Global conference lights up the way ahead

Stronger, bolder and more responsive. Find out the key takeaways from Praxity Global Conference 2021

The importance of being super-agile in the post-Covid world was a prominent theme in this year’s digital Praxity Global Conference from 25-27 October.

The prestige event, attended by accounting professionals from member firms around the world, equipped delegates with new tools to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, climate change and other business disruptors.

Bold and thoughtful

One of the highlights was an inspirational keynote presentation by best-selling author John O’Leary on how to bounce back from adversity. Having suffered 100% burns as a child, in a tragedy he was not expected to survive, John overcame extreme adversity and now helps others live better lives.

The author and speaker shared his experience of battling against the odds to help delegates better understand and manage their staff during challenging circumstances. He stressed the importance of knowledge, empathy and having a sense of perspective when dealing with difficult moments. He urged delegates to live “more thoughtfully, more boldly and be more inspired” going forward. Adapting behaviour to live better lives was also the theme of a keynote presentation by Dr Ben Garrod, evolutionary biologist, Great Ape conservationist and award-winning science broadcaster. Dr Garrod delved into nature’s adaptive behavioural process, using examples of species such as chimpanzees, orangutans, whales and sharks to demonstrate to delegates the importance of being agile to thrive in a post-Covid world.

Strong position for growth

Praxity itself is fast evolving to become an even stronger collaborative force – with a new Management Board, Governing Council, Chairman and CEO to steer the association through the pandemic and beyond. In his State of the Alliance address, outgoing Chairman Gordon Krater, told delegates 2021 was a year of transition for Praxity, not only in terms of the pandemic but also reorganisation. Despite a period of challenge and change, he stressed Praxity was in a “very good condition financially”, with a 9.1% average annual growth rate over the last 12 years, record combined revenues of member firms of US$7bn, sixth position in the IAB world rankings of networks and associations, and a great team in place to take the Alliance forward. He underlined the importance of Praxity’s “quality not quantity” membership strategy together and revealed plans to increase global coverage without compromising on quality. The goal is to increase Praxity presence in countries with no or little representation such as the Philippines and parts of Africa and Latin America, in line with member firm needs.

New team

The dynamic new team to drive this strategy features talented individuals from around the world:

Chairman Phil Verity (Mazars UK) replaces Gordon Krater (Plante Moran, US), who is retiring Vice Chairman Matt Snow (DHG, US) who takes over from Phil Verity CEO/Executive Director Samantha Louis replaces Graeme Gordon, who is standing down after 11 years Board

  • New appointments: Tom Watson (BKD, US), Jim Proppe (Plante Moran, US), Steffen Ahrens (FALK, Germany) and Bindi Palmer (Rouse Partners, UK)
  • Second Term: Hervé Helias (Mazars, France) and Third term: Nick Hatzistergos (William Buck, Australia)
  • Standing down: Gordon Krater, Chris Schmidt (Moss Adams, US) and Ted Dickman (BKD, US).

Governing Council

  • New appointments: Eric Miles (Moss Adams, US) and Marco Carlei (ShineWing International, Australia)
  • Standing down: Zhang Ke (ShineWing International, China) ,Gordon Krater, Chris Schmidt and Ted Dickman.

All new appointments are effective from 31 December 2021, except Steffen and Bindi who joined the Board earlier in the year. Announcing the changes, Gordon Krater paid tribute to the selflessness and valuable contributions of the departing members, and welcomed the new additions to the team, adding: “I am confident that the new group will take Praxity to even greater heights and will continue to create value for all the member firms.” In a heartfelt message for departing CEO Graeme Gordon, he said: “He did an outstanding job of building the team and recruiting the right firms to Praxity. It’s truly been an honour and a privilege to work with Graeme. He really, truly cares. He cares about people and cares about Praxity. He is a wonderful human being.” He also praised new CEO Samantha Louis, who has made a big impact since joining the team in June. “She’s hit the ground running, she’s a ball of energy, she’s got great strategic vision…and I think she’ll do a great job,” Gordon said. He concluded: “It’s been my honour and pleasure to serve on the Praxity Board in these last three years as Chairman. I will always treasure my experiences and the friendships I’ve made.”

Knowledge and CPE credits

This year’s conference was once again held entirely online via Praxity’s sophisticated interactive virtual platform due to the ongoing restrictions of Covid-19. Each session was repeated twice a day to allow as many delegates as possible to attend across different time zones. Conference content included:

  • CEO/COO Briefings
  • Updates from regional chairs on important regulatory issues around the world
  • A workshop on Huddle – Praxity’s sophisticated knowledge-sharing tool
  • Interactive networking sessions to get to know colleagues

The event was also an opportunity for delegates to acquire up to 7.5 CPE credits in the field of Behavioural Ethics and Business Management & Organisation.

Hello New Orleans!

Next year’s conference will be held in the vibrant French Quarter of New Orleans, a suitably exciting location for the return of the face-to-face conference format. This will provide maximum opportunities to learn, share, network and have fun. Praxity is renowned for laying on informative and prestigious global conferences for its member firms and 2022 promises to be a good one!

On behalf of Praxity by Ian Lavis thewritingroom