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Issue 03

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Business as usual

The impact of Brexit on the UAE businesses

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Family dynamics

The different issues faced by family-owned businesses today

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Where there’s a Will. . .

The importance of succession and inheritance plans for non-Muslims in the UAE

insight


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CONTENTS

03 What’s happening in the network

04 By design

06 Business as usual

08 Family dynamics

10 In high standards

Ludo Verheyen, Managing Director, MTE Studios, attributes his company’s success to having a specialised team.

HLB Hamt Chairman Hisham Ali Mohamed Taher on the impact of Brexit on UAE businesses.

14 News HLB UK Launches FD Toolkit HLB Mann Judd launches Family Business Evolution Program Hazlewoods named as one of the Top Employers for School and College Leavers in the UK

CA Arun Mohan, Lead Auditor, HLB Hamt, discusses how auditors can help address the different issues faced by familyowned businesses today.

Gireesh Kumar, Senior Manager, Audit and Assurance, HLB Hamt, explains the importance of the IFRS in the UAE.

HLB Germany expansion

Insight | HLB HAMT Newsletter

HLB International Hosts Successful Audit & Tax Conference in Warsaw Hazlewoods Tax Manager Megan Lewis-Bourke Wins Top National Award HLB’s Global Russian Desk expands

12 Where there’s a Will...

Jay Krishnan, Partner, HLB Hamt, discusses the importance of succession and inheritance plans for non-Muslims in the UAE.


What’s happening in the network

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Albania T.A.L.I.S – Tax Audit Legal International Service - Based in Tirana

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Bolivia Barea Vargas & Associados - Based in La Paz

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Ghana Morrison & Associates - Based in Accra

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San Marino Studio Commerciale Antonio Valentini - Based in Dogana

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Qatar Nasser Al Khalifa Accountants and Auditors - Based in Doha

As one of the leading global accountancy networks, HLB International has continued its growth with the addition of these new member firms. They have allowed us to strengthen our position in developed economies, as well as expand our presence into emerging markets.

Appointments Dr. Dietmar Janzen

Samir B. Sahhar

Partner at HLB India Partner at HLB Dr. member firm, Fadnis & Schumacher & Partner Gupte, was appointed GmbH has been Deputy President of awarded the title of the Confederation of Asian and Specialist Lawyer for International Pacific Accountants (CAPA). Economic Law.

Partner at HLB Samir B. Sahhar on his selection to the Board for the Palestinian Association of Certified Public Accountants.

Anniversaries

Energy Consulting Russia: 15 years

Patrick Van Impe Partner at HLB Belgium was reelected as a member of the Council of the Belgian Institute of Registered Auditors.

PROXY, a.s. Czech Republic: 25 years

HLB HAMT Newsletter | Insight

Manoj Fadnis


Insight | HLB HAMT Newsletter

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Interview

By design

Ludo Verheyen, Managing Director, MTE Studios, attributes his company’s success to having a specialised team with a strong multicultural understanding, and the ability to turn a fantasy into a reality.


Interview

on the type of project we are working on, we have a network of specialists that we bring in, and we do a lot of our creative design in our workshops in collaboration with our allies,” explains Mr Verheyen. “The situation that we have is very adaptable and controlled.” Whilst it may be a select group of architects, 3D designers, interior designers, educational specialists, animators and graphic designers, there are in fact eight different nationalities within the Dubai-based team. Mr Verheyen believes that having a strong sense of multicultural understanding is one of the firm’s key cornerstones. “When we start brainstorming for a new project, it’s quite incredible in terms of the ideas that come up, compared to if we just had people from one region. It gives a rich dimension to the discussion.” The firm’s ‘niche’, according to their managing director, is having a uniqueness to “bring fantasy to life.” Whilst clients can often visualise an initial idea, they tend to lack the knowledge of how to put it into practice. “The creative work we do here is not what you would normally see in regular building design,” Mr Verheyen explains. “We speak far more in terms of the soul of a project, and about creating the wow factor of something we are proud of.”

“Depending on the type and scale of project we are working on, we have a network of specialists, whereby through collaborative workshops with our allies, unique creative ideas and designs are realized.” The company has come a long way since its first project in Cape Town, 18 years ago. When projects started getting bigger from 2004 onwards, the firm brought in HLB as their advisor and financial management consultant, and Mr Verheyen remains happy with their relationship to this day. A third office was opened in 2011 in Bahrain, where MTE Studios operated and managed the Bahrain Science Centre on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development. “The Ministry also appointed us to train local Bahrainis in best international practice in science centre operations,” says Mr Verheyen. “We have educational specialists for this purpose, and whilst we have our core business, these are related elements that support us.” Looking ahead, MTE Studios aims to contribute towards Dubai’s ‘happy city’ initiative, through creating positive and worthwhile projects with interactive elements in support of the government’s vision.

