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MIA News

  • 16 Nov 2022 16:00 | Anonymous


    Major corporate tax reforms and a continuous push for compliance will be an inevitable reality for the Maltese economy and businesses in the years ahead as international institutions seek new avenues for debt reduction, to fight climate change and achieve sustainable and equitable growth. This reality emerged strongly in the positions expressed by professionals, politicians, business leaders and other stakeholders at the Tax Conference organised by the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) on 10th November 2022.

    Setting the context to the Conference, aimed at Deciphering the Tax Puzzle, MIA President Mr David Delicata said that in the current international scenario, wide-ranging reforms in tax are a given to make the international corporate tax framework fairer and fit for today’s economic realities. “International institutions, whether it’s the OECD or the EU, seek tax reform as a matter of not only improving revenue but also to bring stability and predictability in the global corporate tax framework”.

    MIA CEO Ms Maria Cauchi Delia highlighted how the EU was pushing for more transparency, consolidation and coordination on fiscal and economic policies, leading to several proposals in the fields concerning the profession, including AML and taxation. The MIA has been very active in providing feedback to the relevant institutions and at the appropriate fora, in Malta and abroad. “These are challenging times, but the accountancy profession plays an important role in this change”, she argued.

    Finance and Employment Minister Clyde Caruana explained that although the EU-level momentum for corporate tax reform has stalled, there is an air of inevitability that this will eventually happen. “Even though we may have gained some time, Malta’s tax regime will eventually have to change because of pressure from different angles. However, any reforms will have to be accompanied with increased level of compliance. If the latter does not happen, it may have repercussions on the country’s financial position”, he argued. Hon. Caruana also called on professionals to play a part in bringing about a change towards this culture of compliance.

    Shadow Finance Minister Jerome Caruana Cilia shared his views on the proposed changes but called on authorities to ensure that Malta makes its voice heard in European and other international fora to advocate a more manageable rate of change, which would give tax administrators and practitioners time to adapt to the necessary changes.

    Commissioner for Revenue Mr Joseph Caruana detailed plans of his Office to focus its efforts on the taxpayers. While recognising challenges associated with the legacy system, Mr Caruana expressed his commitment to support business operators by providing a more effective service. He referred to the setting up of a working group, with the participation of the MIA, to identify simplification initiatives and to maximise the use of digitalisation in the future. This will include both quick wins and longer-term legislative reform to make processes simpler and reduce compliance costs for businesses.

    The conference also featured the virtual participation of Accountancy Europe’s Mr Paul Gisby and Mr Johann Barros who shed light on the drive coming from EU institutions to reform tax legislation.

    Discussion and breakout panels, with the participation of several industry leaders and professionals, addressed relevant topics including succession planning in family businesses, selected practical challenges of transfer pricing, AML considerations for tax practitioners, as well as VAT developments in the financial services industry.

    The Conference was brought to an end by the Chairpersons of the MIA’s Direct and Indirect Taxation Committees, Mr Craig Schembri and Ms Louise Grima respectively, who expressed the linkage between this Conference and the various activities carried out by their respective committees.


  • 7 Nov 2022 14:00 | Anonymous


    The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) would like to inform subject persons that on the 27th of October 2022 the European Commission published a revised version of its Supranational Risk Assessment (SNRA).

    This is the third edition of the SNRA. The updating of this  publication, as stipulated in Article 6(1) of the Directive (EU) 2018/843 (Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive), has been slightly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic, which led to unparalleled global challenges and economic disruptions also presented its ML/FT risks. These have also been evaluated within the SNRA. Additionally, the ML/FT risks regarding Russia’s current invasion of Ukrainian territory have also been taken into consideration.

    The 2022 SNRA re-assesses all the sectors covered by the previous 2019 publication. Where changes to sectors or products have been identified, such as crypto-assets and online gambling, a re-calculation of the risk levels took place.  In addition, where no changes were identified, the information included for these sectors or products has been updated and fine-tuned. As with the previous reports, this SNRA examines the present ML/FT risks and recommends thorough action to address these risks.

    Due to this revised publication, subject persons are being reminded of their obligations under Regulation 5 of the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations (PMLFTR) and Chapter 3 of the FIAU Implementing Procedures Part I, with respect to the carrying out of their risk assessments. Amongst other aspects to bear in mind when carrying out risk assessments, subject persons must consider the findings of any supranational risk assessment relating to risks of money laundering and funding of terrorism. Furthermore, once carried out, subject persons are obliged to regularly review and keep these assessments up to date.

