DFK Newsflash – February 2015


The strength in depth of DFK International was highlighted at this year’s conference for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region. Around 50 firms from more than 30 countries were represented at the first major DFK conference of 2015, including new members from Serbia, South Africa and The Netherlands. A full-day tax seminar covering important topics ranging from international law to transfer pricing proved a big draw in attracting delegates from within and beyond the EMEA region for the event held in Cyprus. President of DFK International Demetris Demetriou, whose firm DFK Demetriou Trapezaris hosted the three-day conference in Limassol, took the opportunity to set out his goals. Group at post conference tour, Paphos His ambitions are to strengthen friendships and working relationships among members, to connect with younger professionals to make them aware of the benefits of DFK, and to continue to provide exceptional service to clients. Demetris said: “DFK members can connect with over 10,000 people in more than 400 offices around the world and as President, I want to reach out to more of those people and go beyond the top tier of management. “That is why I have decided to conduct a world tour and will be following my recent visits in Europe with trips to Canada, USA and Australia this year. “The message I want to convey is to encourage all members firms to widen and deepen their engagement with DFK so that staff at all levels can get the benefits of our Association and gain connections to help with the development of international business. It is the friendship among members that makes DFK different from other international associations. DFK is not just a directory, it’s about people.” A star line-up of guest speakers including Dr Elizabeth Stephens, a leading advisor and commentator on trade and investment in developing markets, and Hilde Blomme, deputy CEO of the Federation of European Accountants, was another conference highlight. Delegates gained an insight into risk associated with trade and investment in the Middle East and North Africa, and benefited from an update on important developments within the accountancy profession in Europe. Martin Sharp, Executive Director of DFK International, said: “It was of great value to get a perspective on such topical matters as risk in the vicinity of the region, from the insurgencies in Iraq and Syria to the consequences of the fall in oil prices, as well as developments in the wider North Africa and Arabian Peninsula.” “With significant developments in the accountancy profession in Europe, it was extremely useful for delegates to hear more about the big changes in the regulatory framework that they are facing.” Hot off the press at the conference was news that DFK had cemented its position as a top 10 global accountancy association in 2014, following the world survey of international accounting networks and associations by the International Accounting Bulletin. As the latest members to join the region, representatives from Alfa Accountants and Advisers, Levitt Kirson and Revizori i Savetnici were invited to give presentations on their firms. Mark Lamb, Vice-President of DFK EMEA, who chaired this annual event, said: “The conference was an outstanding success, not least because it brought together so many familiar and new faces. We were delighted to hear from our new members who will be strong assets to our region and beyond.” Joseph Camilleri (DFK Malta) and Mark Lamb (EMEA Vice President). “It was also great to have such a breadth of representation with members attending from over 30 countries, underlining the strength and depth of our Association.We all eagerly anticipate more enjoyable work and interactions amongst our member firms” DFK Malta won the DFK EMEA Website of the Year award, which was presented to partner Joseph Camilleri by Mark Lamb. As a conference souvenir, host firm DFK Demetriou Trapezaris also presented each firm with a painting by Connie Trapezaris, who is the wife of Andreas Trapezaris, one of the partners in the firm, which was very well received. Our thanks go to Connie and Andreas. For full conference details, including access to presentations, please visit the members’ section of the DFK International website.

Ladies and gentlemen of DFK International, it is an honour and a privilege for me to address you this morning as the President of our association. I pay tribute to my predecessors, including Mike Tovey and Scott Hazy who did so much to lead DFK to where it is today.

Our founders, Ronnie Warlow, François-Maurice and John Douglass, who met in Paris 53 years ago to set up this organisation, could not have begun to imagine how it is today. I hope they would be proud of what we have today.

I think we have something very special in DFK, as we witnessed again last night. It is a spirit of friendship and working together that reaches over boundaries and across cultures. It is a friendship built on business that gives confidence that you can offer your clients access to professional services from people you know and trust.

We are an association of more 200 independent firms with members in more than 90 countries. Not only can you find DFK firms in the world’s traditional trading centres like New York, London, Paris, Milan, Singapore and Hong Kong, but also in the developing and vibrant cities like Sao Paolo, Istanbul, Dubai, Mumbai and Shanghai.

Today you can connect with over than 10,000 people in more than 400 offices around the world, all of whom can call themselves part of DFK. Last year our firms made more $1b in revenues.

