How INDEVCO Consultancy Helps Clients Navigate the Risk Landscape

With the risk landscape evolving fast for businesses, gaining the right insights to remain in control of the situation is essential. INDEVCO Consultancy is a consulting firm looking to do exactly that – we spoke with Wael Daher on how the firm helps its clients navigate the risk landscape.

Wael Daher has been with the Lebanon-based consultancy since 2004 – rising to a senior director position and leader of the company’s Risk Assessment & Internal Audit Advisory service, which serves clients across various sectors.

“Our service helps companies improve performance and secure value generation by mitigating risks, meeting high internal standards, and complying with international regulations. I believe that risk assessment and internal audit advisory are essential to securing business continuity through ethical and world-class business practices.”

But risk is more complicated than ever before. That means there is extra pressure on companies to deal with risk quickly or face dire consequences. 

Daher explained. “External factors – from economic to cultural, environmental and political – are affecting consumer behaviors to a greater degree of variation than ever before. Each sector is impacted differently by this too, making life more complicated and purchasing decisions more multi-faceted.”

“At the same time, data, finance, and ESG matters are no longer being left to businesses to self-regulate – reams of new legislation are making life costly for firms that do not take those issues seriously.”

INDEVCO Consultancy is well-placed to help clients walk that particular tightrope helping clients across the Middle East and North Africa with a range of management and operational services, with risk and internal audit advisory being one of the 10+ service lines within its portfolio.

When it comes to taking on a risky project, Daher noted that the most important thing is to first conduct a thorough assessment. This helps businesses “identify and prioritize existing and potential risks,” while assessing their vulnerability to them – before deducing ways to “reduce and mitigate these risks.”

The initial analysis by INDEVCO Consultancy includes an examination of all kinds of risks, from enterprise risks to financial and compliance risks. But, with its strong heritage in the manufacturing sector, INDEVCO Consultancy is particularly strong in operational risks.

Daher went on, “We conduct operational reviews of workflows, processes and procedures, and create an internal line of authority guidelines and chains of approval.”

When clients are fully aware of the whole picture, INDEVCO Consultancy when required stays on board to help implement improvements. The company’s consultants first translate insights into action plans, before guiding improvement, and coaching managers to continue their work after the firm withdraws. 

“Our job is done, not only when improvements are made, but when we’ve transferred the capabilities necessary to maintain them continuously,” Daher summarised. 

One example of a project where this happened saw INDEVCO Consultancy assess the accounting function at one of the fastest-growing agriculture companies in the region. Then, consultants stayed on and helped to set up an agile modern methodology among the management team, leaving them behind with the capabilities to deliver improvements in the long term.   


Internal audit advisory

INDEVCO Consultancy’s risk expertise is also tapped by internal audit departments, as they seek to tighten their internal controls. This sees the company’s consultants analyze the quality and functioning of internal control systems, and the business financials to highlight any possible material misstatements, and how clients comply with policies and procedures, fiscal, and regulatory requirements within the national and international economies.

At that point, the firm once again develops its plan – recommending enhancements to an internal audit plan aimed at boosting effectiveness and efficiency. 

In one example, “a few years ago we conducted an internal audit consultancy engagement at a group of logistics and transport companies,” Daher recalled. “We highlighted deficiencies and recommended closer and tighter controls to secure the integrity of the accounts, enhance the operations workflow, and improve the overall operations, leading to a better standing of the companies under the scope.”

Special situations

The Risk Assessment & Internal Audit Advisory service line also guides special situations. For example, during mergers and acquisitions processes. Valuation work in such instances sees INDEVCO Consultancy’s experts try to unravel how much a target company is worth.

Explaining this work, Daher noted, “We conduct a comprehensive appraisal of the target company to validate the integrity of the presented financials, establish the business assets and liabilities, identify revenues, profit, and margin trends, and evaluate its commercial potential.”

The consultancy has experience with due diligence work – a key step to gaining an understanding of targets before entering into an acquisition. “We deliver the financial due diligence, shedding light on potential risks associated.”

Similarly, INDEVCO Consultancy works in this manner to investigate fraud. The consultants investigate and examine evidence to determine if a fraud occurred, how it happened, who was involved, and the level of embezzlement. By setting policies and procedures, the firm highlights gridlines and validation points, while helping businesses deter corruption, identify breaches, and avoid fraud.

Highlighting an example, Daher said, “Earlier this year, we conducted a forensic investigation at one organization in the Middle East. The purpose of the review was to evaluate the administrative processes that were carried out at one of the departments to identify the root cause of the cash embezzlement reported by one of the officers, detect its size, identify the participants to assess, and recommend proper measures.”

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