The EuropeFides Annual General Meeting took place in St. Julian’s, Malta this past weekend (26 and 27 January 2018).
Our General Meetings are an opportunity for professionals from small and medium-sized tax, accounting, audit and legal firms to exchange technical expertise, network with fellow experts from Europe, Asia and Africa and for potential new members to introduce their companies.
Our hosts of ACT Advisory Services Limited had put together a packed programme with plenty of possibilities for the members and guests from 22 countries and 38 firms to discuss business developments and network.
For further impressions of our event, go to the photo gallery of the Malta Meeting.
Seminar: Cryptocurrencies and blockchainm, data protection and private real property investment
Our Friday Seminar began with an insightful talk on the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies by our keynote speakers, Steve Tendon of TameFlow Consulting and Dr. Karl Sammut of Sammut.legal. With the potential for cryptocurrencies, blockchain and smart contracts to obliterate intermediaries in transactions (such as the big players like Google, Facebook, Ebay, etc), it is expected that these technologies will lead to a paradigm shift that will be bigger than the invention of the internet. In a lively discussion with members and guests, the speakers highlighted the potentials and challenges as well as the likely socioeconomic, political and business consequences thereof. Participants were particularly interested in the question how these developments will affect the role of business advisors in the future.
Maria Lancri of GGV Avocats à la Cour – Rechtsanwälte Paris gave a presentation on the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation. The GDPR will officially enter into force on 25 May 2018 and applies to all organizations that handle personal details of EU citizens. Given the nature of the data that tax advisors, accountants, auditors and lawyers collect of their clients, members and guests were keen to discuss the rules that apply to their firms. Participants also discussed how they can assist their clients in compliance with the GDPR.
In light of the approaching deadline, which is less than 4 months away, and the fact that many businesses and organisations will not be able to implement the required regulations in time, data protection authorities have already announced that they will not immediately sanction firms that are not complying, but will give them more time.
The Workshop on cross-border private real property investments led to a lively exchange among panelists and participants about tax and legal aspects in their different jurisdictions. The panel was led by Pascal Ngatsing of GGV Avocats à la Cour – Rechtsanwälte Paris, Stephen Balzan of ACT Advisory Services Limited, Alessandro Atzeni & Stefano Meani of ATAX –Associazione Professionale and Sandra Gomes Pinto of Sandra Gomes Pinto & Associados, who illustrated aspects to consider when buying, holding and selling or inheriting property in France, Malta, Italy and Portugal. The discussion with members and guests showed that criteria such as wealth tax, VAT rates vary significantly in the different jurisdictions.
Amir Boukhari of Cabinet d’audit et de conseil Boukhari gave a presentation on outsourcing or off-shoring accountancy services in Algeria. Considering the increasing pressure on productivity and decreasing cost efficiency, outsourcing accountancy may be one strategy to lower costs and maximize efficiency. With considerably cheaper labour and an accounting system that is heavily influenced by IFRS and close to the French system, Algeria is interesting for firms considering outsourcing their accounting.
Stefano Meani & Alessandro Atzeni of ATAX – Associazione Professionale informed about their recent extension of international services which now also include business consulting for companies interested in getting involved in the Arab markets (in particular Dubai, UAE).
During the formal General Assembly Miquel Masramon, the EuropeFides President of 2017, officially passed on the torch to Cesare Zanotto, who will be heading the Management Committee for 2018.
We would like to thank Miquel for his dedication as President and Board member in the past three years.
New Management Committee for 2018:
In addition, 4 new members of the Management Committee were appointed, who will join the President and two Vice-Presidents for 2018:
Cesare Zanotto, EpYon Consulting - President
Pascal Ngatsing, GGV Avocats à la Cour – Rechtsanwälte Paris - First Vice-President
Heinz Zillgens, SERF EuropeFides SAS - Second Vice-President
Dr. Michael Bormann, bdp Bormann, Demant & Partner and bdp Management Consulting (Tianjin) Co. Ltd. - Member of the Board
Günter Handl, Aureal GmbH Wirtchaftsprüfungsgesellschaft - Member of the Board
Dr. Erwin Herresthal, HCSM Steuerberatung GmbH - Member of the Board
Fokko Jolles, Jolles & Ko Accountants B.V. and Vatko B.V. - Member of the Board
Growing membership in Europe, Asia and the Middle East
We are particularly pleased to report that our association continues to grow rapidly and attract new members, especially from regions where EuropeFides is not yet represented. In addition to the 11 new firms that have joined the association since January 2017, we were delighted to have 8 new firms that are interested in becoming members introduce themselves to at our General Meeting in Malta:
Sajic Law Firm – Banja Luka, Bosnia Herzegovina
Sandra Gomes Pinto & Associados – Lisbon, Portugal
Bouvy & Avocats – Luxembourg
Naoum Farah Law Office – Beirut, Lebanon
KAP Soejatna Mulyana & Rekan – Jakarta, Indonesia
Babalakin & Co Legal Practitioners– Lagos, Abuja, Nigeria
AlcazarAbogados y Consultores – Malaga, Granada, Zaragoza, Spain
SGOC Sousa Guedes, Oliveira Couto & Associados – Porto, Lisbon, Portugal
Belluzzo & Partners – Verona, Milan, London, Singapore, Lugano
We would like to thank all new firms for coming to Malta and look forward to welcoming them as fully-fledged members of our association soon.
As usual, the Malta Meeting also provided ample opportunity for participants to catch up with each other and network, during the many coffee breaks, lunches and dinners.
Our hosts of ACT Advisory Services Limited were also keen to show us the most beautiful sides of the island and had organized a sightseeing tour on Saturday afternoon with visits to the fishing village Marsaxlokk, the Blue Grotto and a guided tour through the old town of Valletta. The event ended with a lovely dinner at one of Malta’s finest restaurants in Mdina.
We would like to thank all members, guests and speakers for making our event such a success.
Our special thanks go to the colleagues of ACT Advisory Services Limited for putting together a fantastic meeting and being lovely hosts.
We look forward to our next General Meeting in summer 2018, which will be hosted in Prague, Czech Republic, by our members of Pavelka Law Office.