HLB HAMT Newsletter | Insight

Ibn Battuta was a traveller who journeyed from Marrakech to Mecca during the 14th century over a period of thirty years. All that is known of his story is what he recorded in a journal, now known as the ‘Rihla,’ which was then conceptually interpreted and recreated in the form of a shopping mall by MTE Studios, encapsulating six of the regions he visited through intricately detailed and themed architecture. This is just one of the major projects that this specialised consultancy firm has been involved with since it was first established in Cape Town in 1998. Belgian born Ludo Verheyen, Managing Director, MTE Studios, moved to South Africa over thirty years ago and worked as a senior partner in a multi-disciplinary planning firm before going solo and establishing MTE Studios, which began with the design implementation of Ratanga theme park in Cape Town. In 1999, the company was assigned its first contract in the Middle East, which was to create a family entertainment centre at the top of the Mega Mall, Sharjah. Since establishing a formal office base in Dubai in 2002, the company has been busy attending to many large projects throughout the emirate. They were heavily involved in the design of the Italian themed Mercato Mall, and they were also appointed as the sole conceptual designers in the creation of themed ‘worlds’ within Dubailand; a 278 km2 area offering entertainment, sport and leisure attractions. With seventeen years of experience in the region, Mr Verheyen has successfully navigated a whole host of changes in the GCC economy, including the 2008 economic crash. “When the crisis happened in 2008, we were lucky enough to be a little bit safeguarded because we weren’t dependent solely on Dubai, whilst a lot of other companies were. We diversified ourselves – in terms of our type of work, our offering, and also from a territory point of view,” says Mr Verheyen. MTE Studios survived due to its work outside of Dubai in Europe, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. “Depending

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Feature

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Insight | HLB HAMT Newsletter

The shocking referendum result confirming that Britain will leave the EU saw the crash of the pound to its worst in over 30 years. HLB Hamt Chairman Hisham Ali Mohamed Taher writes about how can businesses in the region exploit this result to its full potential in order to reap the maximum benefits.

The decision for Britain to leave the EU on the 23rd June sent shockwaves worldwide. Whilst many ‘remainers’ in Britain were overcome with disbelief at the result, it wasn’t long before even some of those who had voted leave were quick to regret their decision, when it became clear that empty promises had been made on behalf of the ‘Leave’ campaign. But now that the dust has settled and it has been globally accepted that Britain are, in fact, exiting the EU (subject to Article 50 of course - all in good time), the question now being asked is: what does it mean for the UAE? In short: not much. If anything, there are probably more pros than cons for the region following the result. So let’s start with the bad news. If you’re a British expat working over here and being paid in Sterling, then this really wasn’t the result you were after, as your wage just got slashed by around 10%. Meanwhile, if you’re an expat in a dollar-linked company, then you’re quids in. Many GCC countries have pegged their currency to the USD, thereby avoiding the wild currency

movements that we have seen in the British pound of late. Expats sending money home will now get more sterling value from less dirhams. As a result of this, it is expected that flocks of British professionals will now be looking to the UAE for job opportunities, as the concept of a tax-free lifestyle just became even more appealing. It also means that the decision for British expats looking at moving back home just got that much harder. It’s all evident in the exchange rate; 5.47AED to 1GBP on the 23rd June at midnight, 5.02 on the 24th, and 4.73 on the 7th July – just two weeks after the referendum. It does however mean that 1AED is worth more in the UK now than it has done for decades, tempting Gulf investors with the falling house prices in London real estate. This would be one way in which businesses in the region can exploit the current situation, as on paper, there has never been a better time to buy a UK property. However, investors may also go with caution until London’s position as the ‘financial hub of Europe’ is clarified. On the other


Feature

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Many GCC countries have pegged their currency to the USD, thereby avoiding the wild currency movements that we have seen in the British pound of late. growth. Liam Fox, the newly appointed international trade minister in the UK, is a ‘long-standing friend of the UAE’, which can only mean good news for the region in trying to establish a wide-ranging free trade deal. Even though it is too early to predict long-term implications, the effects that Brexit has had on the UAE in the shortterm have been minimal. Investors and businesses in the region should look to capitalise on Britain’s current vulnerabilities and invest in British real estate if they are to exploit this result to its full potential. For now, it’s business as usual in the UAE.