We have serious capability for anyone who is serious about international business.

But DFK is more than a directory – it is a people business. You can pick up the phone and call DFK friends from Alaska to Argentina, Finland to Fiji, Vanuatu to Vietnam – wherever your clients need services, we are here to help them.

The larger firms like Friedman in New York, Bennett Thrasher in Atlanta, Chantrey Vellacott in London, PSP in Munich and now Alfa in the Netherlands are the power-houses of DFK and we are grateful for the resources they put into DFK.

But smaller firms, like my own, make a valuable contribution too. You don’t have to be big to think international, just ‘big thinking’ and ready to create and seize opportunities.
All it took was an idea, a shared vision, energy and years of late night drinking and partying in hotels the world over. As well, of course, as some of the most fun loving accountants that the profession has ever known!

We have tremendous momentum driving us forward and with the help of my colleagues on the board, we will to build upon that to make DFK stronger, more relevant and better connected to make sure your clients get better service than they will find with any other accountants in town.

We have a clear strategy that sets out what we will do and when. It is based on the DFK strategic plan agreed by the board and underpinned by a business plan that provides the baseline for the budget to support the various activities.

We remain committed to the DFK vision. There are many accounting networks and associations out there, and many of them are bigger than DFK and many good at what they do. But we offer something different. We set ourselves apart by the level of service that our members commit to give to their clients and the clients of their DFK friends.

The DFK Board have set out our vision and the mission that we have articulated to make that vision a reality. The Board has also listed our objectives that explain what we are doing to achieve them. I am very pleased to say that we have very positive developments on all areas.

In addition to these objectives, I have my own ideas of things I would like to achieve during my time as President of DFK.

These come from my heartfelt desire to see this organisation – one that I have been deeply involved in for more than twenty years – go from strength to strength.

During my brief time at the helm, I want us to:

  • strengthen and foster our friendships and working relationships among members
  • reach out to the younger partners, managers and staff in our firms so that they too know the benefits of DFK and help the organisation succeed
  • make sure we provide and continue to give exceptional service to clients that our friends share with us from around the world

To help achieve these goals, I have asked Martin to join me on visits to as many DFK offices worldwide as we can reasonably manage so that we can hear directly from you, the members, about what you want from DFK.

The purpose of the visits therefore is for us to get feedback directly from the partners about their experience and expectations of DFK International and to give us the chance to meet some of the managers and staff that we don’t usually get to see at conferences.

Where possible, we will combine these visits with DFK conferences in the area. To this end we visited a number of firms in Europe last September, including our friends at Fidinter in Zurich, Paolo and his close knit team at Studio Fiam in Lugarno. In Milan, we enjoyed the charm and sophistication of the hospitality from our friends in DFK Italia, where it was a pleasure to meet again my good friend Sr. Enrico Nicolini, one of the grandees of DFK.

We concluded our European leg of tour by joining the Young Professionals conference in Munich where we also had some very useful discussions with the young and not so young partners of our all-star member firm, Peters Schoenberg and Partners.

Martin and I were delighted with the opportunity to spend valuable time with our colleagues and to hear their thoughts and ideas. Many of them are in this room today and I thank you once again for your time and support.

Later this year we are planning to join our friends at the DFK Canada partners’ meeting in London, Ontario, and we will extend the visit to call in on several of our DFK USA colleagues. It’s a busy schedule for me since I have already booked for the DFK Australia conference in Byron Bay and I am greatly looking forward to joining our friends ‘down-under.’

As we look forward, we see members working increasingly together to defy simple accounting and make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

The world seems more volatile than ever, but where there is change there is opportunity and we have the means to join forces to help our clients succeed in these challenging times.

The DFK Executive Office team is committed to do what they can to help and I urge you share with Martin or myself any project or ideas you have in mind.

In closing, I want to express on behalf of all the old DFK members a very warm welcome to the DFK family to Milos from Serbia, Marco, Bart, Harm and Wilco from Alfa Netherlands and last but not least Anton and Lennie from South Africa. You have joined a team that always strives to help their friends give unbeatable service to clients, no matter how large or how small.

Let’s commit ourselves to making DFK known for what we do best – going the extra mile to give outstanding service for our clients.

