Studio Matera - Thought Leadership: Accounting & Business Consultancy

Studio Andrea Matera: Guiding businesses entering the market in Italy

Studio Andrea Matera, a boutique accounting and business consultancy firm based in Italy, provides consultancy services to international clients entering Italy’s market. IAB’s Editor-in Chief, Zoya Malik, spoke to Founder and CPA, Andrea Matera, to find out more.

Perception is everything. While branding used to encompass a specific set of parameters, the importance of crowdsourced data today means that reputation touches every aspect of your work. How your firm is perceived in the marketplace is of crucial importance when engaging new clients, so demonstrating confidence and assurance in your offering is a good look. While nothing can quite compare to a direct referral, Net Promoter Scores as a verifiable measure of your company’s business offering, are extremely powerful. A contemporary version of a word-of-mouth recommendation, these metrics can go beyond marketing and into the heart of how your firm is run. 

The adage of “what gets measured, gets managed”, certainly applies to CX. With robust and definite measurements (at least as far as is possible) any firm can manage existing business prospects better, while also seeing where developments could be made. An NPS Score brings rigour to the intangible, alleviating client anxiety and advertising a good service record with solid verification. It’s important to emphasise the positive effect it can have from within your business. 

CX measurement is at its heart about mitigating risk. It helps your firm to understand where it is going wrong and which clients need maintenance. It gives important data about your brand perception and provides a go-to for prospective customers. Furthermore, any accounts at risk can swiftly be identified, whilst internally the direction of the firm’s travel can be identified by its leaders. 

Measuring NPS also helps firms understand what they are doing right. It can highlight strengths or staff who are particularly good at delivering excellence, while being useful in building a databank of testimonials for business development. 

Praxity, as the largest alliance of independent accounting firms in the world, has put the metric of Customer Experience at the heart of its communications strategy. Partnering with Vancouver, Washington-based CX experts ClearlyRated, the Alliance has begun implementing a consistent and independently assessed NPS programme worldwide. 

We are pleased to say that the Praxity Alliance has an aggregated Net Promoter Score of 82.2, which is testament to the outstanding work of our member firms. 

For an accountancy firm, client service depends on the level of their knowledge and expertise. It also depends on their ability to use that knowledge effectively. ClearlyRated’s CEO Eric Gregg puts the importance of this two-way relationship well, “For any professional services firm, the value added is in the knowledge and in their ability to convey it, using it for the benefit of their clients. Any firm’s clients should go away knowing and understanding how they have been helped, and what they have gained by working with you. In this way, leveraging a close relationship is key and helps firms to be proactive, rather than just focusing on the past.” 

There are cases for analysing CX on several levels. For one, it allows firms to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. It can also help to determine where firms are falling short, and in what areas their targets should lie. The process itself also raises pertinent questions, helping to gather insights from every level of operation. Finally, by asking clients the right questions, business leads and cross-selling opportunities can arise with surprising regularity. It’s a rare chance to engage with both your customers and your teams in greater depth on every aspect. 

This is the first time that such a measure has been implemented in a worldwide alliance. The global scale, granularity of data and necessary rigour could have been complex. An important part of Praxity’s approach was to roll out to all member firms at one time, giving senior leaders the time to re-commit to Praxity’s business standard and to onboard their marketing teams effectively.  

Zoya Malik: Can you tell us about Studio Andrea Matera’s history and the services you provide?

Andrea Matera: Studio Andrea Matera is an internationally recognised professional boutique accounting and business consultancy providing multi-disciplinary tax and advisory services with its offices in Italy and the UK and boasts an extensive professional network of partners and clients in different parts of the globe.  Our dynamic and innovative company carefully considers its clients' needs, ideas and challenges and provides them with customised solutions to bring about their success. Since 2022, Studio Andrea Matera has been listed among the top 100 accounting professionals in Italy, as well as among the top 25 accountants in the field of digital services, by Forbes Italy.

Our services cover:  

  • daily follow-up of companies in all respects from incorporation to day-to-day management; 
  • daily tax, corporate and business consultancy 
  • VAT in e-commerce management of all periodical and annual VAT fulfilments: from identification to tax refunds, periodical and annual returns, as well as the preparation of tax representations. 
  • company valuation; 
  • transfer pricing issues with excellent results, as we have an in-depth knowledge of the subject and can liaise directly with the various offices of the Inland Revenue Agency (some of the most complex in the world); 
  • International tax consultancy; 
  • Double taxation; 
  • and real estate. 

Andrea Matera

Founder and CPA at Studio Andrea Matera

ZM: How well-placed is Studio Andrea Matera to guide and assist new businesses setting up in Italy?

AM: We take care of clients from different parts of the globe by providing them with a turnkey service. We guide them at every step, remaining inherent to their development in the country- this can begin with setting up their company in Italy, making arrangements with notaries and setting up agreements with banks to open current accounts, and progress to day-to-day management in administrative, tax and accounting areas, while maintaining the highest level of compliance with the various financial administrators.

ZM: What is the current socio-economic climate in Italy for new business entrants? Why is this a good time for networks, associations and accounting firms to expand into Italy?