HLB HAMT Newsletter | Insight

hand, UAE investors with properties in the UK prior to Brexit will feel the negative impact of this, as they witness the decrease in value and returns. Whilst ‘leave’ may have been the preferred outcome in financial terms for Britons already residing in the UAE, Brexit has impacted the price of international travel for UK citizens, and this may have a detrimental effect on British tourism in the region. Travellers from the UK made up 8.4 percent of Dubai tourism in 2015, making them the third largest visitor group to the region. However, GCC airlines need not fear, as the weak British pound means that the UK is now a particularly desirable holiday destination due to the price of hotels and travel decreasing. The main concern for the Gulf – albeit minor when you analyse Britain’s fate - is the impact that Brexit will have in the long run on the price of oil. It is already said to have fallen 15 percent since the referendum, but this is likely to be a short term ‘shock’ reaction to the result, because the supply and demand fundamentals are unaffected. The UAE is best positioned to deal with any reductions in oil prices as the contribution of oil to its GDP is 19 percent, compared with 38.7 percent in Saudi Arabia. Only time will tell with this one in assessing whether the brunt of Brexit will be felt in this line of business. In terms of the effect on trade, the EU is irrelevant to the bilateral trade agreement between the UK and UAE. Trade reached £12 billion in 2015, and is still expected to hit £25 billion by 2020 despite recent events. UAE trade with the UK accounted for just 2.7% of the regions global trade last year (Moody’s), so there is certainly room for


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Case Study

FAMILY DYNAMICS

Insight | HLB HAMT Newsletter

CA Arun Mohan, Lead Auditor, HLB Hamt, discusses how auditors can help address the different operational and financial management issues faced by family-owned businesses today. According to a study by Family Business Network International and McKinsey, family-owned businesses in the GCC collectively generate $100 billion in annual revenue. In the UAE alone, family-owned businesses (FOBs) represent around 80 percent of the business community. These figures are testament to the big role FOBs play in the region’s business ecosystem. Several studies in the past have also shown that FOBs even outperform their non-family counterparts in terms of profits and phase of expansion. Some of these organisations began as entrepreneurial projects and have over the years diversified their interests and transformed into successful conglomerates. However, many FOBs in the mid-tier group are yet to recognise their full potential as most of them have reached a stage where it is necessary to have a more structured approach to operations. As an entity standing from the outside looking in, external auditors have the autonomy to objectively look for different deficiencies and rectify them to help the business become more globally competitive. Among the key aspects that external auditors commonly look into are the management and finance side of the business. A financial audit entails a

thorough analysis of a business’ financial standing. It verifies and evaluates the effectiveness of a company’s financial operations. The following are different ways in which an FOB can benefit from a financial audit: - Compliance - Staying in touch with the necessary regulatory, compliance and reporting requirements like the IFRS, New Commercial Companies Law and VAT. A financial auditor can check if the accounting and reporting systems are in order and the processes being followed are based on industry standards. - Third-party assurance - Financial audits bring transparency, which is crucial for one’s international competitiveness in the global business environment. An external party verifying the quality of the business’ financial report can further boost investor confidence. This will also bring the company access to finance with more favourable terms. - Confidence to owners - Brings confidence and comfort to family members who hold a big chunk of the business but are less involved in its day-to-day operations. Conversely, demand for audit is particularly strong in firms characterised by concentrated ownership where there is a higher risk of misinterpretations from minority shareholders. A financial audit

is crucial to lessen any misunderstanding about how the company’s assets are being utilised. - Review of internal controls - An external audit can provide an insight into different areas that need to be improved. It can show how the management can streamline internal controls and processes. In doing so, the company can avoid wasting financial resources and eliminate any operational inefficiencies. A management audit focuses on detecting existing managerial problems that could bring difficulties to business operations and deter further success. Studies have shown that 95 percent of family businesses do not survive the third generation of ownership. The main reasons behind this include the absence of articulated practices and procedures, and lack of discipline. Typically, a family business owner/manager is so closely involved in the business’ daily operations that he/she may never recognise primary problem areas or finds it difficult to view them objectively. This can be an issue when planning for change in the business’ environment, structures, and policies. Here are the key issues within a FOB which auditors can help address:


