Accounting for Maltas small
enterprises through an international brand
Alliott Gauci and Co Managing Partner Joseph Gauci
attended the Alliott Group Annual European Regional Conference at the
beginning of the month. Alliott Group is a worldwide accounting group
with over 500 offices distributed all over the five continents. The
Malta Financial and Business Times speaks to Mr Gauci about his participation
in the conference and the benefits derived for the practice and its
What thinking is behind the formation of such large accounting
groups as in the case of Alliott Group?
With globalisation the world has shrunk and more companies are undertaking
international trade. Moreover today there is more movement in capital
and investment on a world wide basis. Due to these reasons more companies
are requesting the services of worldwide accounting firms.
Thus, the aim of Alliott Group is to service companies that would require
accounting or other related services, especially those that undertake
international trade through the Groups worldwide network of independent
How are firms chosen?
Firms are chosen on the basis of various criteria but the main determining
factors are their capabilities, reputation, size and client portfolio.
Normally firms, with some exceptions within Alliott Group, are medium
sized firms in their respective countries.
Firms within Alliott Group, like in most international accounting groups
,are divided into three categories i.e. members, correspondents and
associates. The member firms are those who have the voting right to
elect the Executive Committee that manages Alliott Group. This is obviously
the category that influences the direction and management of the Group
as a whole. The Maltese firm is a member firm and is fully committed
to enhancing the reputation of Alliott Group within Malta.
What is the scope of the annual European Regional conference, which
you just returned from?
The aim of the annual regional conference is three-fold, that is to
elect the Executive Committee of the Group, to give direction and to
train partners in various specialised matters. In addition it is also
the place were partners from different countries share their views and
experiences. Furthermore, it is a tool to enhance collaboration and
friendship between the various European firms.
What type of clients does Alliott Group target?
In most countries Alliott Group targets all types of companies except
the multinational corporations. Most of the client base of firms within
Alliott Group is made of small to medium sized owner-managed businesses.
Alliott Groups expertise lies in assisting small and medium sized
businesses to grow. That is why we have chosen to become a member of
Alliott Group, since the Group strategy resembles exactly our strategy
within Malta. Small and medium sized businesses in Malta form the backbone
of our economy. We are confident that our firm is transmitting the experience
within Alliott Group to its clients.
How are such small and medium sized businesses assisted?
Alliott Groups philosophy is to give the best service possible
at the least cost. This does not imply that we try to reduce the level
of service but that we try to be more pro-active and efficient. Furthermore
we try to take advantage of our size by providing a more personal service,
something that the larger firms may lack due to their size. This philosophy
is well practised within our firm as we try continuously to give a very
efficient and personalised service.
Every business today has its own specific problems and through our experience
we try to assist it in improving its operations and profitability.
This is proved by the fact that our firm today provides services to
all types of businesses, ranging from self-employed persons to large
Maltese or international companies. As a Managing Partner I am really
satisfied that, in just four years since I left Grant Thornton, as a
the firm we have been able to attract such a wide spectrum of clients
from the different sectors of the Maltese economy.
How has Alliott Group assisted your firm?
As already explained Alliott Group assisted our firm mainly by giving
us its technical and professional backup and guidance in addition to
Furthermore any member firm of a large international group assures its
clients that it has certain level of professional standard and works
within a regulated environment and framework. This gives your clients
and your firm a better image and more credibility with banks, other
financial institutions, government departments and the general public.
Moreover it also gives you the possibility of attracting international
How do firms within Alliott Group view Malta for investment?
The fact that Malta took such a long period of time to join the European
Union affected the amount of referrals that we have received to date.
In most European countries Malta was seen as an offshore paradise and
for tax purposes. The fact that in most European countries Malta was
considered as a tax haven deterred international companies from using
As a result such companies were afraid that any amount invoiced from
Malta would not be allowed as an expense in their country by the tax
authorities. Since Malta will now become a member of the European Union
this problem in my opinion will be eliminated and we hope to get more
international companies, which would use Malta for their international
On the other hand most European firms within Alliott Group know of the
potential of Malta. We are confident that since Malta will now become
a full member of the European Union more referral work will be received.
One must remember that we have several advantages over the other new
member candidates within the European Union, mainly a well-trained workforce,
excellent communications, the use of the English language and a sound
What was the main theme of the conference?
The main theme of the conference was to discuss the strategic plan of
Alliott Group for the next three years. Basically the strategic plan
aims to improve the Group marketing and administration, diversify its
services and at the same time maintain a constant growth.
Alliott Group network of independent accounting firms continues to grow
at a very fast rate especially in North and South America. Also AG Legal
was formed so that legal firms can also form part of Alliott Group.
In this way the Group would be in a better position to meet future challenges
and enhance its corporate image.
Great importance is also being given to technical matters to ensure
that firms in their respective countries are well prepared professionally.
The development of a more interactive web-site was also discussed and
actually such project has already started.
Where are the main offices of Alliott Group in Europe?
The central administrative office for Alliott Group situated in London,
though in every continent there is a central office. The Chairman is
Antonio Gomez who is Spanish, while the Executive Director of Alliott
Group is David Almond who is English manages the office in Europe.
What are the plans of your firm for the very near future?
We hope to continue to establish the firm as one of the best medium
sized firm in Malta. We will also strive to give a total solution to
our clients. We are of the opinion that small and medium businesses
must reorganise themselves or else they will face difficult times in
the near future as the local market becomes more competitive. Many businesses
use their accountants for recording books and for fiscal purposes rather
than to assist them to improve their businesses. We work with a different
aim. We try to teach our clients how to use financial data to improve
their business and than advice them what actions they should take to
We intend this year to introduce a new service through which we will
be offering our services to companies to assist them on managing their
The lack of liquidity is one of the main problems most businesses are
facing and therefore we believe that professional advice and expertise
should be sought under these circumstances. At the end of the day our
aim is to offer a value for money professional package so that our clients
will continue to grow and prosper.