‘Stay hungry for learning’ was my message to the new members during one of the most important activities organised by the Institute this autumn – the New Members Ceremony. It was a pleasure to host this year’s grand ceremony held on the 6th October, at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta. During the event 211 new members joined the Institute and the ceremony was attended by circa 1,000 guests. For the first time, apart from Ms Liz Hughes representing the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), we also had Dr Frank Bezzina, the Dean of FEMA of the University of Malta and Mr Frederick Mifsud Bonnici as representative of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, who also happened to be a past President of the Institute.
The new members were also honoured to also listen to Mr Joseph N Tabone, MIA’s second president who served the Institute in 1966. His role was significant in strengthening MIA’s current international connections, having been amongst the first officials in 1973 to hold meetings with the then-president of the Association of Certified Accountants in London, now known as ACCA. The initiatives and considerable work of Mr Tabone and his peers enabled Maltese students to be eligible to qualify for the ACCA examinations, customised to country-specific regulations.
The event was co-hosted by the new CEO of the Institute, Ms Maria Cauchi Delia who succeeds Mr Mark Abela. Maria will be managing the overall operations and resources of the Institute. She is certainly not new to the Institute as she has been the organisation’s financial controller for the past two years. I am sure she will excel in her new role, just as she well as she had in her previous role as financial controller. I hope you will join me in both thanking Mark for his past services to the Institute, as well as auguring the best to Maria in her new role. I myself look forward to working with her in my term of office.
Preparations also started for the MIA Biennial Conference which will be held on the 25th November. This year’s conference titled ‘Disruptive Innovation: Adapting for your tomorrow’, will discuss the changing economic, social and technological landscape and the role of finance professionals to meet current needs and anticipate emerging demands. Finance professionals are increasingly becoming involved in strategy, governance, regulation, financial accounting and taxation, amongst others. They are not only required to be adept at numbers but competencies should also encompass the ability to reason and solve problems quickly, generate new ideas, be aware of new digital technologies, work well with others and be ethical.
Staff at the Institute invested a number of hours on planning the CPE calendar for the period between September and December. CPE events organised were varied and included an insurance accounting course, valuation of property from a business perspective, responsibilities for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism, fraud, budget, GAPSME, VAT, and taxation updates amongst others.
An alliance I would like to underline was with Bank of Valletta in the organisation of a number of training sessions for their staff. Training included the new GAPSME regulations, financial business modelling and a few fundamental principles of auditing. These sessions were attended by over 200 participants from the bank’s branches, corporate and risk centres. It is part of our strategic focus to forge such alliances with constituted bodies and organisations that would possibly heighten the respect of a broader audience of the business community towards the Institute and You, our members.
The transposition of the Audit Directive was finalised with considerable input from our technical staff. The latest amendments involving amendments to the Code of Ethics and Listing Rules.
Earlier this year, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) finalised their review of the Implementing Procedures for the Accounting Sector. The amendments were reviewed by the Institute’s Prevention for Money Laundering Committee and comments submitted to the FIAU. Furthermore the EU Commission issued a directive proposal to amend the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. As a member of the Joint Committee of the FIAU, the Institute was asked to submit comments or feedback on the proposed amendments, which were then communicated to the Ministry for Finance for consideration.
Another project presently undertaken by our technical staff is the consideration and review of ‘Introducer Agreements’ by banks. A number of local banks are requesting that members acting as corporate service providers sign a Terms of Business letter in order to act as an “introducer of clients” to the banks. The MIA together with the Institute of Financial Service Providers have set up a joint committee made up of accountants and lawyers to study these agreements and make representations to the various banks involved.
Finally technical staff together with the Accounting Committee are presently finalizing the Illustrative GAPSME financial statements for small and medium sized entities. These will include two sets of illustrative financial statements, accompanied by an illustrative audit report conforming to the new IAASB auditor reporting standards and recent changes to the Companies Act, as well as a disclosure checklist.
The above does not signify the end of our work but continuing efforts afforded by the management team and by volunteering members serving in Council and Committees. Our obsession remains that of serving You the member, through better communication media and technology, more strategic alliances, more guidance, better CPE events and privilege card benefits to our members. Looking forward to another packed winter to serve our members and the business community better!