The 2016 EMEA conference in Vienna was a great success

Article by Patrick Scanlon and Magalie Queffeulou, Ferrieres & Co, France

IAPA’s recent Europe Middle East & Africa (EMEA) conference on 3-4 June held in Vienna, with hosts Dieter and his wife Katharina Ehart from Austria (WTE Wirtschaftstreuhand GmbH), was another great opportunity to exchange with fellow IAPA International member firms, to participate in some excellent presentations and catch up on the latest news from IAPA. It was the first time that the IAPA conference had been held in Austria since the European conference at Innsbruck in 2004 and the Meridien Hotel in Vienna proved to be a winning location as over 100 IAPA delegates and guests attended.

IAPA guests on the steps of Schonbrunn Palace:

    

The Vienna conference also saw an IAPA conference innovation - IAPA now had its own smart phone application for the EMEA conference - All we had to do was down load it and we had all we needed to know about the conference and Vienna at our fingertips - a great idea! 

Another first was an IAPA conference being sponsored for the first time - the EMEA meeting was sponsored by Huddle, the collaboration and file sharing group.

The conference was opened by regional chairman, Martin Clapson from Price Bailey who welcomed the delegates and introduced Jan Huygens, IAPA Global Chairman and Stephen Hamlet, IAPA CEO.   We were not surprised that, following the recent letter of intent signed with Allinial Global, the potential future integration with IAPA International was a major topic at the conference.

                 

Martin Clapson                Jan Huygens chairing talks         Stephen Hamlet

One of the main attractions of the conferences is meeting members in a friendly informal atmosphere and IAPA’s tradition for new members to present their firms. This continued at this EMEA conference so Andrea Tauner from Hungarian firm BONJOUR Audit and Tax Kft, David Spira from Spira Twist & Associés in France and Kunal Gandhi from U.S Gandhi & Co based in India all presented their firms.

New members receiving their IAPA certificates with Alphons van de Ven (new IAPA EMEA Chairman), Stephen Hamlet (IAPA CEO) and Jan Huygens (IAPA Global Chairman):

            

Andrea Tauner, Hungary          David Spira, France                  Kunal Gandhi, India

Member success stories included presentations from Carlos Apapoe from Hoogeveenluigjes in the Netherlands, IT developments from Neal Morrison from McInerney Saunders and New Ways of Developing Inter member business. Neal’s ideas for making use of technology to managing a hectic office life were greatly welcomed! The round table session led by Marc Tenneroni from French member firm Creatis on how member firms can work closer together generated lots of ideas to take away from the conference.

Many thanks to our members for leading key presentations:

          

Carlos Apapoe                                     Neal Morrison                                   Bastien Paris, Marc Tenneroni          

Networking has become a key feature of IAPA conference programmes and the Vienna conference confirmed this with a lot of opportunities to meet other delegates. During the dedicated speed dating time allocated on Friday and also during a city walking about tour of Vienna on the Friday afternoon, we were all able to meet or strengthen our relationships with other members. The 2 hour guided walking tour of historical Vienna gave everyone the opportunity to see what a beautiful city Vienna is.  During the tour, we stopped at the Café Hofburg where we tried the excellent local chocolate cake (delicious!). We were lucky with the weather as it has been threatening to rain and we had an enjoyable time together.

Speed networking:

          

Friday night’s dinner took place at the Gmoa Keller restaurant which was only a 10 minute walk from the hotel – the Wiener schnitzel is to be highly recommended! After the dinner, some of the more courageous members, went to the roof top of the 25 Hours hotel which offers a sensational view on the city and others took in the views from the Ritz Carlton rooftop garden. It was once again recommended by Katharina and Dieter and much appreciated.

Evening networking left-right: Gmoa Keller (Friday night), Conference hosts, Dieter and Katharina Ehart (Saturday night), Schonbrunn Zoo dinner (Saturday)

        

On Saturday morning, Jan Huygens and Stephen Hamlet started the discussions on the strategy update. The morning included a presentation from Allinial Global given by Terry Snyder, CEO and his team which had everyone’s attention. We will be looking forward to hearing from IAPA’s integration Team on developments when we meet at the Global conference in Rio de Janiero later this year.

The Region’s Annual General Meeting followed. Martin Clapson retired as European Chairman after 3 years and members warmly welcomed the newly elected the new chairman Alphons Van de Ven from Dutch member firm, ESJ Financial Engineering. The other members of the European Board (Charles Scerri, Ozgur Demirdoven, Juergen Liebhart, Patrick Riou) all had their mandates renewed by the members.

The new EMEA Board:

Ozgur, Juergen, Alphons, Patrick, Charles (left to right)

The Tax and Audit forums and more recently, the Deals and Opportunities forums are now being regular feature of the conferences. We had registered for the tax forums, international VAT and corporate income tax. Alphons Van de Ven (ESJ Accountants & Tax Consultants) prepared the working cases. Andy Dawbarn (Wilkins Kennedy) - VAT; Jay Sanghrajka (Price Bailey) - CIT and Thorsten Schellenberg (KBHT) - personal income tax coordinated the different groups. This was an interesting and useful forum thanks to the good level of interaction between the different delegates and also because the conclusions presented gave participants insights into experiences in different countries.

Breakout sessions for the Tax and Audit forums:

             

The conference smart phone app indicated that the Conference Gala Dinner was “not the usual IAPA Gala Dinner” and it was right! Firstly, we visited the gardens of the Schonbrunn Palace and then we were given a guided tour of one of the most famous zoos in Europe, the Schonbrunn Zoo. Quite amazing to see all these animals - elephants, lions and tigers, cheetahs and wild birds and there was even a giant panda on loan from China. Dinner was held at the Schonbrunn Palace’s Orangerie - next to where the Orangutans are housed. A great dinner and dancing was in the line with tradition at the IAPA conferences as the delegates danced into the night after a farewell speech from outgoing chairman Martin Clapson. Games, speeches, cocktails, dinner and dancing - everything was organised to offer all of us a memorable moment. The evening finished off for more than 30 members later that night at a famous café terrace not far from the hotel and we all spent a wonderful time together. 

              

Schonbrunn Gardens                  Jan Huygens in Palace Park            IAPA dancing, farewell dinner

We hope everyone came away with the same sentiment as us that the EMEA conference in Vienna was a great success and provided another occasion to strengthen the relations with our colleagues from around the world as well as to participate in the developments at this important time for IAPA.

With many thanks to Patrick and Magalie, Ferrieres & Co, France for writing this article: