Documentation from Previous Meetings

Biennial Conference

18th and 19th September 2009

Biennial Conference – 18th and 19th September 2009


Managing through the downturn

10th June 2009

Meeting Technical Update

January 2009

UK Accounting and Auditing Update

23rd October 2008This document was prepared solely for information purposes and is published for members of ABAF. It is not an official confirmation of any terms. It is based on information generally available to the public from reliable sources as at the date of the presentation.

A presentation of the current credit market conditions & impact on the LBO market

2nd October 2008

Annual General Meeting

24th April 2008

24 April 2008 – Annual General Meeting

Budgeting and financial analysis

18th November 2010

Biennial Conference

16th and 17th September 2011

Biennial Conference

September 2007

ABAF Biennial Conference 21st & 22nd September 2007

Is the World still our oyster ?

Our Association held its third biennial residential conference at the lakeside venue of Enghien-les-Bains close to Paris. The fine September sunshine allowed us to enjoy good views of the lake while enjoying refreshments on the hotel terrace. A large-screen viewing of the Rugby World Cup match between France and Ireland followed the gourmet dinner on the Friday evening and regardless of the result this provided a good opportunity for our members to socialise. Also the nearby casino attracted some late evening attendees who wished to try their luck.

From a professional viewpoint, the conference centred round the theme “Is the world still our oyster?” On the first day this was approached by an enlightening introduction on “The changing role of the finance director” given by Jeremy Rickman of Russell Reynolds Associates, Head of European Financial Officers Practice, followed by a presentation of the “Emerging markets – China and India” from Richard Herd, Head of the Asia non-members unit in the OECD Economics Department. The second day opened with stimulating talk on “Cross-border mergers and acquisitions” by Lionel Young, Head of UK Corporate Transactions Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP and closed with a vibrant broad approach to the conference theme by the President of the ICAEW, Richard Dyson. All participants were given a USB key containing the presentations of all our speakers and this was kindly provided by EXACT software.

We are thankful to all our speakers for their participation and to KPMG who sponsored this event. It was generally agreed to be the best conference attendance so far (some 60 members and guests) and that this successful event should be continued in two years time at the same location.

Nicholas L. E. ROLT
October 2007


18th April 2012


12th October 2006

Congress Fee Speech Ian Morris President ICAEW

September 2006

Congress Fee Sept 2006 Speech Ian Morris President ICAEW

Ian Morris speech at FEE conference in Versailles – 7-8 September 2006

Ian Morris , President of ICAEW and partner in two practices which operate regionally in 8 offices and together have 15 partners,120 staff and a combined turnover of E7m.

This puts us at the bottom end of the top 100 practices, of firms registered with the Institute. (8,500 firms have just one partner).

We’re a general practice. We provide a range of services to family businesses, in particular audit, tax, investment business, advice for start-ups and growing businesses.

I believe passionately in Small and Medium Practices.

Why?  People trust us and therefore come to us because we can help them sleep at night.

We help them not just with their business – also with their marriages, divorces, remarriages, their children’s education, weddings, etc, their retirement planning, even financial planning for their families when they die.

We’re the catalyst that helps their business to be profitable – and so supports their family.

We will always be necessary because we offer a long term trusted personal service.

What are the challenges UK SMPs face?

And top of the list for me is – we need to become more clever.   Sounds odd I know.  Let me explain.

Technology is changing what people want from their accountants. All the grinding work – churning out standard accounts, compliance – will ever increasingly be done by clients themselves using technology.

Or it can be outsourced. I’ve seen some examples of how accounting firms themselves use that to service more clients.

Some in the UK are finding it difficult to get good quality people to do that work.

So outsourcing isn’t a threat so much as an opportunity for us to concentrate on adding value.

The need in firms is for people who can interpret information – and address the underlying issues. Make professional judgements.

Clients may be looking for processing – that’s standard. But what is going to keep them is the professional guidance that makes a difference to their businesses.

Being clever means knowing about new issues – IFRS. What is going to happen next over IFRS for SMEs is obviously a major concern.

It’s hugely important that we – as SMPs – engage with our respective institutes to join the debate about IFRS. We should have our voice heard – and not let the standard-setters – or governments – make decisions without consultation on something that’s going to have such a huge effect. We should get engaged in the policy debates – as well as the technical debates.

There are many challenges to increasing revenue streams – and the reduction of the number of audits is one of these challenges.

In the UK , we’ve found a significant number of practices are dropping out of audit.  Instead, management accounts are becoming their bread and butter income.

High audit exemption limits, increased regulation of all auditors – it’s killing off the audit in the SME market in the UK .  Ironic – given the regulatory emphasis on the value of audit at the large company level.

In response to the trend to allow more companies to opt out of audit, the ICAEW has launched a consultation to consider the needs of audit exempt companies.   As part of this consultation, we launched a new service for audit exempt companies.  The service is called the ICAEW Assurance Service, and may become very useful where directors want to add credibility to their accounts.

Another trend evident in the UK is the increasingly aggressive attitude on the part of the tax authorities, particularly the Inland Revenue, on tax planning and compliance in general, as well as a significant increase in the complexity of UK tax legislation.  The ICAEW understands the need for the revenue authorities to gather tax on behalf of the government, but there is a general feeling that this is in danger of going too far.  The ICAEW is speaking on behalf of its members and the business community continues to make representations to the tax authorities.  The UK tax system relies, in no small part, on the goodwill of accountants to function and increasing demands on accountants including ever shortening timescales have been successfully resisted so far.

The future of SMPs may well be in specialisation – in particular in market segments – dentists, farmers, doctors, lawyers, landed gentry – or the special needs of private clients in niche sectors.  Generalist services will still be needed.  But focusing on a market sector or niche makes it easier to build and maintain a reputation.  It certainly focuses resources – as well as the mind.

To have a successful small or medium size practice you need the same things as you need in all businesses.  The overriding need is for a good team.   You need to cut out bad wood early and quickly – it is kinder.  There has to be a gentle but iron-fisted and acknowledged leadership and communication in all directions.

The Business Lunch

Held the second Wednesday every month. This is a regular networking event hosted by Jonathan Cooper of The Spectrum IFA Group, in conjunction with the Franco British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Institute of Directors, the Association of British Accountants in France, the Department for International Trade, France, the British Council, and the Standard Athletic Club. If you are interested, please contact Edwina at