    The revised SNRA is available on the FIAU website by clicking on this link.

    Additionally, it can also be accessed through the European Commission’s website:

    ‘Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the assessment of the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing affecting the internal market and relating to cross-border activities’

    SNRA 2022

    ‘Commission Staff Working Document Accompanying the document Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the assessment of the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing affecting the internal market and relating to cross-border activities’

    SNRA 2022 - Annex
  • 5 Nov 2022 09:00 | Anonymous


    The rapid progression of technology as a disruptive force is impacting societies across the globe in new and unanticipated ways. In such a context, the finance function takes on the responsibility of leading this change within its organisation, while adapting itself to new tools and processes which transform the way it goes about its business. This reality was at the centre of a physical CPE event organised by the MIA Digital Committee on 5th October 2022 - The future of the finance function: the digital agenda and technology assurance.

    The event, which attracted the participation of several professionals from different economic sectors, focused on the impact of digital transformation on the finance function as well as the regulatory aspect and its implications on the technology landscape.

    Introducing the first topic, Damian Heath, member of the MIA Digital Committee, noted how the key issues associated with a company’s digital transformation can be essentially grouped in two core elements: a change in skillset and a change in mindset. While learning new technological skills sits at the foundation of this transformation, a change in approach and behaviour is required for its successful implementation, with people recognising further how data, Artificial Intelligence and new technologies can actually be a source of improved efficiency and growth for any organisation.

    Mr Heath’s analysis facilitated an engaging debate by a thought-provoking panel discussion made up of Stephen Muscat (Chairperson of the MIA Professional Accountants in Business Group and Chief Financial Officer Liquigas Malta), Albert Bonello (Chief Financial Officer AX Group) and Jason Attard (Head of Data Office Bank of Valletta). Participants focused on the importance of having data available and knowing how to use it, this being a necessary tool to help businesses uncover valuable insights within their financials, identify process improvements that actually increase efficiency, and better manage risk.

    The second part of the session, moderated by another member of the MIA Digital Committee Andrew Schembri, focused on the emerging regulatory framework being developed to reflect the new technological realities. MFSA’s Beatriz Brunelli Zimmermann gave a run-through on the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA). She explained that given the increasing reliance of financial entities on ICT systems and technologies which are sometimes outsourced, technological and cyber risks have increased significantly. In this context, DORA strengthens digital operational resilience by setting proportional requirements to financial entities in the areas of governance, risk management, incident reporting, testing and ICT third-party risk. In addition, DORA also regulates critical ICT third party providers – such as cloud service providers – known to greatly support the financial services sector. Therefore, the Regulation contributes towards greater market confidence and assurance overall.

    This was followed with a presentation by Ing. Efrem Borg, Chief Technologist at the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, who introduced the forthcoming Technology Assurance Assessment Framework (TAAF) which is intended to serve as a technological trust utility for regulated and unregulated markets operating technologies in various risk levels across a multitude of sectors.

    The pair were then joined by Bernard Fenech, Chief Information Officer at Oney Insurance, who shared valuable insights on how regulatory assurance can serve as a vehicle for delivering shareholder value by building trust, both internally and externally throughout the whole supply chain.

    Gordon Micallef, the Chairperson of the MIA Digital Committee, concluded the event remarking on the ongoing need for finance functions to evolve and remain relevant to the digital developments discussed in the two panels.



  • 28 Oct 2022 10:23 | Anonymous


    The Malta Institute of Accountants has opened its door to over 200 accountants as new members following successful completion of their studies through the University of Malta and the ACCA throughout the previous academic year.

    In a formal ceremony held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, MIA President David Delicata highlighted the virtues of ethics and integrity as mainstays of the accountancy profession, reminding new members of the responsibility their role brings towards the rest of society. He described the recent decision by the FATF to remove Malta from its grey-list as a departure point, appealing to fresh graduates to remain loyal to these values as they join the professional world. Mr Delicata also called on new members to embrace life-long learning as a means to enhance their budding career.

