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President's Address - Fabio Axisa

2 Aug 2019 12:00 | Anonymous
The Accountant – Sustainability. Summer 2019 (MIA Publication)
 
In my first address, as President of the MIA, to our members and our profession please allow me to express my happiness and gratitude for my election as President. This has constituted one of my dreams and ambitions for a number of years and I have worked hard for this to happen. Being elected President is an honour as it is a privilege to lead the Institute comprising the members of one of the most important professions in Malta. I will do my best to be a President of which our members and all professional accountants will be proud. I pledge my strong and total commitment to do everything I can to protect and elevate our profession.
As a starting point, I would like to thank outgoing President William Spiteri Bailey for leading the Institute and the Accountancy profession through challenging times in the past two years. My congratulations and sincere gratitude to the outgoing President for the significant work he carried out. Everyone mentions William’s efforts to stay close to our members by visiting accounting and audit firms together with other places of employment where our members are employed, as one of his greatest achievements. 
Going forward, throughout the next few terms we will focus on consolidating the MIA’s role, stature and relevance with a long-term view. We will continue building on the work carried out by subsequent MIA Presidents throughout the recent years. I have already declared a number of times that gone are the days when strategy and direction are modified every two years as soon as a new President is elected. Indeed, we want a programme spanning a number of years and a number of Presidents where the long-term strategy to be adopted is consistent and sustainable. 
There are five core pillars underpinning the MIA’s strategy in the coming years and expect me to focus on these on a daily basis throughout my term:
  • Ensuring the MIA is home to all qualified professional accountants;
  • Elevating quality and raising standards within our profession; 
  • Working with all stakeholders to enhance the education and qualification process; 
  • Fostering collegiality and comradeship among accountants;
  • Striving to make the Institute’s voice heard, loud and clear, on issues which are important for the profession but also on national strategic issues. 
The Institute belongs to all accountants and we definitely need broader representation of those qualified and operating as accountants in the Maltese jurisdiction. We want to continue conveying this message in a strong manner; the Institute is not a club solely for the largest firms. We want every single professional accountant, who behaves well on a professional level, to be a member of the Institute. But only fully qualified accountants should be considered as, and actually call themselves, professional accountants. The Institute will work relentlessly to achieve this latter objective.
The MIA has a duty to keep raising the quality of accountancy profession. Our profession is constantly under the spotlight. We are being told by financial services regulators and by banks that we need to be stricter with client onboarding, monitoring of clients’ business and acting promptly and decisively when it comes to inadequate client behaviour. Whilst we might feel this is unjust criticism, I am sure we can and we should do better. We need to safeguard the reputation of our jurisdiction by enhancing our procedures; our profession is considered one of the most important gateways to business in Malta and hence we must behave accordingly taking cognisance of the stature of our profession. As an Institute we will continue working with the profession’s regulator to push the bar higher up, as we need to strive to do the right thing professionally in all circumstances, even if this entails a cost. 
The Institute will continue to strengthen its efforts in the areas of education and qualification processes. The quality and quantity of accountants in the marketplace is a fundamental aspect for the profession. We need to seek ways of making it easier for expatriate professional accountants to relocate to Malta. But, fundamentally, we have to enhance the quality of accountants qualifying in Malta by giving our input on the level and rigour of technical material covered in the different qualification routes. The attractiveness of the profession needs continuous reinforcement as we need to attract the best students and youngsters. Our profession is a successful profession; we should not be struggling to attract the best crop for our profession. 
The MIA will dedicate more time and effort to reinforcing a sense of collegiality and comradeship among accountants. In this area we need to function better as one profession, sometimes going beyond self-interest. The Institute has taken a number of initiatives which clearly demonstrate how well we can work as one profession. But expect more in this space as we will be taking a number of actions to address some key issues we are facing. The profession has a big role to play nationally, and we are committed to continue investing to give the Institute an influential voice on issues of strategic importance. The Institute deserves to have a voice on all relevant national issues, not simply on taxation matters. We have taken a number of initiatives in this area in the past few years; but the Institute is expected to pursue and indeed enhance its input and interaction with the relevant stakeholders. Our voice must be strong, technical, apolitical and effective– a voice which stakeholders look forward to hearing. We are in the process of taking a few decisions which might not be very popular or perhaps might not be understood. We work relentlessly to promote the Institute and to safeguard its viability. We would really require your trust and support throughout the coming months; but please do come forward with suggestions to help the Institute improve and grow further.
               
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