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Accountants elect new president

Malta Institute of Accountants president William Spiteri Bailey, left, with his predecessor, Franco Azzopardi.

Malta Institute of Accountants president William Spiteri Bailey, left, with his predecessor, Franco Azzopardi.

William Spiteri Bailey has been elected president of the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) following the institute’s annual general meeting held last Thursday. Mr Spiteri Bailey replaces Franco Azzopardi, who served his two-year term as the Institute’s president between July 2015 and 2017.

Thanking Mr Azzopardi for his hard work, Mr Spiteri Bailey said his objectives for his two-year term include bringing the Institute closer to its members and increasing the involvement of the younger members in existing and newly set up sub-committees.

“The latter will serve the two­fold objective of having committees made up of young accountants for young accountants and to subsequently obtain the right skills and competencies to be­come future council members.

“I also intend to ensure the continued involvement of the retiring generation of members in the Institute. I will be working hard to meet with and understand the needs of the different sectors of accountants within the Institute and assist members in understanding and embracing the new digital era,” Mr Spiteri Bailey said.

He continued by outlining his intentions to explore the possibi­lity of rebranding the Institute’s name and terminology, and changing the term ‘accountant’ to ‘professional accountant’. Mr Spiteri Bailey concluded by stating that he will work closer with other professional accounting bodies, such as Accountancy Europe and  the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) for the benefit of members of the Institute.

Mr Azzopardi spoke about the work undertaken by the Institute during his term. “My mission statement for my term as president was to heighten our member-centricity, our communication channels and our brand equity. I believe the council, the executive and myself have scored high on all three,” he said.

Since last year’s annual gene­ral meeting, the Institute continued growing its membership rate by a steady growth of 10 per cent, now around the 3,000 figure. Mr Azzopardi mentioned the challenging time faced by the country, by the profession and by the Institute following reports by the media.

“As president of the Institute and on behalf of all you, I felt a strong sense of responsibility and obligation to act with speed and thrust to defend our name. I have pledged my energy to defend the Institute, your Institute, my Institute, against all this negativity, to restore our reputation to where it belongs,” he said.

Mr Azzopardi mentioned the work undertaken in relation to the Institute’s communication, both with members and the public at large. “Communication with members continues to be an important element of our operations. We have invested a lot in social media with the primary aim of reaching out to the public and heightening awareness of the value our members can bring to them in all aspects of their finance.”

Mr Azzopardi highlighted the work done by the Institute in relation to branding. The Biennial conference and the New Members Ceremony were given a twist from previous years. The latter alone was attended by  around 900 people to welcome the 222 newly admitted members who joined the Institute.

An event held earlier this year saw 19 former MIA presidents being elected as fellow honorary members in recognition of their valuable contribution towards the Institute and its history. He also mentioned the MIA history book which is soon going to print.

Mr Azzopardi closed his speech by stating: “I can tell you it was an exciting 10 years of working on council, especially knowing that somehow, I cemented some building blocks in the structure of this magnificent Institute.”

The annual general meeting also elected a new council for the Institute, namely Franco Azzopardi, Etienne Borg Cardona, Simon Flynn, Maria Micallef, Noel Mizzi, William Spiteri Bailey and Franz Wirth who will serve for a two-year term from 2017 to 2019.

These joined the other seven council members elected at the 2016 AGM: Fabio Axisa, Christopher Balzan, David Delicata, Jonathan Dingli, Anthony Doublet, Ivan Grixti and Stephen Paris. At the first meeting of the new council, Mr Spiteri Bailey was elected president; Fabio Axisa was elected vice-president; David Delicata, secretary; and Noel Mizzi, treasurer.

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