The Malta Independent 28 January 2023, Saturday
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PKF: Progress and prestige

Malta Independent Thursday, 12 September 2013, 18:33 Last update: about 10 years ago

The auditing firm PKF Malta, founded by George Mangion and partners in 1988, has just celebrated its 25th anniversary with an event that sported the logo Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. To mark this milestone, a partner and three employees of the firm tell us about their experiences within this progressive company. This article first appeared in the September 2013 issue of FIRST magazine.

Photos by George Scintilla

Donna Greaves Bonello, partner

My passion for business led me to pursue a career first in accountancy, and later in auditing, branching out into an eventual specialisation in taxation.

Through accountancy and its related fields, such as taxation, consulting, risk management and corporate governance, I was able to grow within the financial services sector that is the cornerstone of the Maltese economic system. After successfully completing the Advanced Diploma in International Taxation with the Chartered Institute of Taxation (UK), I sought to expand my expertise and to this end I am presently reading for a Masters degree in financial services.

I was appointed partner two years ago, making my mark as the first female partner since the partnership was originally set up 25 years ago. This was an important step in my professional career, although it invariably came flanked with increased responsibilities. My vision is to continue delivering high quality services as a means to the end of making a difference in the success story of our clients, people and communities.

I believe that the ‘tone at the top’ is an important driver of audit quality. PKF has the depth and breadth to help businesses compete effectively and successfully locally, internationally and across-borders. Our commitment to professionalism, quality, integrity and innovation combined with global reach have realised substantial growth in our 25-year history. We are passionate about being more than just service providers to our clients.

Our business model is based on each partner's commitment to deliver high quality business advice to our clients with a personal touch. We all enjoy what we do, and that attitude tends to be infectious with our staff. We are a fast growing, progressive firm that will meet the technical standards that an organisation expects, providing services to a list of prestigious clients and enjoying an excellent reputation that stems from our dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm to serve our clients. Our credentials are well valued by Government and its Departments, and in particular the Inland Revenue, VAT Department, Malta Chamber of Commerce, MHRA MFSA, and the commercial sector in general.

Other practice areas include financial services solutions, mergers and acquisitions and liquidation services. PKF has taken a general look at the Insurance Business Act to reveal that the whole piece of legislation is specifically targeted to ensure a high degree of consumer protection through rigorous supervision and reporting requirements. We offer advice to clients who face the stiff conditions of implementation of Solvency II which raises the bar on what is expected from insurance companies.

Solvency II is moving from a system of direct supervisory control to a more deregulated environment which requires new systems of risk control and risk management. Their soundness has a clear impact on the financial market. The key benchmarks of an insurance company are its solvency and its financial strength. Nevertheless, it comes as no surprise that the implementation of the proposed directive is a challenge for local insurers. Solvency II is a lengthy and complex regime which is difficult to interpret. The lack of clarity around its requirements and the delay of the start date are causing concerns for firms, but we are there to help them overcome this.

The 25th anniversary celebration was a toast to PKF’s formation which now stands as a leading firm in its field. Today, the firm has four partners providing accounting, tax, audit and business advisory services to meet the needs of mid-market companies and their principals. The motto Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant was chosen because in our 25 years of service to clients, we have always strived to achieve our mission, which is based on three core values: teamwork, quality and leadership.

Teamwork demands strong relationships, respect and collaboration with each other. We deliver quality: what is promised and add value beyond what is expected. Delivery of high quality services is the driver of success for all professional services firms, and PKF this is no exception. And being courageous, having a vision which inspires and motivates others, and demonstrating personal integrity are the defining characteristics of leadership in our business.

Tiziana Gauci & Charlene Borg, Surveys Department

Our job is to conduct polls in order to meet our client needs while targeting other potential clients.

In collaboration with the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, PKF Malta is currently conducting a study on the economic impact of the relevant VAT charge on accommodation. In this context VAT was increased in 2011 from 5% to 7%. The aim of this study is to obtain an understanding of the elasticity of demand following the 40% increased cost of VAT on accommodation and possible reinvestment of savings reaped by hotel owners if it is reduced back to 5%.

