23 March 2017
March 2017

IAPA Dubai 2017 was the first time the EMEA and Asia Pacific regional conferences have combined forces for a joint event and we were delighted to welcome over 55 delegates from 40 member firms covering some 26 countries.

This fascinating city was chosen due to its global connectivity and convenient location for the 2 regions.  Many delegates had not been to Dubai before and were wowed by this hugely impressive city that combines a unique blend of Arabic culture with ultra-modern/world class infrastructure. The event was held in the Ritz Carlton DIFC right in the heart of the financial district and a very short taxi ride away from the famous Dubai shopping mall and the magnificent Burj Khalifa.

This year the programme was designed to encompass interests from both regions, expanding on ‘thought leadership’ and ‘practice management’ topics. 

Martin Clapson, IAPA Vice Chairman            Uday Gandhi                         Vipul Kothari

Member led presentations included ‘The future of IAPA’ by Vice-Chairman Martin Clapson, offering insight into how IAPA will develop and grow over the next 12 months, incorporating feedback from the recent Members’ Survey.  A fascinating update into ‘Doing Business in Dubai’ was given by Vipul Kothari, Kothari Auditors & Accountants, IAPA’s member firm in Dubai and Uday Gandhi, from U.S Gandhi & Co, India delivered an engaging presentation on ‘Recent trends in fraud and detection techniques’. 

As well as the usual Tax and Audit Forums, IAPA was delighted to welcome Martin Bissett from The Upward Spiral Partnership to talk on ‘The Secrets of superior accounting firms’ who gave delegates plenty of material to think about and implement when returning back to their firms.

David Stevens,Audit Forum          Tax Forum, chaired by Jay Sanghrajka, Price Bailey, UK and Mun Kit Wong, Chair.Ellacotts/UK200Group,UK      Fiduciary Asia Group, Hong Kong

Having recruited 5 new firms since the beginning of 2017, including 2 from the EMEA region and 2 from Asia Pacific, we were delighted to welcome some of our new members in person.  Wajira Kaluarachchi from SWT Associates, Sri Lanka and Ibrahim Alaziq from Ibrahim Alaziq, Saudi Arabia introduced their firms to delegates during the new members’ presentations.

Wajira Kaluarachchi, SWT Associates                Ibrahim Alaziq, Ibrahim Alaziq CPA

The AGMs for each region welcomed new members to the board.  IAPA warmly welcomes Kunal Gandhi, U.S Gandhi & Co, India to the Asia Pacific Board with Mohd Noor Abu Baker, Imran, Malaysia re-elected as regional chairman.  The EMEA AGM voted three new members to the board; Iris Stark, Stark & Stark, Israel, Neal Morrison, McInerney Saunders, Ireland and Javier Sanjuan, Abauding Spain.  A huge thank you to Jürgen Liebhart who has been EMEA acting chairman of the region for the past few months, and a warm welcome to Ozgur Demirdoven, MED YMM ve Bagimsiz Denetim, Turkey who was officially voted as the new EMEA regional chair, who will automatically act as the EMEA representative on the International Board.  Many congratulations to Ozgur, Mohd Noor and all newly elected board members. 

The EMEA AGM was extended for important discussions on the way forward for the region and the board members spoke passionately about developing the area in line with the new strategy document.  Martin Clapson, Vice Chairman, then presented to the group IAPA’s future conferences, with new one-day forums in Europe planned, the US regional event in Miami this year and the International Conference location announced as Barcelona, Spain.

Martin Clapson, IAPA Vice Chairman                           Martin Bissett

As always, local culture and customs are important to IAPA, and delegates and guests were able to network outside of the conference hotel during a wonderful social programme that was organised to showcase Arabian culture.  The popular half day networking afternoon on Friday took all participants into the desert for an Arabian adventure with dune bashing, a sunset stop to watch a falcon show and an evening dinner under the stars in a Bedouin camp with Arabic food and entertainment.  By contrast, the conference finished on Saturday evening  with a wonderful dinner on Dubai’s famous beach at the Ritz Carlton Jumeirah beach resort.  Here, Patrick Riou, EMEA Treasurer announced Wayne Price, Castletons, Australia as the winner of the 2017 EMEA golf tournament, now an established and popular pre-conference networking day.

Both the conference and sightseeing opportunities in Dubai were thought provoking and inspiring and we trust our members returned home refreshed, energised and ready to do business with new ideas generated from the event.

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