Villas&Golfe Angola
· Financial Sector
· · T. Joana Rebelo · P. Délcio Teixeira

José António Barata

«Deloitte’s purpose lies in the impact it creates in the world»

PMmedia Adv.
Those who know him, know that, inside or outside the office, the persona is the same person. True to his values, the level of exactingness and the constant quest for excellence, the chairman of Deloitte Angola reveals himself to V&G Industry not only as a leader, but also as José Barata. A Portuguese man who lives in Angola, the entrepreneur is now the product of his experiences. Since joining the professional world in 1992, his work rhythm has known no down times, and along the way he has matured his experience in leading companies throughout Angola, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe. Before becoming chairman of Deloitte Angola, José Barata was the partner responsible for the banking sector in Portugal and Angola. With a keen eye on his surroundings, he talks to us about what he has brought new to the company, while giving an insight into the future prospects of the Angolan nation. 
Does José Barata stay the same person when he enters the office?
This is the first time anyone has asked me this question, but the answer is very simple, because those who know me know that I am exactly the same person, inside and outside the office, with the same values, the same level of exactingness and the constant quest for excellence. Obviously, when I enter the office, or start my working day at clients’, I have the added responsibility of training tomorrow’s leaders and, therefore, I have to adapt some of my characteristics to empower Deloitte’s professionals.  

You have a solid career and extensive experience, particularly in the financial sector. Tell us a little about your path to becoming chairman of Deloitte Angola.
I began my career in 1992 as an auditor at Arthur Andersen, a company that was later integrated into Deloitte. I developed my professional career in leading companies within the financial sector in Angola, Portugal and São Tomé, leading several large-scale projects in these countries, namely in the audit and consulting areas. In this context, I would like to highlight two projects in CPLP nation Central Banks, related to the Asset Quality Assessment process of the banking sector, as well as the implementation of IAS/IFRS. This path of constant learning has only been possible because I have had, and still have, the opportunity to work with very high-quality professionals, who have challenged me, enabling my personal and professional growth. Additionally, I would also like to mention that in 2002 I became a Statutory Auditor and I am registered with the Portuguese Association of Statutory Auditors. I am also registered as an chartered accountant with the Association of Accountants and Chartered Accountants of Angola, since 2013. Before assuming the position of Chairman of Deloitte Angola, I was the partner responsible for the banking sector in Portugal and Angola, which allowed me to have a comprehensive view of the sector, further cementing my management skills. 

How was the company when you arrived and how is it at the moment?
I took over the leadership of Deloitte Angola in 2019 and, first of all, I want to thank the work done by my predecessors, who led this firm with skill, helping to create the roots for Deloitte to be, today, one of the brands with the highest reputation in Angola. When the challenge was offered to me, I was extremely flattered by the invitation and I confess I did not hesitate, despite the very challenging macroeconomic context, because I had very specific ideas to further raise the name of Deloitte in Angola, but also in Africa. Today, it is with particular satisfaction that I see Deloitte as a prestigious brand in the market, with high levels of credibility with its clients and society in general, something that can only be achieved with a very competent team of professionals, with a strong commitment and a will to constantly surpass themselves. We have been carrying out a series of initiatives that the market values and that we intend to maintain over the coming years, such as Banking under AnalysisTech Trends and, this year, the SIRIUS Awards, after an interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will take the opportunity to carry out a set of internal reflections and some improvements to adapt to the current situation, namely in terms of assessment and eligibility criteria, award format, and additional categories, among others.

Deloitte is known for its activities in the area of auditing, and much more besides. How would you describe Deloitte Angola’s performance in all its aspects?
Deloitte has been present in the Angolan market for over 27 years and, considering that we provide services in various fields in addition to auditing, everything we do is sustained by what we believe in, our behaviours and sense of purpose, embodied in a shared culture and values. We are a multidisciplinary company that aims to set itself apart in the market by providing integrated range of services, with the purpose of supporting clients in achieving their goals. In this context, we have developed several projects in the country, which integrate a relevant part of Deloitte’s business areas, from Assurance, Consulting, Corporate Finance, Risk Advisory, and Outsorcing to Tax Consultancy, in order to capture the unique strengths that each one has, transforming the experience of working with Deloitte into something unique. It is this focus that underpins and fuels our commitment, as well as the humanity we place in all our actions.

«We are proud to say that we are the first choice for the best talent in Angola and the company that hires more recent graduates»
Has the focus on human capital and its training been one of Deloitte Angola’s missions?
Hiring young Angolans has been a clear focus of our firm and we currently have more than 450 professionals, most of whom are Angolans. In fact, this year alone we have hired more than 60 young Angolans, not only because we believe that this is the way to strengthen the sustained progress of our activity in Angola, but also because we believe in the talent in the country. To this end, we have developed recruitment processes with the main Angolan universities and have also sought to attract young Angolans who have studied abroad, thus giving them the opportunity to contribute to the development of their country, based on the experience gained abroad. Today, we are proud to say that we are the first choice for the best talent in Angola and the company that hires more recent graduates. 