    MIA CEO Maria Cauchi Delia congratulated the new members for the motivation, endurance and patience shown in reaching this milestone. She described the Malta Institute of Accountants as “the only recognised professional accountancy organisation in Malta, which based on its members’ feedback, makes its voice heard on matters of key strategic importance to the profession.” The new members were informed that through the Malta Institute of Accountants, they had a platform which could be used to meet other professional accountants and exchange knowledge and experience whilst being supported throughout their professional career”. She urged students to rally their emotional intelligence and empathy throughout their professional life, while urging them to take an active role in the Institute particularly through the Young Members focus group. Ms Cauchi Delia also thanked the ACCA and University of Malta with whom the MIA maintains excellent and healthy relations.

    The Institute recognised the achievement of the top University of Malta graduate and ACCA affiliates in the presence of Prof Emaunel Said, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy at the University of Malta and Mr Thomas Galea, International Assembly Representative of ACCA.

    Prof Said appealed to fresh graduates to adopt a positive attitude towards their professional lives, suggesting that “while skills can be learnt over time, it is attitude that will make or break”. He also called on professionals that while seeking profit and wealth is a justifiable objective, this should never be at the expense of well-being.

    Mr Galea reminded new members that this acheivement will bring additional responsibilities, calling on them to always seek to do what is right. “We have a responsibility towards the community and the profession to do the right thing”, Mr Galea added. He also called on new members to seek to make new experiences, highlighting the role this has in nurturing careers and taking professionals further in their career.

    During the ceremony, five graduates were recognised for distinguishing themselves in their studies. These were Francesca Vassallo (1st in Malta Overall Performance September 2021 MIA-ACCA Top Affiliate), Kylie Cutajar (1st in Malta Overall Performance December 2021 MIA-ACCA Top Affiliate), Maria Sciberras (1st in Malta Overall Performance March 2022 MIA-ACCA Top Affiliate and 2nd worldwide in the strategic professional exams) and Daniela Mallia (1st in Malta Overall Performance June 2022 MIA-ACCA Top Affiliate). Jodie Vassallo received the award for the Best University of Malta Accountancy Student 2021.

    As the Institute continuously encourages professionals to be active in society beyond their professional role, two other members of the Institute, Cinzia Fenech and Nicholas Ferry were honoured with their Kevin Mahoney award for their voluntary contribution towards the needs of the more vulnerable members of society.

  • 17 Oct 2022 16:00 | Anonymous


    The term marketing is used loosely for both local and international scenarios. However, although similar, they are definitely not the same.

    By definition, international marketing is described as the tactics and methods used to market products and services in multiple countries, whereas local marketing is essentially the tactics and strategy utilised to market products and/or services in a local economy.

    The former has a wider scope as it involves international trading, besides other issues whilst the latter takes form as more market penetration, product development and in some cases, diversification.

    Each country represents a unique test for marketers because of culture, language, laws, and other factors, which can prove to be quite challenging and more times consuming. These challenges can also be existing on the local level, which requires even more targeted techniques.

    The decision on whether to take the plunge and to do business internationally and launch an international marketing campaign could be any of the examples noted below (although not an exhaustive list):

    • Expanding brand awareness
    • Economic growth in a country
    • New commerce laws
    • Untapped or underserved markets
    • International partnerships/joint ventures

    Launching a global or a local marketing operation can be extremely complicated for the former but could be simple, depending on a number of factors, e.g., market research, marketing budget, the marketing mix, etc.

    It is important to point out that finance professionals need to understand the dynamics behind a marketing strategy, whether international or local, as this normally involves a considerable amount of a company’s budget.

    Therefore, having the right financial perspective, coupled with an enhanced understanding of marketing aspects, can prove to be the competitive advantage, over competitors, that each organisation aims to achieve.

    If you're interested in this topic, the MIA is organising a session on 9th November, 2022. Register here.

  • 14 Oct 2022 11:00 | Anonymous


    Following up the meeting with Minister of Finance Clyde Caruana, the Malta Institute of Accountants has met with Shadow Minister for Finance, MP Jerome Caruana Cilia in another opportunity through which the MIA shared its proposals for the Budget ahead and its vision for the country’s economic future. The Institute also took the opportunity to bring forward a number of issues and challenges faced by the profession at the present time.

    MIA President David Delicata, Chief Executive Officer Maria Cauchi Delia, MIA Officers and representatives of the Direct Taxation Committee highlighted the key policy proposals, focusing on competitiveness, tax-related matters and sustainability.

