows our team to come up with creative solutions to challenges and keeps us ahead of the curve.

Recognition: We believe in recognising and rewarding exceptional performance. Whether it’s a simple thank you or a moral formal reward, we make sure our team members feel appreciated for their hard work. This creates a positive atmosphere where everyone feels valued and motivated to do their best.

As a new-age CEO, how do you view the UAE as a business hub?

The UAE’s removal from the EU’s non-cooperative jurisdictions list, due to its commitment to tax transparency and compliance, enhances its appeal as an investment destination. With the world’s lowest corporate tax rate at 9 per cent and no personal income taxes, UAE stands as an exceptionally attractive locale for business.

The presence of more than 45 Free Zones offering tax exemptions, underscores the UAE’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment. Its strategic location, world-class infrastructure with modern airports and ports, and streamlined regulations bolster its position as a global business hub. The thriving real estate market, absence of capital gain tax on property in the hands of individuals and high living standards make UAE an attractive place to live and invest.

The booming tourism and hospitality sectors, ambitions as a fintech hub, initiatives in renewable energy, and growth in logistics and e-commerce further demonstrate the UAE’s dynamic and forward-looking economic landscape.

How will Hallmark Group contribute to UAE’s growth under your leadership?

Our vision is to actively contribute to the UAE’s growth. We believe in working hand in hand with businesses, government entities, and industry leaders to provide tailored solutions that adapt to the changing market dynamics. By doing so, we aim to assist enterprises in achieving their goals and driving economic success.

Our core values revolve around maintaining the highest standards of ethics, integrity and transparency. This is crucial in building trust within the UAE’s business community, which ultimately attracts more investment and ensures sustained prosperity in the long run.

What growth trajectory do you envision for Hallmark Group?

We have an ambitious growth plan for the next five years. This includes expanding our global footprint, diversifying our services and fully integrating technological innovations and artificial intelligence to redefine industry standards and delivery of strategic audit, tax and legal solutions.

In conclusion, as the CEO of the Hallmark Group, my mission is to inspire, innovate, and set new benchmarks of excellence. Together, we are paving the way for a future where excellence is not just an aspiration, but the norm.