Established in 1961, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus is a private organisational entity for the professional accountants, with over 4.000 members and 4.000 student and graduates. Following major restructurings after the 1974 Turkish invasion and the 2013 financial collapse, ICPAC has grown in strength and importance, becoming the only recognised by the state body that can regulate and supervise the accountancy profession in Cyprus. Marios Skandalis, President of ICPAC, discusses the Institute’s aims, strategies, and international cooperation.
European Times: What is ICPAC’s main aim?
Marios Skandalis: Our main aim is to provide an organizational framework to all professional accountants in Cyprus, train and educate our members, to regulate the profession and ensure adherence to the code of ethics. Our priority is to promote the interest of all our members. We are tasked with issuing practicing certificates for individuals who are working with Insolvency, ASP and Auditing and all firms for General Accounting, Auditing and ASP. ICPAC is dedicated to servicing its members, the accountancy profession, the economy and in general the public interest. We have been the right hand of the Government regarding the regulation the companies and successfully exiting the crisis and heading towards an era of growth and prosperity.
European Times: How did ICPAC handle the financial crisis and what is your strategy?
Marios Skandalis: Following the financial crisis, ICPAC successfully completed the AML Action Plan within the scope of the Adjustment program in 2015. Between 2012-2015, we underwent more than 20 evaluations, assessments and other encounters with the TROIKA, OECD, IMF, the European Commission, MONEYVAL as well as international rating agencies. To battle money laundering and restore the credibility and good reputation of our country, we also established many affiliations with international organizations that specialize on compliance matters.
Our strategy plan for 2017-2020 envisages the strengthening of the organizational structure, efficiency, role, reputation and credibility of the institute as well as the Cypriot accountancy profession, both locally and internationally. We are aiming to boost the island’s economy and its position as a credible international business centre. Furthermore, ICPAC is very well connected locally and internationally. We are members of the European, the Mediterranean and the International Federation of Accountants. Locally we cooperate with Ministries, the Parliament, CIPA and CIFA, the Auditor General, the Tax department, CySEC, and various other associations and universities.
European Times: What are the main advantages of Cyprus as an international business centre?
Marios Skandalis: Aiming to become a superb international business centre, Cyprus has changed significantly over the past years. Our country operates under common law legal regime, has a favourable and easy to apply tax system, good infrastructure, highly skilled human capital, stability and security as well as pleasant conditions and adaptability to changes. ICPAC and the accountancy profession are substantially involved in the promotion of Cyprus, attracting business and investors, providing various quality services to international clients, supporting the Government, being massively involved in the Double Tax Treaties negotiations, and working closely with all productive stakeholders and sectors of the public sector.