In France, accounting is government supervised with a national accountancy body and 24 regional accountancy bodies. As far as Auditing is concerned, this is quite the same organization with other different professional bodies.
L’Auditor: What are the first challenges chartered accountants face in France?
Dando: Challenges French chartered accountants are facing are numerous and diverse. An unprecedented increase of the regulation in all fields: the General Tax Code grew by 61% in a few years, the Labour Code broadens by 200 pages a year. The profession’s mandatory quality standard (NPMQ) reinforces our procedures but multiplies the time and budget firms have to allocate to internal checkings ; the anti-laundering policy adds up more regulations. Our clients are also facing a more complex regulatory environment.
An exceptional technological evolution with the remote transmission by chartered accountants of all fiscal, social and juridical statements to every administration. Note this trimester, payroll servces are moving to phase 3 of the DSN norm (Nominative social declaration) which totally reforms the payroll and social departments of accounting firms and which is also demanding in significant investments. Chartered accountants have to invest in technology to live through the digital era so they can automatise bookkeeping, which may solve the difficulties firms have to find staff in this field. It’s a challenge, more an opportunity in reality, for which firms must be able to allocate resources.
Yet, the economic situation is still tough: it’s exacerbated by unprecedented fiscal, social and normative pressures whose repercussions are on the clients. Hence firms’ margins are declining when the firms have to invest more and to stay attractive.
L’Auditor : We are living in a changing world where society requires more transparency and information. What can French, Italian and Spanish auditors bring to the scene?
Dando : It’s a powerful opportunity because we convey trust. This trust is necessary for the economic system to function properly and thus to sustainable growth and job creations. We are more than ever essential even if on a regulation level, our mandatory intervention thresholds are lifted. Alexis de Tocqueville once said the very first rule of economics was to keep accounts and that the first step leading to failure was not to do it. Accounts are necessary for all companies, the small ones and the biggest too ; and not only the managers but the stakeholders needs reliable accounts.
I would add we can also contribute to pushing our clients forward so they could face the challenges waiting for them. In the Mediterranean environment, we have to ensure that they know one another better , that meaningful opportunities emerge from these exchanges.
L’Auditor : The teams of most consulting firms must be prepared to face new challenges: Which formations, skills and abilities must be deepened?
Dando : A solid technical base is always necessary ; general knowledge, economic culture, a sense of curiosity and open mindedness also allow to work together, to grasp and to adjust to the evolutions. To that extent, linguistic skills have to be stressed on. Humility and perpetual desire to learn are as much needed. Add also computing skills. The big data and the blockchain can remodel our jobs. All of this is thrilling, eventually.
L’Auditor : What are the most immediate challenges the AMA is facing?
Dando : In the complex and evolving environment we’ve just defined, the AMA brings solutions to our fellow Mediterranean colleagues. The AMA Congresses develop practical subjects based on what our counterparts and clients need ; they help to broaden our business practices, to improve grasping the evolution of our environment thanks to the cross-view of our three countries with all the different regions, their own particularities and similarities. Those friendly discussions allowed by the reunions of counterparts from different countries but akin border regions are also business opportunities.
The AMA must strengthen its conferences and ensure the quality and the constant improvements of its sessions.
The AMA benefits from a significant knowledge but the association has to make it known. The Auditors’ Mediterranean Arc deserves to be more known and recognised.
To sum up, there are mainly two challenges:
Making sure of the ongoing evolution of the services brought to our colleagues in the conferences but also via the website, newsletter, database, internships and youth formations.
Expanding the AMA’s recognition; making it known as it is in our counterparts and regional economies’ best interests.
L’Auditor : You participated in the latest AMA conference which took place in Malaga with the ICJCE Convention. How can you describe your experience?
Dando : First of all, I would like to thank the ICJCE, Mario ALONSO and Eduardo MOLINA. The experience was stimulating for the AMA. Besides our workshops, we had the chance to assist to the ICJCE sessions. Ours were also open. It allowed to better publicize the AMA while giving complementary services to everyone. We profited from a quality welcome and we may potentially renew the experience.