What is the key element that sustains and allows you to improve the operations of the companies in Angola?
Deloitte is present in all business sectors, namely in the financial, telecommunications, oil & gas, mining, distribution and retail sectors, providing a quality service and creating value, regardless of the location and activity of our clients, because our teams are specialised in a wide range of fields. We are currently investing heavily in technology, where one of the pillars is a strategic partnership with the Catholic University of Angola, called «More Future», which includes the technical training of students in the computer engineering course, from the third to the fifth year and, in the future, the offer of scholarships through tests, with the aim of strengthening the technological skillset and practical experience of students. The future in Angola and in Africa will involve the development of information technology, given the young age pyramid, and is therefore a natural focus for Deloitte. In addition to the subject of technology, we are focused on developing services on subjects related to ESG and green energies, with the hiring of specialists and strengthening of skills in this area, in order to support our clients in such important matters as sustainability. In this regard, it is important to highlight that we have a client portfolio made up of the key market players, but we also support medium-sized companies. However relevant the facts and figures about our activity may be, Deloitte’s real purpose is in the impact it creates in the world. 

What are the main challenges for the capital market?
The relevant steps that the Angolan government has taken at a regulatory level, with a view to boosting the capital market, are intended to prepare the national economy for new developments, highlights of which include the execution of a privatisation programme of leading national companies (PROPRIV).
The main objective of the capital market is to strengthen economic efficiency and leverage the economy, providing liquidity to public companies and making their recapitalisation process feasible. To this end, it is important to ensure that, in the future, the focus is on improving the financial literacy of the agents operating in this market. In fact, the increase of the agents’ skills in this field is one of the greatest current challenges for the capital market. Financial intermediation, primary and secondary market, shares, bonds and securities: what are these concepts and how can they be defined? But is knowledge and proficiency of these concepts the most important thing? In an initial phase, technical skills are perhaps the most relevant. However, it will not be possible to achieve the results that the government wants without a change of mentality and behaviour. This change has to begin with an improvement in the confidence of the agents of the financial system, whether those with surplus liquidity, or even those with financing needs. In addition to the state, which intends to reduce its importance and its interventions in the economy, banking institutions and insurance companies have a fundamental role and an enormous responsibility in promoting confidence and credibility in the financial system. In this context, the continuous improvement of national economic agents, with a focus on strengthening knowledge and skills of a financial nature and the quality of regulation, in line with best international practices, should be seen as the main factor in enhancing an efficient and dynamic capital market, which will provide a boost to the economy and, ultimately, to Angolan society.
With this purpose in mind, Deloitte established a partnership with the Capital Markets Commission (CMC), together with the Luanda Entrepreneur Academy, Acelera Angola and the Founder Institute, to participate in the EmergentesProgramme. This aims to guide and support small and medium-sized companies, taking into account their stage, strategy and business development cycle, with a view to improving governance and management practices, maturing their products and services, in order to enable them to obtain funding via capital market instruments. In addition, Deloitte has been supporting some of the companies in the PROPRIV, which puts it in a unique position to provide services to companies that aim to enter the capital markets in the medium term. 

The results achieved by the Angolan banking sector, in 2022, were positive, also thanks to the improved rating of public debt. What should financial institutions do this year to consolidate this trend?
As I had the opportunity to state in the presentation of the Banking in Analysis 2022 study, the orientation of the main banks operating in the market should be based on an analysis of their (re)positioning and business model, which will encourage greater efficiency and return, given the needs of a technological nature and the promotion of inclusion and consequent increase in banking, as well as increasing credit to the economy, through programmes, such as PRODESI.It should be stressed that the net profit that banks have been recording in recent years is very much based on the complementary margin, in particular the foreign exchange results and the financial margin obtained essentially through investment in public debt securities, which will cease to be the lever for net profit in the future.It is therefore essential that new business models are defined, enabling banks to ensure a different positioning, both in terms of customer segmentation as well as products and services, bringing in other sources of income.

«The future […] will involve the development of information technology»
The 9th edition of the SIRIUS Awards is about to take place. Nine years on, what has this initiative represented for the country?
The SIRIUS Awards are a benchmark initiative, promoted by Deloitte Angola. The aim is to reward the quality of the information provided to the market, the performances of excellence in the public and private business sector and the people and projects that stood out the most in the various sectors of activity, whose contribution has been decisive for Angola to continue to look to the future with confidence. The purpose of these awards is also to encourage younger generations to follow the path of good governance practices in organisations, in valuing human capital, in the rigorous, current and transparent production of information, in social solidarity, in valuing the role of productive investment and in the responsibility for creating wealth and improving the social well-being indices of the Angolan people. 

What are Deloitte Angola’s plans in the near future?
In the near future, Deloitte Angola’s plans include strengthening its leadership position in the market, not only in auditing and consulting, but also in all its business fields, continuing to deliver value to clients, establishing long-lasting business partnerships, also so that clients do not see it merely as a professional services company, but as their main business partner. We also aim to increase staff and improve the work-life balance of professionals, to ensure that Deloitte remains one of the best companies to work for in Angola.  
T. Joana Rebelo
P. Délcio Teixeira