IAPA International's 2017 Global Conference, Barcelona, Spain

IAPA was delighted to welcome its global members from 40 accounting firms and 28 countries to the 2017 Global Conference, held in Barcelona, Spain 22-25 October. 

The conference connected senior managers and partners to network and strengthen new/existing business relationships around the world, to learn how to improve services to clients operating both nationally and across borders, to share the latest insights in the accounting and business environment and to understand how firms can expand their businesses into new territories.

Martin Clapson, Acting Global Chairman opened the event welcoming all, including new and prospective members and was delighted to update delegates on what IAPA has achieved in the last 12 months as well as projected plans for the future.

It was a pleasure to then welcome new members from Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Chile who presented their firms and expertise to the group (pictured below L-R receiving their membership certificates from Global Chairman, Martin Clapson).  This was followed by our conference host, Javier Sanjuan, who offered insights into Spain’s trade and investment opportunities with a comprehensive update on ‘Doing Business in Spain’.

         

The theme of the working conference was ‘Achieving Market Leading Practice Profitability’ and attendees gained valuable pragmatic solutions to improve practice performance from conference guest speaker, Jim Thomas, PDW Group, UK. 

Jim led a highly engaging and interactive discussion on this topic incorporating the top 10 tried and tested approaches to transforming people, engagement, client advocacy and ultimately higher profits.  This was a particular highlight of the conference, offering plenty of tips and ideas for members to implement in not only their own firms, but their clients’ too. 

Above: Jim Thomas, PDW Group

 

IAPA Specialist Forums

This year the forums were scheduled directly before the main conference, allowing more time to discuss complex case studies in depth.  The International Tax Forum was chaired by Jay Sanghrajka, Price Bailey, UK and the Deals & Opportunities Forum was co-chaired by Jan Van Wijngaarden, JM Corporate Finance, The Netherlands and Simon Blake, Price Bailey, UK.  The additional time also enabled external specialist speakers to be invited to present on the latest technical developments in these areas.  This new format, offering targeted global networking in specialist areas, has been warmly received.

Deals & Opportunities Case Study

 

The power of the membership

One of the most valued aspects of IAPA conferences are the member-led discussions where members learn from each other and share/discuss their firm’s key issues as well as successes within their practices.  Individual firms highlight how they have implemented strategic change to better service/retain their clients and/or staff and how they are developing as the profession and associated technologies evolve.  This year the energised discussions focused on how firms ‘add value’ to clients including new advisory services as well as other topics including new marketing strategies.

 

Building valuable relationships

The format of the 2017 International Conference allowed for the first time two half days of networking excursions along with two half days of conference-room discussion and debates.  This external networking is what makes the IAPA International conferences such a success.  Feedback consistently highlights that members enjoy the informal environment these excursions offer that increase interaction and further build relationships to help develop future global business opportunities.  The half day excursions to the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, followed by a half day walking tour of Barcelona’s beautiful Gothic Quarter along with a full day excursion to Montserrat have left many wonderful memories amongst IAPA friends and colleagues, allowing time to cement trusted relationships and develop many new ones. 

The IAPA Conference app, now in its fourth edition, made connecting and networking even easier with its new features for 2017 and it was a pleasure to see these new functions being taken full advantage of enabling every delegate to take home a log of new contacts, ideas and inspirations from the event!

The official conference concluded with the 2017 AGM where Martin Clapson and John Campbell were unanimously voted as IAPA Global Chairman and IAPA Global Vice-Chairman, a term that will carry for one year.  With a grand finale at the beautiful restaurant Mirabe, located in the Spanish hills and with wonderful views over Barcelona, delegates and guests enjoyed a night of traditional Spanish entertainment and flamenco dancing, with everyone up on their feet at some point to enjoy the music.

With many thanks to our host Javier Sanjuan and his team at Abauding, Spain, for helping to organise a wonderful social programme and making the IAPA 2017 International Conference a truly superb event.