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IEKA 4th International Conference: "Auditor’s Challenges in an Economic Environment of Continuing Change"

On november 18, 2017 the Institute of Certified Public Accountans of Albania (IEKA), on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, organized in capital Tirana, at Sheraton Hotel, the 4th International Conference with overall theme ‘’Auditor’s Challenges in an Economic Environment of Continuing Change’’.

This conference brought together members from the Albanian accountancy profession and academic institutions, representatives from the Albanian government and other independent Institutions, members from International and regional organizations  such as WB, IFAC, ACCA, FCM, EFAA, FIDEF, etc., representatives of PAOs from Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Azerbaijan and other countries.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Dr. Hysen Çela, Presidet of the Albanian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (IEKA) made a brief overview of the profession development during these two decades of it existence in Albania. He emphasized the fact that the profession has played a vital role in most of the country's economic transformations. Today IEKA has positioned itself as one of the most advanced professional bodies in Albania, adhering to higher ethical, technical and professional standards.

The event was also greeted by the State Minister for the Protection of Entrepreneurs, Ms. Sonila Qato, who evaluated the work of accountancy profession especially in promoting transparency and equal respect of the law, it affects the fight against informality and supports the government's economic reforms.  

Other personalities such as Parliament Member and former Minister of Finance Mr. Anastas Angjeli, Head of Supreme State Audit Mr. Bujar Leskaj  and Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy Mr. Elton Haxhi, greeted IEKA for its 20th anniversary and appreciated the importance of the work of  the memberes of our profession.


Greetings from international accounting organizations took a special place in this section of the Conference. EFAA President Mr. Bodo Richardt, after appreciating IEKA's leaders and the Institute's vision for further reforming, pointed out that today more work needs to be done to strengthen small and medium-sized practices (SMPs), which are the real driver of the economic development. 

FCM President Mr. Masum Turker underlined the great role Regional Accountancy organizations are playing. They can serve as regional profession bodies that promote the professional development in the different regions. The federation of Mediterranean accountants contributes significantly in developing accountancy profession in the Mediterranean countries.  

As an active member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC®), IEKA was also greeted by the Executive Director of this organization Mr. Fayez Choudhury through a video recording. 

The main aim of this event was to raise the awareness on the importance of sound financial reporting and the need to redesign the role of accounting profession in conditions where most business entities are faced with multidisciplinary changes and when technology is significantly changing the way of doing business.

The conference was organized in the following three sessions:
  • The new roles of professional accounting organizations in the conditions when the oversight system has taken on the role of the profession;
  • Development of Small and Medium Practices, digitalization and use of technology - the need for diversification of services and the enhancement of quality;
  • Improving education - a key factor for the future success of the accounting profession.

First  Session

In the first session, in his presentation Mr. Hysen Çela showed the way followed by IEKA as a success story for the development of a professional organization. Today, IEKA has 216 statutory auditor members practicing the profession and 61 audit firms. Of significance was his expression that it is time for the profession to react and move like "Formula 1" with astounding speed

Mr. Reiner Veidt CEO (Chief Executive Director) of German Chamber of Statutory Auditors (WPK) introduced the functioning of the Audit Profession Oversight System in Germany, focusing on the quality control system that is shared between Germany's Public Oversight Board for Public interest entities and National Auditors' Chamber(WPK) for other entities. He complimented Albania for the male-female balance in this profession compared to Germany where statistics show that 84% of accounting professionals are males and 16% females.

Within the discussions of this session, Mr. Dritan Fino Chairman of the Public Oversight Board of Albania said that oversight of the profession is an important element to improve the quality and build confidence in professional services, thus serving to the country economic development.

EFAA President Mr. Bodo Richardt continued to address the visible contribution of regional organizations in the development of the profession in the changed environment. He referred to the IFAC Global SMP Survey 2016 survey, highlighting key findings, the impacts that changes have on the accounting profession and the role of professional bodies in general. SMP's main challenges are: attracting new customers, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and especially, low fee pressures. Diversification and enhancement of the variety of professional services remains the priority for the future of the profession.


Second  Session

The second session had a broader spectrum of discussions. Mr. Philippe Arraou, former president of CSOEC and currently in charge with international cooperation at the French OEC/ CNCC organization and also IFAC Board Member, held a very interesting presentation on digital business transformation and digitalization as a necessity for developing our profession. In addition to analyzing the factors that determine the need for change, he also mentioned four options to transform the change into a professional advantage, including professional skills, security, trust and value chain.

Greek experience on the role of small and medium-sized practices and diversification of services was well presented by Mr. Panagiotis Alamanos, director of international relations at SOEL body, Greece. He emphasized opportunities for SMPs and initiatives to help SMPs deliver quality services 

As the deputy General Director of Taxation, Mr. Artur Papajani discussed about the challenges of the profession at the current stage of tax administration development, including need for cooperation to combat the high level of informal economy.

As a representative of Big 4 companies operating in our country, Mr. Elvis Ziu from Deloitte argued how diversification of professional services contributes to add value for business. He pointed out that now is the time to reconsider the classic services and to be possitioned on the new and inovative services.


From Bilanc shpk - an Albanian accounting software company, Mr. Fation Veizi spoke about the use of softwares in the development of small and medium sized entities, and small and medium size practices as well.


Third  Session

The education of accounting professionals was the subject of the third  session of the Conference. Mr. Andrei Busuioc  from the World Bank CFRR Vienna, spoke about the EQFinrep project and its impact on the education and qualification systems, the continued professional development and the quality assurance of auditors' work. He clarified the components and objectives for each component of this reform.

The current education system of IEKA, challenges and perspectives were presented by Mr. Kledian Kodra Chairman of the IEKA Education Committee, Mr. Kodra pointed out that this education system complies with IFAC requirements and EU directives on auditing.

The World Bank project consultant, Mr. Stewart Macleod talked about the role of the WB project in developing a new curriculum in line with the EU's Statutory Audit Directive. He presented the three levels of certified public accountant curriculum: basic, intermediate and professional.  

From the Faculty of Economics, University of Tirana, Mrs. Ingrid Shuli said that accounting education of students should not be considered as a process that ends with the completion of studies but begins with them and continues throughout the time of practicing the profession. She was further deepened in the role of universities in accounting education.

Lastly, Mr. Nazmi Pllana Chairman of SCAAK Board brought Kosovo's experience in education and certification of accounting professionals.

The event was attended by around 240 participants in the hall, of whom 32 were foreign, 40 invited from the country and the others were statutory auditor IEKA members. This event served as a good opportunity to foster debate on the future of the auditor's profession at a time when digital technology is evolving at very rapid pace. Specifically, it focused on its role in improving the quality of reporting, increasing the range of services provided by statutory auditors, helping SMEs grow, increasing value for business entities and especially helping government in fighting the informal economy and corruption


More at:
Conference programme
Brochure for IEKA 20th anniversary

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