Case Study

Several studies in the past have also shown that FOBs even outperform their non-family counterparts in terms of profits and phase of expansion. Lack of good corporate governance. Practices can provide a means for ensuring sustained company performance and embedding the values of accountability and transparency in organisations. There can be a major issue when certain roles, rights and responsibilities are unclear. This is one of the main reasons why most of FOBs find it difficult to survive through the third generation of ownership. There are usually different visions and objectives among family members, which can create conflicts and compromise the governance of the firm. A management auditor can help fix this by reviewing the different aspects of the firm’s governance system. Developing a succession plan. Succession is an inevitable transition. The common questions are: Does the next generation want to take over the business? If so, are they really ready for it? What does this mean for the workforce? The newer generation of the family may not have the same approach to business as their elders. The incumbent management has a great wealth of experience and skills that need to be inculcated onto the succeeding generation. The transition to the next generation of management should be done meticulously and openly to ensure that stability is maintained within the company. The auditor, can provide directions that could guarantee that the business will not be hurt during corporate restructuring and transition.

Issues due to rapid growth. An enterprise that’s experiencing rapidgrowth often face many unique management challenges. There is a need to maintain a strong and innovative culture despite constant influx of new employees and an ever-expanding product line. It is often observed that when founders of FOB’s are experiencing fast growth, they easily get entrenched in the daily grind and lose track of the big picture. Other challenges at this stage include operational clumsiness, customer service failures, mismanagement of cash flows, choosing of right business partners, development of skills of executives and expansion of IT departments. A new set of controls and metrics needs to be implemented to enable them to keep up with the changes and effectively deal with these risks.

the opportunity cost of new investments, keeping an equal focus on the different sectors and bringing about synergies from the different arms. Planning for the future. Contingency plans are very crucial, especially in the case of an unexpected event in the business. In case of demise of a key personnel, the distribution of his or her assets and responsibilities within the company should be well-determined so as to not affect business continuity. The whole emphasis is to have a plan (such as an emergency plan, technology recovery plan, and business continuity plan) well before disaster ever strikes. An auditor can also analyse how closely an organisation’s disaster recovery readiness aligns to actual business objectives. Detecting and preventing fraud. Unlike non-family businesses, everything within the operations and management side of an FOB is usually dealt with in a more informal manner. Therefore, it can be difficult to monitor and control the actions of most employees within the company. External auditors can help FOBs review their control policies and see if they need to be more regulated to avoid theft and fraud as well as help design course of actions and disciplinary measures in cases of these unexpected events.

Compensation structure. Determining fair remuneration can often be difficult for FOBs. In some instances, employees feel that those working in the business draw greater benefit than others. The involvement of a third-party looking into this area of the business will bring objectivity into the system. Assessing synergies and opportunity cost. A family business that started off in just one sector and has later diversified into other industries typically find the transition difficult and confusing at first. The owners face challenges when it comes to determining

HLB HAMT Newsletter | Insight

Appointing key positions. High-level positions may be filled by family members who may not necessarily have the requisite skills to effectively perform the duties expected. Varying opinions on certain aspects of the business can also lead to conflicting decisions and can cause them to lose sight of their organisational objectives. A consultant can point out these weaknesses in the corporate

structure and determine what should be improved or even replaced.

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Feature

IN HIGH STANDARDS

Insight | HLB HAMT Newsletter

Today, transparency in financial reporting in the business landscape has become more crucial than ever. Gireesh Kumar, Senior Manager, Audit and Assurance, HLB Hamt, explains the importance of the IFRS in the UAE.

In the past, organisations across different countries have followed varying sets of method and principle in dealing with their accounts and its presentation. This was primarily due to a variety of social, economic and legal circumstances. There are numerous accounting standards in the world, with each country using a version of their own generally accepted accounting principles, also known as GAAP. These allow firms to report their financial statements in accordance with the GAAP that applies to them. Now, the challenges arise when the firm does business in multiple countries. Often, investors and finance leaders are muddled over analysing multiple standards, which only delays their decision-making process. This world-spanning problem demanded the implementation of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), a unified international accounting framework that facilitates the interaction between different financial systems set up by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Many of the Countries have started adopting and implementing these standards in recent years.

