49 (144) 2021

Deputy chairman's note

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Deputy chairman's note

By David Buckle, deputy chairman of the BPCC

At the time of last year’s AGM, few would have thought that in the middle of 2021 the pandemic would still be with us, having hit us with two subsequent waves. The Polish and the UK economies are now in recovery mode, but the recovery is uneven and emerging from out of the deepest recession in decades.

For the Chamber and its members, the past 12 months since last year’s AGM have been troubled times but as an organisation, we have made a quick and smooth transition and continued to serve our members online with full efficiency. We have organised and promoted 408 webinars since June 2020 – a completely different scale to our traditional activities before the pandemic.

Editorial note

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Editorial note

By Michael Dembinski, chief advisor, and Dorota Kierbiedź, membership director, BPCC

Money makes the world go around. But what makes money go around – in Poland? This issue of Contact Magazine Online is dedicated to financial services in their broadest aspect; our members will be looking at different areas of the sector – from the point of view of the providers, and the customers.

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Trust and technology – audit, today and tomorrow

Piotr Wyszogrodzki, managing partner of PwC Polska’s Audit Department, talks to the BPCC’s chief advisor Michael Dembinski about the future of the audit profession – in particular how technology is speeding up the process and the growing importance of ESG (environmental, social and governance) audits in determining the future value of a company


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A two-speed recovery

Dariusz Kucharski, CEO of HSBC in Poland, speaks to Michael Dembinski, chief advisor of the BPCC, about the challenges and opportunities facing the corporate banking sector in Poland in the wake of the pandemic.


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Concentrating on values, strengthening emotional bonds with our customers

Agnieszka Kłos-Siddiqui, country manager of Provident Polska, talks to the BPCC’s Michael Dembinski about the challenges facing Poland’s consumer-finance sector in the aftermath of the pandemic, and how technology is affecting its development.


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Keeping the firm safe from the world’s bad guys

Last month, Katarzyna Saganowska became the TMF Group's global director for countering money laundering and financing terrorism, heading up a 20-strong team located across Switzerland, the UK, Poland, Ukraine, China and the Dominican Republic, that advises TMF's experts in 80 locations around the world. She talks to the BPCC’s Michael Dembinski about her work.


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The macro issues facing Poland

Tony Repa of consultancy CECA talks to the BPCC’s Michael Dembinski about the financial challenges facing Poland, in particular the risks and opportunities associated with the country’s attempts to shift gear from imitation to innovation mode.


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Changes in financing under the EU budget for 2021–2027

By Aurelia Pankiewicz, manager, Accreo

When setting the next long-term EU budget for 2021-27, the European Commission decided to supplement it with the 'Next Generation EU' recovery plan to stimulate the economy and support the countries most affected by the impact of the pandemic. The EU budget for 2021–2027, including funds from the recovery plan, will amount to €1.07 trillion, of which €750 billion will be transferred to the Recovery Fund. Poland will be the biggest beneficiary of the EU's cohesion policy, receiving €66.8 billion. The main source of income for Brussels, which will finance the EU budget and the recovery plan, are the contributions paid by member states based on the size of their economies. In addition, the budget will be funded from VAT and the EU's own revenue. To obtain money for the Recovery Fund, the European Commission will have to issue bonds on the financial markets over the next six years.


FinTech and the UK immigration system

By Nilmini Roelens, principal solicitor, Roelens Solicitors

In April 2019, the then Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, prefaced his government policy statement on FinTech with the following words: “The UK has long been at the forefront of financial services. However, in more recent times, the sector’s positive response to the fourth industrial revolution has truly set us apart. The perfect storm caused by growing technology demand, right-touch regulation, and customer empowerment in financial services, coupled with the sectors response to the financial crisis, has fuelled FinTech’s rapid growth in the UK and its expansion globally.”1


IT in banking – development and tech trends in the age of Covid-19 pandemic

Łukasz Grzeszczyk, Executive Director, Head of IT Perm Recruitment at Hays Poland

The new reality has initiated a series of questions and considerations about its effects on the labour market. During the first months of the pandemic, losses in each industry could only be estimated. There were also opinions that banking will be one of the most severely affected sectors. Such forecasts were based on the potential difficulties in paying off loans and credits, as well as by sudden closure of many businesses, which could have contributed to the deterioration of the condition of financial institutions. However, it soon turned out that it was quite the opposite. The banking sector handled the crisis really well, and IT, which is on the rise, supported the industry in many aspects. The ever-closer collaboration between finance and IT has provided new solutions that will be present in the global market for good.


