Many of the challenges business owners face are the same across the world. With a global Mazars team, I recently spent time in Germany where I visited some fantastic family-owned businesses. The success of this sector, the Mittelstand, has been exemplified by its resilience through the economic crisis. What stood out on my visit was their long-term view: sustainability and a sense of responsibility to the community they operate in are core values.
Advice to business owners cannot simply focus on one service. They need a trusted adviser to co-ordinate their services, to be at the end of the phone and act as a sounding board. This ‘hub partner’ is responsible for ensuring that all the individual service lines we provide to the client are delivered in a co-ordinated manner, and remain relevant and focused.
I am very fortunate to have colleagues who provide a broad range of quality services. These include IT audit, HR and organisational development, corporate finance and strategic planning. My role is to understand the goals and ambitions of the client, both business and personal, and draw on the appropriate expertise to help them succeed.
On the audit and financial reporting side, we are going through significant changes with new Irish and UK GAAP, company law, charity SORP, etc. While there may be only a few significant changes for each client, each company must be examined rigorously as the devil is in the detail. There is a huge amount of work in the conversion process.
We are awaiting the adoption of the European accounting directive into Irish law. The delay has impacted smaller companies, which cannot avail themselves of the provisions for small and micro entities introduced by the FRC during the year in FRS 105 and the amendments to FRS 102. The audit reform process is a great opportunity to rebuild confidence in the financial statements of European companies by reinforcing governance and audit quality through measures including mandatory rotation and joint audit.
My five years on the ACCA Leinster Members Network have been hugely rewarding. It gave me great pleasure to act as chairman in 2015 and I would say to anyone who has not participated in a regional or sector panel to get involved and take advantage of the great network of professionals around you.
This article first appeared in Accounting & Business magazine February 2016.