Why is IFRS pertinent to the UAE market? The UAE is viewed as one of the strongest Arabic countries in terms of business and finance. What’s more, is that it has a powerful financial cooperation with many other countries across the globe. However, there are no national accounting standards being implemented in the country. The government established the UAE Accountants and Auditors Association (UAE-AAA) under the Ministerial Decree No. (227) in the year 1997. The Decree states that the UAE-AAA will be the authority appointed by the UAE government to determine the necessary measures for developing and consolidating the rules and standards for practising the profession of accounting and auditing in the country. The UAE – AAA can recommend the standards to the legislative authorities, but it does not currently set accounting standards as a whole to the country, hence, the lack of such financial reporting framework being implemented in the country. Nevertheless, the Old Companies’ Law of UAE instead demanded that businesses operating in the country

make use of internationally accepted accounting practices, which had been interpreted to mean IFRS. The listing rules of NASDAQ Dubai required the preparation of financial statements in line with IFRS. The listing rules of the Dubai Financial Market PJSC do not specify a specific accounting framework, however, most of the companies listed under DFM have used IFRS as their accounting framework.


Feature

The Article 26 of Law No. 2 of 2015 on Commercial Companies, requires all companies to apply international accounting standards and practices when preparing their periodical and annual accounts. This is a very important step for the UAE, as many companies in the country look to trade, invest or expand overseas. ensuring transparency and upholding investor confidence are of utmost importance, and this is what IFRS sets out to achieve. All aspects of IFRS are very much applicable to businesses that are operating in the country. But in practice, IAS 19 ‘employee benefits’ are not applied to certain end of service benefits, due to the cost and lack of actuarial data and resource. Even though this practice is not consistent with the provisions of IAS 19, the treatment is acceptable because the effects are not material.

Reliable financial information is critical in ensuring stakeholder confidence. HLB Hamt is wellequipped with the right people and knowledge to assist companies looking to effectively implement IFRS in their financial accounts. In a thriving market like the UAE, audit plans and accounting statements prepared in accordance with internationally recognised standards are vital to enable continued support and diversification in the economy.

HLB HAMT Newsletter | Insight

Subsequently, the listing rules of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) also require all listed companies to prepare their financial statements in accordance with IFRS. As a fast-moving business and financial market, a substantial portion of investors and business groups in the UAE are from different parts of the world. This economic circumstance increases the importance of a global accounting standard in the country to facilitate the interaction between different users of financial statements prepared by various business entities from different industries across the globe. In April last year, the government launched the UAE Commercial Companies’ Law No. 2 of 2015 (CCL No. 2). The Article 26 of Law No. 2 of 2015 on Commercial Companies, requires all companies to apply international accounting standards and practices when preparing their periodical and annual accounts. This is a very important step for the UAE, as many companies in the country look to trade, invest or expand overseas. Moreover, as everything in business is based on trust,

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Insight

WHERE THERE’S A WILL...

Insight | HLB HAMT Newsletter

Jay Krishnan, Partner, HLB Hamt, discusses the importance of succession and inheritance plans for non-Muslims in the UAE. Over 90 percent of the UAE’s population is comprised of expatriates. Hailing from various parts of the world, a huge portion of this population have started their own families, built a business and established a home here in the country. However, life is full of uncertainties and we can never predict what’s going to happen in the future. All expatriates living in the UAE need to be aware that the laws in this country differ from those in their home countries especially when it comes to matters of death and inheritance. Now, while it’s not a pleasant subject to think about, it’s imperative to set a plan on how you can protect your assets and keep your family financially secure in case of your untimely demise. Unlike other jurisdictions, the UAE does not practice ‘right of survivorship’ where property passes on automatically to a surviving joint owner upon the death of the other. As an Arab nation, the UAE follows Shariah laws, which means that if you die without having planned for your family’s future, local authorities will have to examine your estate

and distribute it in accordance with the Sharia law, which may differ greatly from what you intend. There are a number of uncertainties regarding real estate inheritance issues under Sharia. Personal assets, including bank accounts, will be frozen until liabilities have been discharged. Shared assets will also be frozen until the issues of inheritance are determined, and family members are often left without access to money during this period. Fortunately, in 2015, the Dubai International Financial Centre launched the DIFC Wills and Probates Registry (DIFC Registry), making it the first and only jurisdiction in the Middle East and North Africa region where non-Muslim foreign residents can register a Will under internationally recognised Common Law principles. Here’s how it works Registering a Will Non-Muslim individuals over the age of 21, no matter his/her visa status, with assets in Dubai can register a Will at the DIFC Registry, the only authorised body appointed by the Dubai government. The


