What made you decide to become an accountant?
The accounting profession can be generously rewarding, both financially and experience-wise. In general, accountants are useful and necessary in all sectors (corporate, financial) and in many industries from fashion to education. In addition, the employment rates for accountants are stable, even during difficult economic conditions.
From the experience you have gained so far, has your opinion about the profession changed from what you imagined it would be like when you first joined the firm?
My view of the profession is that it is continuously evolving (due to changing tax/accounting rules, political conditions, etc.) and that each accountant should keep abreast of recent changes. This is in line with my expectations when I first joined the firm.
What are the main challenges that you see the accounting profession having to deal with in 2019 and beyond? How can they be resolved?
The main challenges for the accounting profession in the foreseeable future include evolving smart and digital technology, the continued globalization of reporting/disclosure standards, and new forms of regulation. Technology could replace the current working approach of accountants. There is a noticeable trend in accounting firms in the US, EU, and Australia towards outsourcing services to India and China for the purpose of minimizing costs. For instance, increased regulation (US Sanctions list), and disclosure rules may impact the profession (i.e. the ‘Panama Papers’) as governments combat profit shifting and tax avoidance.
Has the profession changed over the past five years? In what way?
The accounting profession has changed considerably over the past five years. Technological advancements have affected the industry and stricter regulation has been enacted as a means of improving the transparency of financial transactions. In this regard, the higher level of scrutiny and regulatory oversight has brought changes to accountants who need to keep abreast of shifting legal and political expectations and demands.
An ease with adopting technology is a well-known characteristic of your generation. How important is technology in your work? Do you see its role increasing in the future?
Cloud-enabled computing has brought improvements to mobility and connectivity for accountants, who can work from home and access clients’ data remotely on various devices, regardless of location and time. We can perform advanced computations on the fly and retrieve real-time analytics. Technological advancements in accounting have automated inputs and calculations that were previously performed manually.
When you look at the profession globally, do you think that the way it operates in Cyprus is ahead, behind or the same as in the rest of the world? Why?
In 2013, Cyprus went through a financial adjustment programme, which included the provision of financial assistance of up to €10 billion. Cyprus exited the programme in early 2016 (having drawn only €7.2 billion) and cut its debt/GDP ratio to below 100% in 2017. The country’s return to the international markets has restored confidence and credibility. Beating all this in mind, it is clear that Cyprus can adjust quickly to global changes since it is a small economy and I believe that the accounting profession here is at the same level as the rest of the world.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
My aspirations for the future are to further enhance my knowledge of Cyprus’ direct/indirect taxation and to keep abreast of recent tax changes.
“THERE IS A NOTICEABLE TREND IN ACCOUNTING FIRMS IN THE US, EU, AND AUSTRALIA TOWARDS OUTSOURCING SERVICES TO INDIA AND CHINA FOR THE PURPOSE OF MINIMISING COSTS”