    Environmental, Social and Governance concerns remain a priority for the MIA as more businesses are recognising ESG as a path to innovation across goods, services, and even business models. In this context, the MIA, which in recent year has taken leadership on the matter, has put forward a number of proposals, particularly of a fiscal nature, to support the national objectives in this area.

    Other matters raised during the meeting concerned tax, pensions and the shortage of human resources.

    From his end, the Shadow Minister for Finance expressed his support and commitment towards the MIA’s efforts, particularly with regards to sustainability, simplification measures and in addressing the challenges relating to human resources at the present time.

  • 10 Oct 2022 10:30 | Anonymous


    As the business environment becomes more challenging and uncertain, it is very likely that this translates in heightened conflict at the workplace. The ability to deal with conflict therefore takes on increasing importance. Workplace conflict can trigger negative consequences affecting relationships, which will lead to a serious loss of time and energy, when not addressed in a competent manner.

    In essence, unmanaged conflict will ultimately result in costs to the individual and costs to the organisation. Accountancy and financial services professionals would be better off by investing in improved skills which will help them understand conflict, consider the possible management styles and options concerning the matter, evaluate how to prevent conflict and ultimately resolve it.

    This session will enable participants to reduce anxiety and frustration about conflict amongst co-workers and avoiding conflict whilst not allowing tension and resentment to fester. In order to do so, participants will be encouraged to use differences of opinion and conflicts constructively, leading to growth and creativity, while using proven strategies and powerful communication skills to prevent and manage conflict.

    While several theories on the subject matter exist, ultimately every person will adopt his or her personal conflict management style. It is therefore imperative to understand ourselves and our approach to the issue before seeking to take action. This will in turn improve our reaction to issues and guide our approach to conflict resolution conversations.

    Furthermore, the session will help participants learn how to get to the root cause of conflicts and prevent conflicts from re-occurring.

    Interested in the session? Register here.

  • 7 Oct 2022 14:13 | Anonymous


    Budget 2023 should focus on initiatives which enhance Malta’s competitiveness and sustainability, the Malta Institute of Accountants said in its pre-budget proposals and other tax related matters.

    These proposals were presented by MIA President David Delicata, Chief Executive Officer Maria Cauchi Delia, MIA Officers and representatives of the Direct Tax Committee to the Minister of Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana during a meeting held at the MIA’s Head Office on Thursday. The various policy recommendations and specific initiatives were collated by the Institute after extensive internal consultation with the MIA’s committees and groups.

    The accountants’ body has identified a number of initiatives intended to enhance the economy’s competitiveness, including through the simplification, clarification and consolidation of legislation, the facilitation of family business succession and the reduction of burdens on private operators.

    The MIA has also called on the government to identify and implement the necessary measures that will contribute towards the country reaching sustainability targets. These include fiscal benefits that further incentivise the use of environmentally-friendly vehicles and energy-efficient goods as well as in support of lifestyle choices which reduce the dependence on the personal vehicle. Support towards employers who invest in greening their facilities is also encouraged.

    In view of Malta’s challenges associated with an ageing population and growing debt levels, the MIA has also put forward recommendations related to supporting the improved uptake of private pension plans in order to enhance the sustainability of Malta’s social security system.

    The meeting with the Minister of Finance also served for the Institute to address the constant challenge faced by the profession related to the lack of human resources which is a significant risk to the industry’s competitiveness at the present time. The Institute is working on a number of proposals aimed at facilitating the recruitment of third country nationals and strengthening their retention.

    The presence of the members of the Direct Tax Committee also facilitated a discussion on various proposed fiscal amendments, intended to streamline the Maltese tax system in order to enhance fairness and justice while strengthening the competitiveness of Maltese enterprise. The Institute has already engaged in discussions on the matter with the Commissioner for Revenue which will continue following the meeting with Minister.

    The Institute appreciates the feedback provided by the Minister of Finance throughout the meeting and looks forward to a positive consideration of its proposals in the upcoming budgetary exercise.


  • 4 Oct 2022 09:00 | Anonymous


    The Malta Institute of Accountants held its 58th Annual General Meeting on 30th September 2022, at the MIA’s Head Office, during which seven of its members were elected to its Council. The members are Fabio Axisa, David Delicata, Jonathan Dingli, Shawn Falzon, Ivan Grixti, Christopher Portelli and Annabelle Zammit Pace.