Insight

Probate claims The application of a probate grant shall be filed seven days after the

There are a number of uncertainties regarding real estate inheritance issues under Sharia. Personal assets, including bank accounts, will be frozen until liabilities have been discharged. death of the testator and can only be made by a legal practitioner or an individual who has attained a court order to do so. A probate claim of a Will can only be granted if it has been properly registered with the DIFC Registry and its terms remain unrevoked upon the date of the probate order. In addition, the enforcement of the Will should be governed by the DIFC Courts and will be granted in favour of the executors and beneficiaries named in the document. Enforcement of a Will costs around AED 5,500.

According to the latest reports, the Registry has received a positive response over the last year with over 650 registered Wills. This number reflects the increased awareness amongst expats of how important it is to protect their wealth and their family and children. Apart from the benefits it brings to expats in the country, the Registry helps enhance Dubai’s attractiveness as a destination for foreign talent and investment, and supports greater economic growth and capital inflows.

HLB HAMT Newsletter | Insight

assets (businesses, real estate and finances) involved in the Will are only limited to those that are located or registered in the emirate of Dubai. DIFC Wills does not apply to properties located in other emirates and countries outside the UAE. A Will typically has four key parties involved, which include the testator (the person who creates the Will), the executor (person named to execute the Will), the beneficiaries (receivers of the assets named in the Will) and the witnesses. The DIFC will charge AED 10,000 for single mirror and AED 15,000 for two mirror Wills. Guardianship of your children can also be determined in a Will. The absence of a Will may push authorities to intervene in guardianship matters, especially when both parents die simultaneously. A Will specifically for guardianship costs AED 5,000, and the cost for two mirror Wills for two parents is AED 7,500.

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News

HLB UK Launches FD Toolkit To highlight some of the areas of expertise of the HLB UK member firms, the federation have launched an ‘FD Toolkit’. The toolkit is aimed at Finance Directors (FD) of large and multinational companies and currently being sent to select firms across the UK. The toolkit was devised in recognition that there are areas of work where the Big 4 and other international accounting firms may be unwilling or unable to provide advice. HLB UK members can provide clients with the necessary proactive tax and commercial advice to fit with a company’s changing business needs. The Toolkit lists a number of services to give prospective clients an idea of how HLB UK member firms might be able to help companies, by relieving some compliance pressures as well as identifying opportunities for potential savings.

HLB Mann Judd launches Family Business Evolution Program

HLB Mann Judd has recently rolled out their Family Business Evolution Program, a course approved by Family Business Australia. HLB Mann Judd, like other HLB firms, has a strong interest in family business, with a number of HLB Mann Judd partners being accredited as Family Business Advisers through Family Business Australia. The program, which is targeted at clients and new-to-firm families, involves four group workshops focusing on

key stages in the business lifecycle. It is led by Sydney partner, Tony Kabrovski and is being rolled out across the network. This program is aimed at all businesses with family interests – be it singular, multi-family or intergenerational. It provides guidance, advice and tools to help professionalise the family business, enabling it to grow to its full potential and ensuring that that there is an effective growth and succession strategy in place.

Insight | HLB HAMT Newsletter

Hazlewoods named as one of the Top Employers for School and College Leavers in the UK HLB International’s UK member firm, Hazlewoods have been named as one of the Top Employers for School and College Leavers in the UK for the second year running. The firm was ranked 34th in the fourth national Top Employers for School and College Leavers awards organised byAllAboutSchoolLeavers. co.uk The awards recognise companies that are raising awareness of and delivering apprenticeships, school leaver programmes and sponsored degrees. The winners were decided on the basis of anonymous satisfaction surveys filled

in by trainees according to skills development, careers progress and salary. Julia Jones, HR Director at Hazlewoods, said: “We work closely with schools and colleges attending events such as careers evenings and providing mock interviews and offer a route to becoming a qualified accountant without having to go to university.” A-level students can apply for an AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) training contract with Hazlewoods which lasts two years. During that time they are employed full time gaining valuable experience

of working in accountancy whilst attending college one day a week and undertaking exams. Students can apply via the website and this year the firm has nine AAT trainees starting in September. At the end of the two years they can choose to continue their journey to chartered accountant status by taking up a further three years training contract through ACA which is the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) qualification or the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

The sessions are facilitated by HLB Mann Judd partners and directors from a range of divisions, including Business Advisory, Tax Consulting, Wealth Management, Business Recovery, Audit and Corporate Advisory. HLB Mann Judd is particularly proud of the response the program has had to-date. One client saying, “Whilst the content of the program has proven absolutely invaluable, it has been the journey over the course of the workshops that has had the biggest impact on our business, commented Karen Le Grand from Milne Alexander. “The format has enabled us all to methodically gain a clear understanding as to how we can best restructure, be more efficient and implement a clear strategy that we are all agreed on and remain confident that will achieve both our business and our family goals.”