Demetris Demetriou, President of DFK International

Andreas Trapezaris, from the host firm, DFK Demetriou, Trapezaris Ltd., whose wife, Connie, kindly painted a picture for each DFK office, has suggested that delegates might like to look at IKEA’s range of frames, particularly the VIRSERUM one, which Connie used to frame the pictures which were displayed in the main conference room. The frames are quite affordable and will fit the picture perfectly.

We are very pleased to announce that registration is now open for the DFK UK & Ireland Managers Conference 2015, which will be held in Newcastle from 23-25 April and hosted by RMT.

You will find all the information you need and the registration form here

We have changed the name of our conference back to Managers this year to open it up to more delegates as it is not necessarily just the Young Professionals that would benefit from this training conference.

Please note the delegate fee this year is all inclusive so it includes all meals, training and 2 nights hotel accommodation. The delegate fee is £700 per delegate.

You will also find attached the welcome pack for delegates which will give you more information about what we have in store for the delegates.

Our Speaker
Following the huge success of last years conference, we have engaged with Una McSorley again for another highly interactive and engaging course.

An award winning communication and training consultant, Una McSorley is the Managing Director of Marcomm Limited and is recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s leading communication trainers, coach and public relations advisors.

Una provides advice and guidance to senior executives within the public, private and voluntary sector. Her expertise is in complex communications issues, skills development and integrated media campaigns. She has also built a reputation for excellence in the field of career coaching, and is an accredited career coach and member of the Association of Coaching.

Una is the only Approved Trainer with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in Ireland. She was awarded a Fellowship with the CIPR for her outstanding contribution to CIPR and the public relations industry. Una founded Marcomm in 2002 and has watched it grow into a leading learning and development consultancy.

Una has 18 years’ experience in public relations, marketing and communications for both the public and private sector in Ireland and the UK.

We are looking forward to welcoming our Managers to Newcastle for what promises to be a thought provoking and interactive conference. This is the perfect opportunity for your young managers to develop their soft skills in training and network with fellow DFK UKI delegates.

Have a look at some quotes from last years delegates in Belfast

“It is well worth it and an excellent opportunity to meet other DFK members. I had great fun for the weekend and picked up loads of useful tips along the way.” – Jackie Power, Crowleys DFK, Cork

“Following the time spent with Una the key lesson for me was understanding your audience, whether that be client, colleague (or indeed a personal acquaintance). In understanding your audience and adapting your communication style where necessary the relationship becomes more productive for everyone involved.” – Damian Williams, KTS Owens Thomas, Cardiff

“I would recommend attending the conference to any potential delegates as both a useful conference from a professional development perspective and a really fun weekend!” – Kelly Donaghy, Johnston Kennedy DFK, Belfast

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Caroline Cassidy, DFK UK & Ireland Executive Officer at exec@dfkuki.com or +353 87 904 1630

14 to 17 July 2015
Sheraton Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden – view site
The on-line hotel booking form is available here and the save the date flyer is available here.
The registration pack will be circulated in April.


4 to 6 February 2016

Conrad Hilton, Dublin, Republic of Ireland – view site

The save the date flyer is available here.

For all up to date conference information please visit the conference section of the members site. If you have not already done so, please register for the members site here.

For further details on all DFKI conferences please contact Vanessa Ward, Conference Manger, DFK International.

International Annual Conference
Stockholm, Sweden
14-17 July 2015

Latin America Annual Conference
Quito, Ecuador
September 2015

North America Annual Conference
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
20-23 October 2015

Asia Pacific Annual Conference
Penang, Malaysia
17-20 November 2015

EMEA Annual Conference
Dublin, Ireland
4-6 February 2016

International Annual Conference
Hanoi, Vietnam
2nd/3rd week July 2016
Venue/dates to be confirmed.

As part of its growing global profile, DFK International is pleased to welcome new member firm Althaus Consulting in Moscow. Althaus joins existing DFK member firms Femida-Audit, Korsakov and Partners in Moscow and Marka from St Petersburg adding to the range and depth of services available to clients wanting to do business in Russia.

Althaus Group is an award-winning independent company based in Moscow and provides comprehensive services in finance, tax, valuation and law to national and international clients across a broad range of industries. The company was established in 2009 and has expanded into a team of around 100 highly-qualified professionals, headed by five partners. Contact details for the firm can be found on the DFK website and you can meet the partners and learn more about Althaus here.

Click here to read more about Althaus in our DFK Press Release.