This is the first address I am writing following the Institute’s 2014 Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 3rd July. I am happy to note the good level of participation by MIA members, who numbered approximately 190 members.
One of the items on the agenda this year was the approval of an updated and revised statute. To put this statute revision into context, I have to refer to the various debates that we had at Executive Committee and Council over the past months. As Members of Council we discussed and considered the vision and strategy of the Institute. Our main objective was to render the Institute more relevant to its members in the ever-changing environment that they are continuously challenged with. The Malta Institute of Accountants has played a crucial role in enabling our profession to face up to challenges, however the Institute needs to continue to change and evolve – as should any organisation, to remain relevant.
In all fairness, this self-examination started more than two years ago and was also one of the main themes of the 2012 MIA biennial conference that had debated with an open minded approach, the Institute’s reason for being. Going forward there will be an increased focus to support our members with the resources, information and leadership necessary to enable them to provide services in the highest professional manner to benefit their employers and clients and, of course, the public interest.
Members have different needs which must be addressed by the MIA in order to remain relevant. The Institute has to help the profession shift from offering statutory to value adding services. As is clear from our objects the Institute is there to serve the interests of both those members in public practice as well as those in employment. Perhaps I am stating the obvious – in fact I hope that I am – but just in case I want to make it amply clear that we are here to cater for the interests of both groups.
Accountants whether employed with the private or the public sectors have an important role to fulfill not only with respect to their employers but also with respect to the public interest. And the Institute is here to support them.
In today’s fast moving world, the perception of business people is that the accountancy profession has a far more important role to play. Professional Accountants in Business (PAIBs) need to cater not only for the quality of the financial reporting but also to the public interest by supporting strong governance and sound financial reporting. Equally so in the public sector, professional accountants are responsible not only for the preparation of financial information but are also essential to the effective, efficient and ethical operation of the Government’s administrative structures and play a critical role in protecting the public interest by promoting accountability, effective financial management and good governance.
Our Institute is prepared to provide technical support and training and is holding meetings with private sector employers and those in the public sector to further the cause of our members and to foster the perception that accountants who are also members of the Institute have more to offer to their employers in terms of quality and ethical behavior.
The revised statute provides for an important organisational change, being the creation of a new role – that of the Chief Executive Officer, a post that will be replacing that of a Secretary General. The CEO shall be responsible for the implementation and execution of the strategies, decisions taken and policies set by the Council. This person would be employed on a full time executive capacity and the Council would expect this individual to better concentrate on our members needs and act in a timely manner on matters as these are arising and developing.
Another responsibility of the CEO is culture. Work gets done through people, and people are profoundly affected by culture. A great place to work can help to attract and retain good staff. Culture is built in dozens of ways, and the CEO sets the tone. His/her every action-or inaction-sends cultural messages.
The President, an elect official of the Institute, shall continue to be the interface with the public and with the tangible support of the fellow officers and the CEO, the President will be able to put forward the Institute’s views on pertinent matters in the various different fora and with the different stakeholders that the Institute interacts with. For the first time the revised statute includes a maximum time limit of 18 years a member can serve on Council. This change is intended to find a balance between experience and new blood.
A strong and dynamic accountancy profession plays a fundamental role in the economic growth and development of our country. This makes it incumbent on our Institute – the only professional accountancy body in Malta – to be active and well-established to enable the members of the accountancy profession to provide consistently high quality service in the public interest. This is what MIA will strive to continue to do in the coming years and this is what the revisions to its statute are meant to achieve.
Finally I would like to welcome on board Mr David Delicata, Mr Ivan Grixti, and Mr Christopher Balzan who were elected as MIA Council Members for the first time. I would like to thank Mr Franz Wirth for his contribution during his tenure as MIA Council Member. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Frederick Mifsud Bonnici and Mr Bernard Scicluna who did not contest the MIA Council election for their invaluable and relentless dedication to the profession and to the Institute over the many years that they served as Council Members.