This issue of ‘The Accountant’ is mainly focused on small and medium practices. Having started out my own practice twenty-one years ago, it is a topic which is close to my heart. I started my work experience with one of the big four firms, and as is the case with most of the small and medium professional accounting practitioners (SMPs), I wanted to manage my own time and work with a diverse client base. It was not easy at first, however with time, dedication and perseverance, I am proud of what I managed to achieve.
“We should always keep our heads high and be proud of what we achieved together.”
SMPs are a particular sector of the profession, facing unique challenges of their own. Some of these include changing expectations from their SME clients and the challenge to become and remain their trusted business advisor, changes in the legal and regulatory requirements, challenges in attracting talent, the need to be ethical and professional even when faced with competition, the need to educate the clients to become more professional in the way they conduct business, the changes in the business environment, the changes in the way we work in this digital world and many others. However SMPs are a very important part of the profession and industry. The main client base of most SMPs are small companies, making up circa 98% of Malta’s economy and therefore the role of accountants or auditors of SMEs is vital. Additionally, the presence of a strong SMP sector also helps counterbalance the concentration risk the industry faces.
Our profession is changing at a fast rate. It is therefore important for SMPs to adopt a positive attitude to change. SMPs should embrace new technology, improve performance, change organisational structures and seize opportunities. The ultimate aim should be to achieve, but also to give a high quality service to their clients and the public at large. SMPs must strive to achieve excellence in what they do. They should maintain the necessary professional knowledge and skill at the required level to ensure that clients and the public continue to trust them as professionals and experts in their field. SMPs should also strive to act diligently in accordance with the appropriate rules and regulations. The Institute, and our affiliated member bodies including IFAC and Accountancy Europe all give ample guidance in this respect and I do urge you to look into the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway and at the Accountancy Europe website for guidance and resources.
We all work hard to grow and increase our profitability, but as a fellow professional and President of the Malta Institute of Accountants, it is my duty to remind SMPs that this should never be done to the detriment of our profession. We should always keep our heads high and be proud of what we achieved together. As Professional Accountants we should not be motivated solely by financial reward, but by the values of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour at all times and with no exception.
“Participate, call us and speak to us about your concerns or needs.”
Lastly, I encourage all members, regardless of the sector within which they work to participate and be active in our activities and committees. With your help we will continue to make the Institute relevant in today’s world. In the coming days the Institute will be issuing a call for your participation in our committees, I encourage you all to apply. Participate, call us and speak to us about your concerns or needs. The Institute is there to serve all its members and professional accountants.
William Spiteri Bailey