On 7 July I was honoured to preside for the first time since being elected President last year over the 52nd AGM of the institute since its merger. Indeed, every AGM of any entity whether it is a commercial enterprise or a not-for-profit organisation, is a time of reflection on the past year’s performance on how to add value to the organisation for it’s members. At Officers and Council meetings and also at Executive team level, our obsession is You, the Member. We fully acknowledge that we are there to serve and support our members. We have been elected to office by You and we pledge fully our fiduciary duty towards you by staying objective, unselfish, responsible, honest, trustworthy, and efficient in whatever we do. I do hope you are of the opinion that we are sailing steady and that you feel that there is value in being Members.
I have taken the opportunity to reproduce my recent address to the AGM, which I hope you will find interesting especially because it highlights the Key Result Areas (KRAs).
Welcome to the AGM of the Institute for the year 2016.
- 10% growth in membership reaching just shy of 2700 members.
- 1800 registered students as of now with 200 graduands every year.
- Close to negligible attrition in membership number – close to 100% retention.
- Consolidated revenue of €1.35million.
- 10% growth in Members Funds reaching €1.2million.
- We normally speak of Shareholder value which in our case refers to member value.
What is the value proposition to You, our esteemed members of the Institute?
“Supporting Accountants, Promoting the Profession and Serving the Public Interest.” This is the institute’s tagline. This is what we need to stay intensely focused on.
Professional accountants have a vital role to play not only in the commercial success of entities, but also perhaps in raising financial literacy within the populace at grassroots and in households, in personal financial management and retirement planning. The brand equity of the institute should remain squarely based on the highest ethical behaviour and proficiency behind all information that we provide for stakeholders to take decisions on. This is what matters. This is “serving the public interest” and fulfilling the institute’s vision.
Even if the supply of accountants is steady, demand seems to outpace it causing some concern in terms of satisfying the demand. Our counter reaction has been to import talent both from Europe and rest of the world (155 accountants in 2015). Not surprisingly, one of the major challenges that we face at the institute is ensuring that there is a steady supply of accountants to match the market demands. At MIA we believe that long term solutions to these HR demand and supply shortcomings must be sought to ensure that Malta’s economic progress is not hampered.
The confidence and stability in markets towards creating and preserving wealth for the greater good, is critically dependent on ethical behaviour. Ethical behaviour is characterised by honesty, fairness and equity. Ethical behaviour respects the dignity, diversity and rights of individuals and groups of people. Ethical behaviour means acting in ways consistent with what society and individuals typically think are good values. Society needs us to be ethical in whatever we do. Unethical practices will still most probably come to us because in the end, there is money involved in all transactions. We are the gatekeepers. It is up to us to filter the right from the wrong. It is up to us to protect the reputation of our country, which has been good to us.
Our institute has so far been instrumental in educating and upholding the highest degree of ethics and rectitude amongst its members generally. I believe that we are extremely well-poised and entrenched with strong values that in turn reflect the values that as an Institute we are proud to uphold. We are responsible and act responsibly, in the best interests of our members and the general public. We are accountable and accept responsibility for our actions. Through our code of ethics, we act ethically and work in the public interest, treating people fairly and honestly. We encourage the same from others.
The importance of the role of accountants in ensuring the quality of financial reporting cannot be overly emphasised. Accountants often find themselves at the frontline of safeguarding the integrity of financial reporting. Management is responsible for the financial information produced by the company. As such, accountants therefore have the task of defending the quality of financial reporting right at the source where the numbers and figures are produced!
We give the peace of mind to users of financial information that through our bond with international standard setters for several decades, the local reporting system is based on a strong and internationally comparable set of standards, and our role in the continuous education and technical support we give to our members ensures the highest quality of those reports and statements.
The direct positive contribution of this is that the international competitiveness of enterprises is strengthened, and also that capital flows and financing become more accessible and at competitive costs. The institute has played a critical role in the design-and-build of the robust corporate reporting infrastructure, including the essential legal and regulatory frameworks, and the development of the human capacity based on the highest ethical behaviour. I strongly believe that the Institute, and its members and sponsoring firms, have earned a lot of credit for the optimal economic performance we boast of. We need to communicate better the value we bring to business, government, regulators and the populace in general and towards this end, we have tweaked our communications strategy.
Another major selling point for accountancy is that it is now so entrenched in our everyday lives, that it is a profession that endures and also grows further, even in economic downturns. It is a profession that supports the harmonisation of reporting requirements and hence provides accountants with a flexible international mobility. Accountants are and will remain in demand, both in developed and still developing economies.
Our Institute has contributed significantly in capacity building towards high calibre professionals who are premier players and who in turn improve transparency, thus facilitating the mobilisation of domestic and international investment, creating a sound investment environment and fostering investor confidence.
The Institute plays a significant role in the economic fabric, not only by being the voice of the language which is the grammar of business, but also by being the promoter, educator and gatekeeper of high technical and ethical standards. The Institute has over the years become the hallmark of the largest profession in Malta providing in-house technical and consultative material to its esteemed members and also to Government towards policy and legislation.
Some relevant KRAs:
- 177 hours of CPE during last year in core including prevention of money laundering.
- An annual average of 100 voluntary committee hours dedicated to anti-money laundering and ethics.
- Launch of the ‘CPEonline-Your Time!’ which is an online solution providing 118 courses.
- Transposition of the revised statutory directive and the PIE regulation (the EU Audit reform) resulted in 59 pages of amendments to Acts and other Regulations. The Code of Ethics, 135 pages, has also been redrafted as a result of the audit reform.
- Transposition of the Accounting Directive resulted in 27 pages of amendments to Acts and other Regulations. 94 pages of GAPSME were created from scratch.
- Guidance issued by MIA amounted to 32 pages.
- Contributed to the Legal Bill working closely with the Chamber of Advocates
- Since November 2015 to June 2016, our Facebook likes grew from 1,666 to 3,460; Twitter followers grew to 303 from zero baseline and LinkedIn followers grew from 291 to 465.
- On Facebook we reached 56,855 people.
- A total of 88 email campaigns have been sent using Epaper since December 2015.
- Forged new alliances with FinanceMalta, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Malta Association of Credit Management, BOV Training, among others.
- Presence and visibility in the local media.
- Launch of the ‘MiApp-Take advantage’ which is a member privilege scheme offering best prices on goods and services.
- Transformation of the social events to be more inclusive.
- 1,311 man-hours of voluntary contribution to the institute by Council, Officers and Technical Working Groups.
I cannot forget to pay express respect and gratitude to all past Council Members, with special mention to Hilary Galea Lauri for his long years of service to the institute, and sadly, to a past member of Council, and a gentleman, Kevin Mahoney, who passed in November last year. He served the Council for 13 years. Kevin was quiet, but people listened to him.
I augur you the best for the rest of this AGM and also look forward to seeing more participation in conferences, CPE, workshops, voluntary contribution in sub-committees…all for the greater good of the institute, the voice of The Accountant.
‘Supporting Accountants, Promoting the Profession and Serving the Public Interest.’ Stay focused.