The Small and Medium Practices (SMP) Conference, hosted by the Malta Institute of Accountants, brought together experts, industry leaders, representatives of constitute bodies and other stakeholders in diverse fields including financial crime, forensic accounting and taxation to discuss and share their views on several factors that are having or will have an impact on the environment within which local practitioners operate.
Local firms today need to navigate around complex regulatory frameworks in various areas including financial crime and corporate taxation.
A key message that was underlined in many of the elements tackled during the event was the transformation of the role of the accountancy professional as a trusted advisor of the entrepreneur.
Introducing the event, MIA President David Delicata appealed professionals to maintain high quality and ethical standards. He also warned against the imposition of one-size-fits-all regulatory reforms, adding that the Institute was in constant contact with authorities to ensure that the voice of the profession was heard.
Ms Maria Delia, CEO of the Institute explained that the MIA is currently working with the Accountancy Board on revisions to the Accountancy Profession Act. It is imperative to have the necessary regulatory framework that defines the services that could be provided by members of the accountancy profession, thus ensuring that these are provided by a trusted professional with the necessary background knowledge and experience, and who is bound by the relevant regulations.
The fight against financial crime and reforms related to corporate taxation were two of the key topics debated during the Conference. On the former, the discussion focused on the increased responsibilities on practitioners, who are required to be always vigilant to uphold the reputation of the Maltese jurisdiction. Accountancy professionals have a key role in gathering information and exposing suspicious transactions with the objectives of weeding out criminal activity.
On corporate taxation, various experts outlined the key elements of upcoming reforms, including those originating from the European Union and the OECD, particularly the Shell Directive, transfer pricing regulations as well as proposals of a minimum corporate tax. Although such reforms are still in the legislative pipeline, broad consensus appeared to emerge during discussions that the Maltese financial jurisdiction needed to move towards companies which offered actual substance on our shores while seeking to enhance its competitiveness without depending solely on an advantageous tax system offering. For this to succeed, a national concerted effort was required to protect what we have, invest further while at the same time seeking to breaking new ground in areas such as access to finance and human resources.
During the Conference, it was noted that despite the significant challenges facing the jurisdiction, accountancy professionals have managed to bring out the best of the profession, with success being achieved through the necessary changes.
The SMP Conference was supported by LEXCO Compliance Solutions.