    They join Charmaine Baldacchino, Edmond Brincat, Mark Bugeja, Noel Mizzi, Lucienne Pace Ross and William Spiteri Bailey on the council.

    Fellows of the Institute participated at this year’s AGM physically for the first time in three years, during which they were also called to vote on a series of statutory changes proposed by the Council to improve and strengthen the operations of the same organisation.

    Addressing his first AGM as Council President, David Delicata gave a run-through of the past twelve months during which the Institute was increasingly involved at a national level, supporting authorities on matters of national policy, through recommendations, feedback and advice particularly on proposals for new legislation and regulations emanating from international institutions.

    Mr Delicata highlighted the MIA’s central role in supporting the National Coordinating Committee during the authorities’ year-long effort to secure a timely exit from the FATF’s grey-listing. “As a result of this contribution, the MIA is becoming every day an even more respected and trusted partner at a national level, strengthening the role of the profession in the process”, he added.

    Mr Delicata expressed particular thanks to the Institute’s members, particularly to the over 100 fellows who take an active role in the MIA’s committees and groups to painstakingly go through extensive regulatory proposals, debating and providing feedback which the Institute then relays to the authorities. The President explained how, in this context, the MIA seeks to find the right balance with pushing for the necessary regulatory developments while ensuring that this is not unduly prescriptive on the profession.

    The President referred to other areas in which the MIA is focusing its efforts, including the implementation of ESG standards and the constant challenge relating to the availability of resources. On the latter, he highlighted the MIA’s two-pronged approach, proposing short-term solutions to facilitate the recruitment and retention of third country nationals while investing long-term through the recently-launched second edition of the #AccountsforYou campaign.

    During the first meeting of the same Council held shortly after, the four Officers of the Council were elected. David Delicata was re-elected as the Institute’s President, while Mr Mark Bugeja was elected as Vice President, Ms Lucienne Pace Ross as Secretary and Dr Jonathan Dingli as Treasurer.



  • 3 Oct 2022 11:00 | Anonymous


    Supply Chain Issues and Inflation - the Role of the Accountant

    It’s the fourth quarter of 2022, and the supply chain crisis continues to buckle under the strain of the pandemic, geopolitical conflict, and economic uncertainty. It is safe to say that shortages have defined the struggles of businesses during the last two years with no clear end in sight. Over more recent months, high inflation rates have put further pressure on firms, worsening an already dire situation. Although several factors are contributing towards higher-than-normal inflation rates, a significant amount is derived directly from supply chain issues.

    In such a context, one way to start tackling inflation is to directly address supply chain problems, such as cost of container shipping and logistical issues by bringing factories closer to the end consumers. Yet, many companies have had their resources depleted during the pandemic and hence require a degree of funding to undertake such an investment. However, earlier this year, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced an unexpectedly large interest rate rise, its first in 11 years.

    The rationale behind the ECB’s move is that higher interest rates help to fight inflation by raising the cost of borrowing, encouraging people and businesses to borrow less and spend less. In theory that is meant to lead to lower demand and slow price rises, but it also means less economic activity. Due to this, companies that are looking to tackle supply chain issues by investing more will likely find it more expensive to do so and hence their projects might not be financially viable. This will also put an additional strain on the cashflow of businesses, something that accountants need to keep a close eye on.

    In this context, this session will look into how accountants can understand supply chain and inflation and how these impact the performance of businesses. The first part of the session will focus on a detailed analysis of past inflation data and on recent developments within the global environment that are impacting both the supply chain and inflation, today and in the future. Also, conclusions will be derived on the inflation in the Maltese economy in recent years and a clearer vision of where inflation is heading in the coming months and years will be presented. We will also look at what policy makers are doing to mitigate against supply chain and inflation issues.

    The second and main part of the session will focus on the role of the accountant in present times and how the accountant can prepare for what’s to come in the near future. We will look at strategies that leading organisations around the world are rapidly deploying to help build resilience and agility, and how accountants and business consultants in companies of all sizes can implement strategies to help them deal with supply chain issues and battle inflation.

    Interested in the topic? The MIA is organising a session on 6th October. Read more here.

               

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