Meetings are being held with hoteliers to obtain feedback directly from the sector’s source. We have commissioned a top University academic with the analysis of the data gathered to ascertain the level of elasticity scientifically. A final report will be presented to MHRA in advance of the 2014 budget discussions which will highlight the positive impact on ploughing back savings into upgrading hotel facilities if a decrease in VAT on accommodation is awarded, thus benefiting both hoteliers and the Government by improving the tourism product.

We have also recently conducted an in-depth survey of tourism to identify what tourists in Malta seek, as well as their perception of the facilities available here. It was conducted over four days with a total of 144 respondents. One-to-one interviews were held in Cirkewwa, Valletta and St Julian’s and respondents were selected at random.

In general, accommodation and restaurants were positively rated, but the public transport system received criticism. The bus schedule needs to be improved – this was consistently the major concern for tourists. Having said that, the replies on the quality of the buses were evenly spread out. Surprisingly, 85% of the sample didn’t even consider car hire as a travelling option. Also, taxi services were used by only half of the sample. From the survey, one may easily conclude that tourists are generally more inclined to use public transport.

The need for cleanliness in the cities and roads was highlighted. Archaeological and cultural sites seem to be quite unpopular with young people, but fared quite well in terms of cleanliness and quality. In addition, entertainment was positively rated by tourists, though they seemed to be quite unsure about organized trips. Sliema and Valletta turned out to be their main shopping destinations. Overall, Malta was positively rated both in terms of expectation and money’s worth. The majority considered re-visiting in the future, with the main reasons being the climate and beaches.

Using our collaboration with other PKF European consultants, we intend to continue carrying out similar surveys regularly, building up a benchmark facility for investors in the tourism industry.

Kinga Warda, Marketing Department

I joined PKF as an intern a year ago. The University of Liege (Belgium), where I did my Masters studies, require students to do an internship related to their major in the final year of their degree. In my case, fate propelled me to this beautiful island where I have experienced what a brilliant opportunity it is to work in an English-speaking country.

After my internship ended I was sure that a place at PKF would be perfect for my first work experience on a full-time basis. I am currently in my fifth month as an employee. I am responsible for how we communicate with the outside world. My work also involves maintaining and updating the company website www.tunemalta.com, social media and designing marketing materials.

In addition, I am currently responsible for the coordination of two conferences which will be held under our auspices, one about oil and gas exploration opportunities in Malta and the other related to the simplification of official procedures.

The aim of the first conference is to present Malta as the ideal location in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, offering many advantages for offshore oil and gas exploration. Last March we participated in the prestigious Master Investor event focusing on investors in the oil and gas sector held in London, featuring over 2,500 participants, and through networking we managed to attract the attention of potential future investors.

The conference agenda will bring together senior government officials, oil and gas corporate leaders, financiers and global experts from all around the globe to share their knowledge and experience and discuss the latest developments and investments impacting this industry.

The other conference is about simplification procedures and bureaucracy in the country. Malta was ranked in 102nd place among 185 world economies analyzed in the World Bank Doing Business Report recently. It takes 237 days and 18 procedures to obtain a construction permit!

This bureaucracy slows down the Maltese economy and we want to show not only what is already known but also how this can be effectively tackled, managed and resolved.

Pkf’s Art Deco base

PKF Malta is a member of PKF International, a network member of the Forum of Firms, with offices in 140 countries and ranked tenth in the world. It is dedicated to consistent and high quality standards of financial reporting and auditing practices worldwide.

PKF Malta is located in Birkirkara and Sliema. The Birkirkara office building is designed in the 1930s art deco style characterized by rich colours, bold geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation. It combines the traditional aspect of craft motifs from the Machine Age. Art Deco architecture was a complete break away from older architecture reflecting a modern style of its own.

For recruitment of staff or more information, visit: www.tunemalta.com or www.pkfmalta.com or contact PKF on tel: 2148 4373

 

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