Editor's note

Issue 649 • September 2023

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Market uncertainties continue to compound inflationary pressures

In an unexpected move, the European Central Bank raised Eurozone interest rates to an all-time high of 4%, warning that inflation was “expected to remain too high for too long.” The ECB is not alone amongst central banks to voice this concern as we approach the end of 2023 with little relief in sight for weary companies and consumers. The uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine, as we head into winter, remains unabated especially for grain and oil markets. According to American General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this conflict is likely to rumble on well into 2024 and possibly beyond. All in all, Government and corporates are having to navigate through some very choppy commercial waters.

The recent G20 summit highlighted the political divide amongst leading countries with four heads of state absent and a failure to reach agreement on a unified statement about Russia’s actions in Ukraine. A few weeks earlier several new countries were welcomed into the BRICS fold and with President Xi also failing to attend to attend the G20, there is a growing belief that we are seeing the very early signs of a new world order. What that means for businesses across the globe and for the US Dollar as a preferred currency of trade is something we will, no doubt, come back to over the next decade and beyond. Added to the mix is India’s growing stature amongst less developed nations and its expected meteoric rise as a growing consumer market.

In this issue, read a feature interview with Barry Melancon, a visionary leader in the accounting profession and recipient of IAB’s Lifetime Achievement 2023 award. Barry discusses his career lessons and his views on the current need for learning and development to retain talent in the sector in light of the swift transformations directed by market forces and AI tech; an analysis by Audit Analytics focuses on auditor market share for companies registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Karim Ben-Jaafar, SVP at Beanworks points to the standardisation of invoicing processes to reduce opportunities for fraudsters; Paul Goodhew, EY Global Assurance Innovation & Emerging Technology Leader looks at the release and accessibility of new and ‘off the shelf’ AI learning models that are creating risks and opportunities for corporates;  Robert Burke, CEO and Founder of Sobo, an AI powered fractional consulting platform outlines how professional service providers can stay competitive in a market dominated by larger firms; Matt Rodgers, EMEA MD at OneStream, explains that AI and ML can work together to streamline  financial planning and analysis (FP&A) processes; scams can damage business reputation advises Steve O’Malley, Chief Revenue Officer at Callsign; and experts at Suited Insure reiterate the need to retain talent through open communication, encouraging work-life balance and providing opportunities for career development.

There are ranking reports and fee and staff tables for Brazil and Columbia and additional tables for Chile and Panama.

There is also the usual monthly sector news round up. We look forward to your feedback.

Zoya Malik