David Gorton, partner in PM+M’s Audit, Accounting + Advisory team, recently went to Athens for the global conference organised annually by Praxity (the world’s largest alliance of independent accountancy firms). Here he shares why attendance at such events is both essential for PM+M and great for our clients.
When I say “international conference”, people tend not to think “vital” or “valuable” and certainly not “fundamental”, but the Athens international conference for Praxity was all those things (and more).
The essence of the conference is the opportunity to talk to the tax and accounting professionals from other firms in Praxity – these personal connections with international advisers help PM+M support our clients when doing business internationally and sometimes the conversations lead to unexpected opportunities and insights.
Key points I came away with were:
– We at PM+M are among the leaders in terms of helping our clients to use cloud accounting products to drive value into their business. We already share our thoughts on this with colleagues from Australia and New Zealand and some of the large accounting firms in North America are looking to start learning from our expertise as they launch services in this area.
– Some of the in-depth specialisms within Praxity firms are really impressive – the Canadian firm looking to launch accounting products has a specialist team focused on advising on crypto currencies and other blockchain applications. Apparently there is a greater demand for cypto currency advice in Vancouver than in East Lancashire but knowing that we can draw on their expertise with a phone call is great.
– The strength in depth that Praxity allows PM+M to offer for UK businesses looking to expand into Central and Eastern Europe is extraordinary. A great example of this is an Austrian accounting firm whose push into Eastern Europe has given them teams in Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Croatia among others. When I last spoke with the head of the Serbia office four years ago, she had just set up their Belgrade office which had a team of 5 – this has now grown to 20. Another striking example was the linkages between the Ukrainian member firm and the Praxity firms in Switzerland and Cyprus.
– It was great to see the mergers and acquisitions teams of the alliance firms improving international integration with a new data hub making it far easier for clients of all firms to access potential acquirers and targets across the globe.
My Athens conference experience was valuable on many levels. Our clients constantly challenge the team at PM+M to support them internationally and to be proactive with ideas and connections – the interactions at Praxity conferences allow us to do just that.
(It was a proper conference, but I also really enjoyed drinking in rooftop bars looking at the Parthenon)