Gen Z and the future of finance and accountancy

By Vikas Aggarwal, regional head of policy – Eurasia and New Market Development, ACCA

Much has been written about Gen Z, about their behaviours and habits, their preferences, and their worries, but it’s worth looking at this generation in the context of the accounting and finance profession. Who they are and what motivates them is fundamentally changing the workplace for one of history’s oldest professions? Our study into Gen Z attracted over 9,000 responses from more than 130 countries, and surveyed a wide spectrum of Gen Z: those studying and those in employment; those interested and uninterested in accountancy and finance; those in small/large corporates, those in practice, and those in the public/third/charity sector. Our findings vary by geography, sector, gender etc., but there are some quite distinct trends which I’ll try to draw out.


Digital skills gap: why analytics skills are in demand

By Harriet Faragher, international operations & business relationship manager for Europe, Kaplan Financial & Kaplan Publishing

Digital transformation in many organisations has accelerated this year. The need for accountants with data analytics skills has never been higher. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) recent Future of Jobs Report 2020 explores how automation, in tandem with the Covid-19 recession, is creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario. The report forecasts a significant shift in tasks, jobs and skills within the next five years, with accounting and auditing being in the top four areas impacted, and data analytics and data science being the biggest area of growth.


Reorganise your supply chain, find a reliable trade partner and secure the transaction – with a bank

By Anna Wierzbicka, trade finance team manager, Santander Bank Polska

In the current reality of pandemic, expansion into foreign markets is a great opportunity for Polish firms to reach sales levels that have not been achieved on the domestic market. Often, companies have been forced to change the supply chain very quickly and flexibly in order to be able to continue core production, sometimes even to ensure the continuity of the company's operations or simply to fulfil a lucrative order.


How to protect profit margins after Brexit

By Adam Stosio, managing director, Ebury Poland

Brexit has caused quite a stir in Polish-UK trade relations. Administrative barriers – which we could all forget about for the past 16 years – are back and causing real problems, increasing costs for businesses. Modern financial solutions for quick settlement and currency risk hedging are effective in protecting margins. In recent years, tens of thousands of importers and exporters from all over the world have already used them, including many companies from Poland.


Transforming a business from sole proprietorship to a limited-liability company

By Alicja Korbecka, tax advisor and president of the management board of ACCO Accounting & Consulting Office

An individual  running a business might want to consider transforming and incorporating their business – into, for example, a limited-liability company due to its growth. As a result, the entrepreneur's liability (especially regarding their assets) is reduced, and new venture-capital, funding, and enterprise-development opportunities appear. What exactly is the process of converting a sole proprietorship into a limited-liability company?


Cash flow difficulties – the greatest challenge for SMEs

By Ewa Gawrońska-Micuń, board member, managing director Bibby Financial Services

A campaign, at the intersection of sport and business, called "Bibby Fair Pay Run – PREVENT/Run over payment bottlenecks" took place in the months of May and June. A virtual run initiated by Bibby Financial Services, with the British Polish Chamber of Commerce as one of its partners, was intended to draw attention to a problem of bad debts and mounting cashflow pressures in the Polish economy, aggravated by the pandemic. Simultaneously it was aimed at supporting payments of liabilities on time.


Is financial security, growing revenues and freshness still possible for franchisees?

Flexible offices (flexspaces) are one of the most promising opportunities of the franchise world for the upcoming years. That’s the message from leading business investors as they look for stability and growth during the pandemic and over the next 18 months.


Know-your-customer procedures and the amended AML requirements

by Marta Stanisławska, senior associate, Finance & Financial Regulations, Bird & Bird

In April 2021, the Polish Parliament enacted a new amendment to the Poland’s anti-money-laundering law*.


How Human Capital Reporting can increase productivity

By Jan J. Kluk, OBE and Dr Andrzej Blatiak

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made Human Capital Reporting (HCR) mandatory for companies listed on the stock exchange and those wishing to be listed from 9 November 2020. Many, if not most, countries are expected to follow suit because HCR allows investors to compare companies more directly. The emerging trend is that investors and financial institutions around the globe will increasingly be requesting validated human capital data.


