PKF Global Gathering and International Assurance Meeting 2022
Over 200 members of PKF International’s global community came together in Chicago from 20 to 23 September 2022 to join the annual Global Gathering and International Assurance Meeting.
The conference opened on Wednesday 21 September, with delegates treated to a Chicago-style welcome courtesy of the Blooze Brothers, weaving their way through the crowd playing live music. PKF International's Chairman, Christos Antoniou, and CEO, Theo Vermaak delivered an opening address and introduced the three key event themes of people, growth, and innovation and technology. A warm welcome was extended to this year’s event sponsors, Beeye, Caseware, KBKG, LucaNet, Makosi, Suralink and Xero.
Keynote speaker Michael Platt, Managing Director of the Platt Group and Principal at INSIDE Public Accounting, presented an invaluable session on the trends and shifts in practice management. Drawing on his extensive experience of collaborating with over 1,000 of the largest accounting firms in North America, he outlined the approaches adopted by thriving firms to ensure continued relevance and success.
Wednesday’s highlights also included a thought-provoking interactive workshop on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), where member firms shared their approaches to developing this service area and discussed their learnings and successes. A further session considered the benefits to member firms of becoming an employer of choice and being recognised under employer accreditation schemes. The PKF International team provided an update on current PKF projects, including technology, brand and supporting firms with flexible resourcing options.
During the evening, delegates enjoyed dinner at the famous Skydeck in Willis Tower, the third tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Those brave enough were able to take in spectacular views across Chicago and beyond from The Ledge, a glass balcony standing at 1,353 feet above ground on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower.
We pride ourselves on being a network centred around quality and day 2 of the conference featured two Assurance workshops addressing recent developments in quality management. The first outlined the technical requirements of ISQM 1 and considered some of the potential challenges to designing and implementing effective monitoring and remediation processes within member firms. The second session gave delegates an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and brainstorm solutions to these challenges.
A further session on sustainability assurance focussed on member firms who are developing assurance propositions over ESG reporting.
In addition, Thursday’s programme saw four member firms (PKF Francis Clark in the UK, PKF Zambia, PKF Wulf in Germany and PKF Arsilon in France) share their corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach and achievements in their local communities. Speakers explained the positive impact this has had on staff retention and firm reputation, as well as the benefits of working together at a global level on a centralised CSR strategy. We are thrilled to report that, as a result of the CSR session, three member firms have committed to support PKF Zambia with local initiatives and send their employees out as volunteers.
Day 2’s evening entertainment allowed delegates to embrace Chicago’s history at a Prohibition-themed gala dinner hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry. This was an opportunity for members to reconnect in the splendour of one of Chicago’s most iconic buildings and dance the night away to live music.
The final day included a session where PKF member firms shared their experiences of developing and implementing various workplace strategies, from adapting the office working environment to providing mental health support to colleagues.
Xero’s Chief Customer Officer, Rachel Powell, delivered an engaging keynote presentation on keeping our people at the forefront of any business strategy and treating them as firms’ most valued asset.
The event concluded with a wrap-up by Christos Antoniou and Theo Vermaak. Members were invited to a final farewell dinner at the House of Blues, with Chicago’s Blooze Brothers providing live entertainment, just as they had at the opening of the conference on day one.
We are delighted that feedback from delegates about this year’s Global Gathering and International Assurance Meeting has been extremely positive, with new and long-standing member firms giving glowing reviews.
Ali Akesbi, Partner at AD Associés said, “This was my first international gathering with PKF and what a wonderful experience it’s been. It’s been a pleasure connecting with peers from all over the world who share the same values and ambitions.”
Selma Delic, Operations Director at UK member firm PKF Smith Cooper, commented, “This year’s content really has been on another level. The keynote, Michael Platt, was incredibly inspiring. It’s certainly going to be a hard event to beat.”
PKF International CEO, Theo Vermaak, echoed delegates’ sentiments, saying, “The last four days have been phenomenal, packed with inspiring content. It’s been a real privilege to be with our global community again during this year’s Global Gathering, working towards our common goal of helping each other thrive and succeed.”
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2022 event. We look forward to announcing further details about next year’s Global Gathering soon.