March. International Financial Forum - Accountants Creating Value (Kiev. Ukraine)
On 31 March 2011 Kyiv hosted International Financial Forum "Accountants Creating Value", organized by ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and leading Ukrainian business daily Ekonomicheskie Izvestia.
Leading CFO's, auditors, accountants, finance professionals from Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan took part in the Forum. This made it a unique venue for sharing professional experience and business practices from the vast and diverse area between the three seas: Baltic, Black, and Caspian seas. This was the first time top ACCA members from Ukraine, Belarus, Caucasus states got together to discuss pressing issues of economic recovery, as well as challenges and prospects facing the finance profession in the region. Though Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan 20 years ago where parts of USSR, countries followed quite different routes in political and economic development. Despite the crisis, Azerbaijan had economic growth of 9% in 2009 and 3.7% in 2010. Baltic states, despite being part of EU, suffered hardly from the crisis - in Latvia GDP fell 18% in 2009. Radical regulatory and anti-corruption reforms in Georgia put it on the 12 rank globally by ease of doing business.
Two guests of honour participated in the Forum - Helen Brand, ACCA Chief Executive (it was her first visit to Ukraine), and Kurt Ramin, developer of XBRL, computer language of financial reporting.
The forum had three panels, each of which sparked vivid and active discussion among participants and guests.
First panel, "Economic outlook for the countries of Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian "belt": lessons from the crisis and recipes for recovery", was focused on the following issues:
Brief overview of economic condition of the region’s countries; vision of the place of accounting and finance profession in it
Preconditions of economic recovery and growth in different countries of the region
Recipes of recovery: where the biggest gaps are, from the point of view of professional accountants and auditors? If there is a universal recipe for the countries of region?
The panellists (who were Lolita Capkevica, Assurance Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Latvia, Andrii Droniuk, Head of the Public Council at the National Commission of Communications Regulation in Ukraine, Elnur Gurbanov, Partner, Assurance and advisory services, Deloitte, Azerbaijan, Zurab Lalazashvili, Chairmen of the Board of the Georgian Federation of Professional Accountants and Auditors, Managing Partner of BDO Georgia, Pavel Laschenko, Managing Partner Ernst & Young Belarus, and Svetlana Khokhlova, director of consulting, BMS, Estonia) agreed that though there might be no universal recipy for recovery for different countries, transparency of business regulations and business operations.
In particular, Zurab Lalazashvili from Georgia, said: "There were many reforms in our countries, including tax reform. Tax administration was simplified, but some taxes grew. And though Georgia is on top place (12th) among other countries of region in terms of ease of doing business, it has only 105th place by easiness of closing business".
Second panel was focused on IT technologies for finance profession, and discussed how implementation of newest IT technologies in finance (SAP, XBRL, other) make businesses around the region more successful, profitable, and competitive.
Kurt Ramin, Director & Head of Standards at AccountAbility, and one of IFRS and XBRL developers, delivered a presentation on eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), a real electronic revolution in standardizing financial reporting standards around the globe. XBRL is now being used by many international organization and transnational corporations around the globe. Use of XBRL became mandatory in many countries (it is possible, for instance, to submit XBRL reports in Estonia), with most notable example of Singapore.
Panellists in this panel (Pavlo Boyko, Managing Director, TMF Ukraine, Sergiy Ivanyuta, CFO MTS Ukraine, Kurt Ramin, Director & Head of Standards at AccountAbility, XBRL developer, Konstantin Romansky, SPA senior manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers Ukraine, Andriy Stytsiuk, CFO, Softserve, Ukraine) also discussed the cases of IT systems use in finance, possibilities to save costs and add value, challenges and possible barriers for implementation of such IT systems in financial sphere, audit of IT sphere, and business process outsourcing.
Third and final panel was focused on talent management and professional development of accountants and finance people.
In her keynote speach, Helen Brand, ACCA Chief Executive, said: "Finance professionals have a key contribution to make at each of the stages in the cycle of sourcing value, delivering value, and sustaining value for businesses. The role of the accountant has changed in the past decade and will continue to change, as accountants continue to develop strategic aspects to their skill-sets. It is only qualified accountants that have the necessary training to grapple with the issues that confront businesses, both big and small. The demands asked of accountants are diverse, changeable, and challenging. This is why talent management and professional development are such important issues. The possibilities of what a qualified accountant can do for business should be endless".
Panellists in the third panel (Igor Krykun, CFO, Publicis Groupe Ukraine, Yulia Lyubomudrova, CFO, KPMG in Ukraine, Margarita Povazhnaya, CFO, System Capital Management, Ukraine, Elshan Rahimov, Managing Partner, GRBS, Azerbaijan, Olena Volska, Managing Partner EBS, Ukraine, and Nataliya Vovchuk, Head of ACCA Ukraine, Baltic and Caucasus States) had also discussed the following issues:
What possibilities finance directors have for increasing professional level of their staff under limited budgets?
What systems of independent evaluation and examination of finance professionals are available in different countries? Professional ethics as a cornerstone of professional development.
Gender issues of accountants’ professional development. Do men and women have equal access to professional development and career growth? Do companies take account of gender issues, when planning professional development of their finance cadre?