49 (144) 2021

Editorial note

Editorial note

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

The interviews – we start with auditing – the key to trustworthy financial data coming from business. Piotr Wyszogrodzki, managing partner of PwC Polska’s Audit Department, talks about the future of auditing; 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.

Dariusz Kucharski, CEO of HSBC in Poland, outlines the challenges and opportunities facing the corporate banking sector in Poland in the wake of the pandemic, putting it into a global perspective. A two-speed recovery is under way, he says.

From corporate finance to consumer finance. Agnieszka Kłos-Siddiqui, country manager of Provident Polska, assesses the condition of Poland’s consumer-finance sector in the aftermath of the pandemic and major regulatory changes, and explains how technology is affecting the sector’s development.

Katarzyna Saganowska, TMF Group's global director for corporate due diligence, heads up a team dedicated to protecting the group from risks associated with money-laundering and financing of terrorism. SMEs are more likely to be exposed to such risks, she says.

Tony Repa of consultancy CECA assesses how well Poland’s institutions are prepared to take on the challenges facing the country as it attempts to shift gear from imitation to innovation mode, based on his insider’s knowledge of having worked with the Ministry of Finance on the implementation of its capital markets strategy.

The EU’s financial perspective 2021-2017

Aurelia Pankiewicz of Accreo explains the way the new EU budget will be structured. Get ready for FENG and FENIKS – the Polish acronyms for the EU-financed programmes of tomorrow, €66.8 billion of which are to come to Poland.

Financial services – the HR aspects

The UK’s FinTech sector currently faces major skills shortages, compounded by Brexit. Given that only 58% of its IT workers are UK citizens, attracting talent from the EU now means visas. Immigration lawyer Nilmini Roelens of Roelens Solicitors looks at the different types of visas and the requirements that have to be met. This is crucial information that employers and potential employees need to know about working in the UK in tech jobs.

Covid-19 has affected Poland’s financial services in different and subtle ways, and this has knocked on to the labour market – changing the skills profiles of employees that the sectors is most keen to recruit. Łukasz Grzeszczyk, who heads IT recruitment at Hays Poland, looks at current trends. Just as in the UK, it is IT workers who are in greatest demand.

If you think it’s hard to recruit and retain good accountants now, just wait until Generation Z becomes the dominant demographic group in the workforce! Vikas Aggarwal from ACCA looks at what’s driving Gen-Zers and what employers will need to do to keep them on board.

Harriet Faragher from Kaplan Financial says that accountants with data analytic skills are also in demand; digital skills. As more and more data becomes available in digital form, people who are able to analyse it – essentially ‘data translators’ – are become increasingly sought after. Training is the answer.

Finance for business

Anna Wierzbicka from Santander Bank Polska describes the Trade Club Alliance, which links companies that trade internationally from 15 different banking groups around the world – an effective and powerful tool for linking trusted buyers and sellers, overcoming bureaucratic hurdles and financing the transaction.

Brexit is causing headaches for companies trading between Poland and the UK. One complication than can easily be removed is exchange-rate fluctuation. Adam Stasio, managing director of Ebury Polska, explains how the pound-zloty volatility risk can be effectively managed.

Transforming a business from sole proprietorship to a limited-liability company is complicated. Yet it’s a step most entrepreneurs need to take when growing their business. Alicja Korbecka, president of the management board of ACCO Accounting & Consulting Office, explains how to do it.

Ewa Gawrońska-Micuń, managing director of Bibby Financial Services, notes that payment delays – a major headache for SMEs at the best of times – have become even more problematic across the Polish economy due to the pandemic, causing huge cashflow pressures. Unlocking the value held in invoices – factoring – is one answer.

The pandemic has hastened the growth of the flexible office. This creates new opportunities for a franchised operation model – IWG (International Workspace Group, owners of the Regus brand) offers a good case study.

Compliance – an ever-increasing burden

Marta Stanisławska from law firm Bird & Bird, looks over the latest know-your-customer procedures and the amended anti-money-laundering requirements.

Jan Kluk, former BPCC chairman, explains how the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) making Human Capital Reporting (HCR) mandatory for listed companies from 9 November 2020. Validating human capital data is likely to become something that most companies will have to do before too long – it makes sense, he says.

Enterprise Resource Planning software offers a powerful solution for managers of SMEs who are often struggling to keep up with the latest changes in tax and HR regulations. This problem is compounded when firms do business across multiple jurisdictions. Paweł Prymakowski, CEO of IT Vision, explains how to manage finances and accounting documents – as well as supply chains and customs – in a simple and joined-up way.

Taxation and finance

Gerard Goliasz from KR Group looks at the EU’s E-Commerce Package introduced on 1 July and the far-reaching changes that will affect B2C sales. Brexit will make things harder for UK e-commerce platforms selling goods to EU citizens – but moving operations to Poland make sense.

The EU’s VAT E-Commerce Package also changes the nature of online marketplaces; Izabela Jędra and Kamil Chmielewski from KPMG outline the new roles that they are about to assume.

BPCC board member Marzena Richter, an international auditor experienced in property funds, practising as Staniszewski & Richter, considers the absence of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Poland, and wonders when Polish pension funds will be able to invest in Polish commercial property on the same tax-privileged basis as funds pension funds from abroad.

And finally…

If you are into geopolitics and history, then this article co-authored by Prof Brendan Simms, Charles Clarke and David Cairns from the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Geopolitics, about the UK-Poland relationship in the context of the Baltic Sea, will be of interest to you.

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