Managing finances and accounting documents – you don’t have to struggle

By Paweł Prymakowski, CEO of IT Vision

Managing finances and accounting documents is a challenge for every company. Even if they operate only on the domestic market. Running an international company or foreign trade brings with it additional difficulties. In addition to the standard documents required for reporting to national institutions, you have to deal with international quality controls, customs documents and various VAT rates.


The EU’s e-commerce package: major changes in online sales

By Gerard Goliasz, KR Group

Many changes in e-commerce await taxpayers from 1 July 2021. The second half of the year will kick off with the introduction of changes in the EU’s VAT e-commerce package.


VAT E-Commerce Package: marketplaces and the new roles they are about to assume

By Izabela Jędra, assistant manager, Indirect Tax Services and Kamil Chmielewski, supervisor, Indirect Tax Services, KPMG in Poland

The introduction of the EU’s VAT e-commerce package brings major changes that will impact the operations of firms managing electronic interfaces (EI), including marketplaces, platforms, portals, or similar means. As of 1 July 2021, the role of electronic interfaces in terms of reporting, record-keeping and VAT duties has changed radically.


Commercial real estate in Poland: Will it ever be the right time for REITs?

By Marzena Richter, international auditor experienced in property funds, practising as Staniszewski & Richter

Having worked in Poland mainly as an auditor and adviser to foreign funds and companies for more than 25 years, I have observed fund managers, institutional investors and corporates reaping the rewards of the development of CEE capital markets.


Baltic geopolitics at Cambridge and the UK-Poland relationship

By Prof Brendan Simms, Rt Hon Charles Clarke and David Cairns

Poland and the whole of the Baltic Sea region have historically been an area of considerable importance to Britain. Diplomatic and trade links date back to medieval times. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was a vital trading partner and source of timber, furs and many other products. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Royal Navy drew most of its naval stores from the Baltic, watched jealously over the balance of power in that region and intervened against Russia. In the 20th century Britain encouraged the independence of the Baltic states in 1918-19 and fought both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis there.

Events Coverage

Meeting up face to face – Nice to Meet You Again comes to Warsaw!

The third of the BPCC’s Nice to Meet You series of business mixers was held in the Bristol Hotel, Warsaw, on the evening of 24 June 2021. Like the Wrocław and Poznań events held on the two previous Thursdays, the mixer once again attracted the maximum number of participants allowed by current sanitary regulations. Held in the patio outside the Bristol Hotel’s Moniuszko restaurant, the event was blessed by a dry interlude between a light shower and a heavy downpour. Once again, there was an overwhelming sense that people had come to enjoy the chance to meet up finally, to chat, to swap business cards, and to return to some semblance of normal life.

Events Coverage

Meeting up face to face – Nice to Meet You Again, Poznań!

The second of the BPCC’s Nice to Meet You series of business mixers was held in Poznań’s Vastint Business Gardens on the evening of 17 June 2021. Like the Wrocław event held the week before, the mixer once again attracted the maximum number of participants allowed by current sanitary regulations, with a long reserve list of disappointed latecomers. Although the day had been hot, the evening sun dipped behind the behind the buildings, so mixer took place in the cool of the shade. Once again, there was an overwhelming sense that everyone was keen to enjoy the chance to meet up finally, to chat, to swap business cards, and to return to some semblance of normal life.

Events Coverage

So good to meet up in person once again! Nice to Meet You Again kicks off in Wrocław

It’s been over nine months since the BPCC last held a live event in Wrocław. Since last September, Poland has experienced two waves of Covid-19. Now, as the pandemic subsides and the numbers of fully-vaccinated people continue to rise, it’s time to meet face to face at last.

Events Coverage

Developing the potential of Poland’s post-industrial land

The BPCC's Real Estate and Construction Policy Group met online on 22 June 2021 to discuss brownfield development – the remediation of land that had previously been used for industrial purposes. Given that most Polish cities have large swathes of such land, brownfield sites offer investors excellent locations, though cleaning up contamination is a challenge. The meeting considered the solutions involved in remediating and developing brownfield sites, showing on the basis of several case studies the benefits of such solutions.