AM: Italy is undoubtedly a complex country, but with the right guidance it is scalable: after all, even as symbolised in Dante Alighieri's Inferno, without receiving his supreme guidance he would have been lost in the dark forest and may not have reached the stars! We want to pride ourselves on being the Virgil of our clients: helping them through the thicket of complex regulations and laws unscathed. 

Best in Class – 100 Best Accounting Firms in Italy Awards

Currently, it seems that even the Italian legislature has realised the need to reduce the complexity inherent in its public and judicial apparatus, and this is certainly a positive sign for us and for our clients. We have had years of obscurity and have carried the perceived stigma of a failed economy; certainly, we have been drifting with changes in many Prime Ministers, that has not reflected well on the country’s prestige; having said that, I feel optimistic that the worst is over and that public institutions are able to overcome past hurdles and are making up for lost ground. The tax regulation (new deadlines for taxes and for sending tax returns, relations with the tax authorities made certain, new procedures for tax inspections, new tax rates, revision of tax incentives making them uniform throughout the country) that has been recently passed is certainly about a modernisation of the tax system, as are the new regulations concerning tax litigation and the powers conferred on tax authorities.

ZM: How can seasoned consultants such as Studio Andrea Matera guide and inform accounting firms on market growth opportunities?

AM: Studio Andrea Matera guides its clients by studying the market and the opportunities daily. We periodically provide circulars to our customers, keeping them updated on various topics including: VAT regulations, digitalisation, investments, double taxation, international taxation, local tax. 

This gives them an advantage over their competitors and a rationale that allows them to make strategic decisions in real time, thus creating added value for their businesses.

ZM: What new regulations are there that will impact foreign institutions entering the EU and Italy’s jurisdiction? 

AM: The main regulations that foreign companies will have to interact with are related to income taxes, which are divided into two types, corporate tax and income tax on individuals and partnerships. Then there are minor regulations, again related to these, which affect them less significantly; I am referring to local taxes, levied by individual municipalities or regions that have their own taxing power, due to the limited fiscal federalism still in place in Italy.  

VAT is another regulation that affects every type of business that wants to invest in Italy. The Italian accounting standards (OIC) are increasingly adapting to international regulations (IRFS/IAS), so those who come to Italy will find an accounting environment that is cohesive with the regulations in other countries, certainly more so than in years past. 

ZM: How important is it for foreign firms entering the market to understand cultural fit in the local business market? How do you advise them in this area?

AM: It is fundamental: customs and traditions dictate the demand for goods and services, so if a foreign company enters without studying the market, the chances of its success can be greatly reduced. Studio Andrea Matera assists its clients in market analysis, supporting them in structuring a development strategy for the domestic market. The focus is always on the result the client wants to achieve, the resources they can invest and the time planned to achieve their goal. 

Working side by side with the client is our strength, as we can support clients right from the beginning, medium-term planning through to periodic planning, by steadying the steps to be taken on the basis from the continuous analysis and periodic assessments from data collection and market feedback, and applying quality management controls at each stage. 

ZM: How are you able to advise accounting firms in navigating the corporate tax regime in Italy? What is upcoming in 2024?

AM: In my opinion, the variables to be considered by foreign accounting firms and foreign firms aspiring to enter Italy in order to choose a local partner are to be found in the speed of response, in giving certain and precise answers to the questions posed, the degree of digitalisation of the firm, the level of IT security, and last but not least, the degree of relationships that the firm has managed to develop with the various administrative institutions. 

At Studio Andrea Matera, we strive to excel in all these variables by constantly investing in the most innovative technologies, programmes, IT security and relations with colleges and public administrations.

IAFA 2023 with the ACCA team

For 2024 and beyond, I expect an international strengthening of the country as well as new and keen attention from foreigners into the Italian real estate sector, where there are several opportunities opening up in the market of which I am sure, many will take advantage. In terms of taxation, I think Italy is becoming attractive - both for companies and for individuals - even with some incentives for individuals having been reduced and homogenised across the country.

ZM: How do you work with the regulator and other institutions involved in compliance and standard setting?

AM: Studio Andrea Matera with its clients all over Italy, boasts an extensive network of contacts with the country's main institutions, namely and including Agenzia delle Entrate and the Chambers of Commerce, INPS and INAIL. Finally, there are 7,896 municipalities in Italy. On the basis of the activity that the foreign client wishes to develop, Studio Andrea Matera is able to reach every single municipality to activate the required compliance with it, guaranteeing its quality.

ZM: Can you give some examples of success stories from working with foreign firms and partners?

AM: Over the years, we have assisted countless foreign companies that had VAT credits stranded in their collections: we understood why, we interfaced with the respective tax administration offices, and we completed the job to the client's utmost satisfaction, who recovered what they were entitled to. 

We have followed several clients in their tax defence by interacting with the public administrators and cancelling the tax claims against the clients. We have assisted several foreign companies with their corporate structuring in Italy and continue to track and support them with their brand development objectives in their market. 

Each new challenge presented to us is the stuff of Studio Andrea Matera’s lifeblood: it stimulates us to find new solutions and to improve our services and client solutions every day. As I see it, a satisfied client’s testimonial is our ‘talking business card’; just read what some of what our clients are saying about us on Trustpilot! 

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