HLB Germany expansion On 1 July, HLB Germany welcomed a new member firm to its federation. Joining the HLB International network is Dortmund-based firm Husemann, Eickhoff, Salmen & Partner GbR. The firm operates as a consulting partner for medium-sized and family-owned companies. With more than 160 employees, providing auditing, tax and legal consulting services as well as insolvency administration, the firm is an excellent addition to the HLB Germany federation.


News

HLB International Hosts Successful Audit & Tax Conference in Warsaw

for hear from experts on international tax issues, such as the ‘Panama Papers’. Speakers included members of HLB’s International Tax Committee and the British Polish Chamber of Commerce. HLB International has developed a good presence in Poland with HLB Poland comprising three member firms across the country; HLB • Krzysztof Burnos, Chairman of M2 Audyt Sp. z.o.o. Sp.k; getsix The annual HLB International Group and SWGK. the Polish National Council of Audit and Tax & Financial HLB International holds Statutory Auditors Reporting Conferences took numerous international and • and international speaker, place last week in Warsaw, regional conferences every year, leadership and strategy Poland and brought together consultant, Dean van Leeuwen, which are an ideal opportunity 200 professionals from 39 to not only share insights and from TomorrowToday countries. discuss the latest issues, but Prior to the conference, The conferences were an also for HLB professionals to opportunity to hear about topics HLB Poland organised a meet and network. The close affecting the industry as well as one-day conference entitled relationships between HLB ‘International Tax Structures discuss future challenges. members contribute to making Delegates had the opportunity & Poland’. The event was HLB a personalised and cohesive organised to inform delegates to hear from prestigious about the benefits of Poland as network, allowing for the smooth speakers including: running of clients’ business • Dr Krzysztof Kalicki, Chairman a country to do business with as well as offering opportunities across borders. of Deutsche Bank

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International Accounting Bulletin Ranking May 2016 HLB International has been ranked 10th in United Arab Emirates Country Rankings in the recent International Accounting Bulletin Ranking in May 2016. HLB Hamt is the independent member firm in United Arab Emirates representing HLB International.

HLB Hamt salutes the sacrifice of the brave firefighter Mr. Jassim Eisa Al Baloushi

Global Hazlewoods Tax Manager HLB’s Russian Desk Megan Lewis-Bourke Wins expands Top National Award HLB’s Global Russian

Desk service has now expanded to include 28 countries. The service is aimed at supporting Russian companies abroad as well as foreign companies operating in Russia. New countries to have joined the service are Finland, Tunisia, Ireland, Switzerland, Moldova and Italy. Worldwide HLB now has Russianspeaking professionals in: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine, and the USA.

Jasim Eisa Al Baloushi, an Emirati firefighter, passed away while trying to rescue the passengers of the Emirates Flight EK521 from India that crash-landed and burst into flames at Dubai International Airport on 27th July 2016. He was part of the Civil Defence force that helped rescue all 300 passengers and crew who were on the flight. His heroic deed was praised by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE. In India, the southern state of Kerala also held a ceremony to commemorate his passing.

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Megan Lewis-Bourke, a tax manager at HLB International’s UK member firm Hazlewoods, the Gloucestershire based accountants and business advisers, has won a top national award. Megan received the Taxation’s Rising Star Award in the prestigious Tolley’s 2016 Taxation Awards. She was presented with

her accolade at a glittering presentation evening at London’s Park Lane Hilton Hotel on 19 May hosted by TV celebrity Gyles Brandreth. Tolley’s Taxation Awards are hard-fought and recognised as the national benchmark for excellence within the UK tax sector. Megan was recognised by the judges as someone making a contribution well in excess of her peers and singled out as a high flyer for the future. Hazlewoods partner and head of the tax team, Nick Haines, said: “We’re all incredibly proud of Megan and what she has achieved. It goes to show the strength and quality of the people we have in the Hazlewoods Tax Team.”


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