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Top 50 Cyprus Accounting, Audit, Tax & Advisory Firms

Top 50 Cyprus Accounting, Audit, Tax & Advisory Firms

Number Crunchers. Bean Counters. Ledger Lovers. Account Ants…These are just some of the more innocent nicknames used when referring to accountants and auditors while to those outside the profession, only one word comes to mind to describe their job: boring! Of course, it’s not really like that. Accountants analyse data, present reports and create strategies for success. To excel in professional accounting, you need decision-making, strategic planning and leadership skills, as well as a clear understanding of the inner workings of an organisation. It should not be a surprise to learn that many business leaders are accountants and many accountants are business leaders.

In Cyprus and elsewhere, studying to become a Chartered or Certified Accountant has traditionally been viewed as a sound and admirable career move and nothing that has taken place in the last three months is likely to shake this belief. When the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) was established in 1961, it had 21 founder members. Today, more than 3,000 accountants belong to the Institute. 

It is generally agreed that the reason why the accounting profession in Cyprus is today considered as equal to that of the UK, the US and other developed countries is all down to one man: Michael Zampelas. In 1965, when ICPAC was four years old, Zampelas became a Chartered Accountant and five years later, together with his associates, he established the accounting and consulting firm Coopers & Lybrand in Cyprus and Athens. A merger in 1998 would eventually lead to the creation of PricewaterhouseCoopers, more recently abbreviated to PwC, which is the world's largest professional services firm and the largest of the so-called “Big Four” accountancy firms measured by 2012 revenues.

In 2007, Zampelas was honoured by the Board of ICPAC for his visionary services to the accounting and auditing profession in Cyprus, while he was awarded First Prize by the same Institute in 2010 for his contribution in the development of the accounting and auditing profession and the economy of Cyprus. This was confirmed last year when he became the first individual recipient of a CIPA International Investment Award.

Michael Zampelas himself is modest about his achievements and, in an interview with Gold, he stressed the importance of teamwork. However, when pressed to identify key moments in the development of the local accounting profession, he pointed to two particular events which, he believes, led to today’s situation in which Cyprus is recognised the world over for the excellence of its accounting/audit sector. The first took place in 1977 when the Board of ICPAC was trying to persuade the House of Representatives to pass legislation to protect the accounting profession. Zampelas considered the idea “short-sighted and catastrophic” and he was fortunate to have an ally in the person of Brian Maynard, then President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). Maynard was invited to address the Board and he eloquently persuaded them that the way forward was to let the profession develop by adopting international standards, not by turning it into a ‘closed shop’. 

The other key moment, according to Zampelas, came at the start of the ‘90s with the fall of communism. As an elected member of the board of Coopers & Lybrand Europe, he was in a position to closely observe developments in the countries of the Eastern bloc and realised that there was an untapped market. By this time, the accounting profession had reached the stage where Cyprus was the only country outside the UK authorised to train UK Chartered Accountants and to hold the relevant examinations, and Zampelas proposed the idea of inviting 25 outstanding students from the former communist regimes to be trained in Cyprus. “I knew that on their return home, they were not only going to become top executives in their countries but they would become the best Ambassadors for Cyprus. That is precisely what happened and, in my view, these two events were key to the development of the profession which is now admired by the rest of the world. And it is thanks to a great extent to today’s accountants that Cyprus has gained its reputation as a major professional services centre.” 


Note: The information in this listing was correct at the time of publication in Gold magazine, June 2013