17 – 23 January 2001

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Malta's EU accession and the financial services sector - an HSBC perspective

EU accession to guarantee boost to tourism - Refalo

EU application important factor for Alliott's Malta presence

The Alliott Group, the global forerunner in accounting and auditing, has taken the decision to institute a member firm in Malta. Joe Gauci, of Alliott, Gauci & Co., together with John Caruana, has been appointed to represent the firm's interests in Malta. RAY ABDILLA spoke to Mr Gauci on what prompted the firm to invest in Malta.

During the Alliott Group's annual meeting for European partners held last year in Spain, which Joe Gauci attended for the first time, Alliot Group Chief Executive David Almond highlighted the importance of Malta, particularly in terms of Malta's pending EU membership bid, which will be creating new opportunities for international clients to consider Malta as their business location.
The Alliott Group is a network of independent firms co-ordinated from its UK Headquarters. The Group's structure is composed of four independent regions: Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia –with members in 56 countries in 117 firms, 185 offices and with an excess of 460 partners. The Alliott Group is a world-wide independent network of auditing and accounting firms offering complete business and management consultancy services to small and medium sized clients all over the world.
The Group was formed in 1979 by the former London-based firm Alliott Peirson International, by which it was known until only recently. The Alliott Group specialises in tailoring services both internationally and locally to meet client's demands. The Alliott Group offers a global solution for international business.
The Group, as of the first of the year, has been represented in Malta by its member firm Alliott, Gauci & Co. Meanwhile, managing partner, Joe Gauci – a former Grant Thornton partner has been joined by John Caruana, with the main aim that the firm provides an excellent and personalised professional service for sole traders and small to medium sized businesses and companies.
Joe Gauci told The Business Times that, while the majority of Maltese businesses are family owned, the company has structured itself to meet the demands of sole traders and small and medium sized companies. These businesses require specialised, personal attention – particularly in view of the globalisation of the world's economies, the liberalisation of the Maltese economy and Malta's application to become a European Union member.
Mr Gauci adds that, without any doubt, Alliott's name identifies with an international network of independent and strong local firms - widely recognised for their flexibility and professional approach, especially when dealing with SMEs.
"Over the past year, we have laid the necessary foundations so that the firm would be in a position to offer various professional services - including an active programme for introducing the latest computerised auditing techniques and development programmes to train staff, " Mr Gauci explained.
He continues, " I feel confident that the firm will continue to strengthen itself to meet its clients' needs. Our main aim is to act as business advisers to assist our clients in successfully running their businesses."
He also stated that one must bear in mind that accountants hold a large influence over their clients and usually have a big say when one of their clients wants to start up a new business venture in any particular country.
While most accountants also act as business advisers, they are obviously reluctant to advise investors to invest in a particular location if there is a lack of political stability or if the location fails to have the necessary legal framework in place.
Alliott Group believes that once Malta becomes a member of the EU, these matters will be surpassed and this will for sure raise opportunities for European companies to consider Malta as their new location.
Mr Gauci explains that one must remember that Malta no longer offers cheap labour, especially when one compares Malta's wages with those of Eastern Europe. However, Malta does hold several advantages including the fact that it is a stable democratic country, has a good telecommunications infrastructure, its residents enjoy a high level of education – plus the fact that most of the population speaks English.
Through its network of professional firms with proven business expertise and first-hand knowledge of the country or region in which they are operating on a daily basis, clients of the Alliott Group are privy to instant access to practical information and strategic advice on a myriad of issues. Furthermore, the local team benefits from the everyday experience of the rest of the group – which they deal with regularly as part of their overall business practice.
Therefore, the company can keep its clients in touch with developments as they occur while identifying trends across the political, legislative, trading and commercial spectrum.
The Group fully appreciates just how vital it is to know how to make varying types of commercial wheels turn by understanding the political, cultural and business dynamics of the countries and marketplaces in which they operate.
Mr Gauci explains, "Because when we say we offer a complete business service, we seek to account for all eventualities in order to work as effectively as possible on behalf of our members' clients."
In addition to supplying these essential routes to dealing successfully in international markets, the Alliott Group also offers a vast network of vital contacts in key business areas, government (national and local), research, academic and industry representative bodies
This, naturally enough, opens doors and creates opportunities that only a truly people-orientated and intimate business service can supply. Without the usually bewildering corporate profile to overcome or bureaucratic spider web to navigate, the Group prides itself on being open and flexible - and direct in guiding the client straight to the resources that will serve them best whatever the countries or regions they are involved in.
Although it's something of a truism that a business is only as good as the people it uses, it's certainly true that at Alliott Group it is the people that count - on both sides of the equation.
When asked why an international accounting firm of the likes of the Alliott Group took the decision to appoint a member firm in Malta, Mr Gauci explained that, first of all, Malta has become an important financial center in Europe. This is evidenced by the fact that all renowned world-wide accounting firms, including the big six, have local member firms representing them in Malta.
Furthermore, Mr Gauci explained, the Alliot's European counterparts hold the local accounting profession in very high esteem and the proof is that several local accounting firms have sent Maltese accountants and auditors for short working assignments all over Europe.
Generally speaking, the appointment of a local firm as a member firm of a large accounting international firm is based on several factors including the fact that other firms would have referrals from their own existing clients concerning that particular country. Obviously, the Alliott Group felt that it was of benefit to both its member firms and clients to have a Maltese firm representing them in Malta.

The World-wide network
It is people who help make the difference, and over the last twenty years Alliott Group has developed a powerful network of firms across the world whose established commercial success has been built on their intimate knowledge of 'local' practices, combined with a commitment to, and expertise in, international business.
Extending throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North America, Latin America, Asia, the Far East, Australasia and the Pacific Rim, the Alliott Group has merged the reality of global ambition with the need for truly local coverage.
Through this approach the company seeks to put the needs of its members' clients first, rather than attempting to project their business requirements through our own multi-national profile.
According to Mr Gauci, “By using the collective resources of the entire Alliott Group network, and applying uniform and rigorously maintained international standards, we can seek out the best solutions to any business problem for any client on any scale almost anywhere in the world.”
Regular international conferences, technical workshops and manuals, training sessions, newsletters and the Alliott Group's web site are active ingredients in ensuring a cohesive, informed and up to the minute service for all its members' clients

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt