Russell Bedford Asia-Pacific Meeting 2019: Chennai, India

July 2019

The 2019 Russell Bedford Asia-Pacific Meeting was held in July at the five-star Hyatt Regency, Chennai. Hosted by Russell Bedford’s India member, Sharp & Tannan, this year’s meeting drew the largest ever number of delegates to a Russell Bedford Asia-Pacific Meeting, demonstrating the network’s growing connections and enrichment of firm engagement. We welcomed delegates from 15 firms, across 20 cities and 12 countries.

The APAC regional board meeting preceded the main event, which was followed by a pre-meeting discussion on maximising business opportunities in India.

Following a welcome lunch, the meeting officially commenced with an address from the host firm. Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, M P Vijay Kumar, joined to discuss the future of the profession in India with a very informative and insightful presentation covering all major issues.

This was followed by a global network update by Russell Bedford’s CEO, Stephen Hamlet. Stephen then concluded the day with a session on ‘Bridging the Generation Gap’, chairing group discussions on current themes in an accountancy practice and how different generations can learn from each other.

The second day of the meeting commenced with the customary roundtable updates from all firms present, summarising the developments and changes within their respective firms and regions.

Sessions on ‘Delivering real efficiency’ and ‘Maintaining a healthy workplace’ followed lunch, creating much interaction and interest in how firms approach such matters in a region which is so diverse and full of cultural difference.

Each firm explained how, in recent years as employers, they strive to create the best possible environment for their employees, accepting the need for an acceptable ‘work-life balance’.

It was noted how delegates were starting to appreciate how there is now a willingness from the younger generations to accept failure and to take more risks than their previous generations.

The closing session of this year’s meeting focused on practical Key Performance Indicators for measuring employee and practice performance.

Delegates reconvened in the evening for an exquisite Indian dinner, with a performance of national music, giving everyone the opportunity to deliberate over their knowledge sharing throughout the day, and to enjoy some of the unique culture the country has to offer.

Stephen Hamlet took the opportunity to connect with Russell Bedford’s extensive network in India, visiting offices in Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai, meeting with the professionals within the Indian offices who represent the Russell Bedford network so very well!

A huge thanks to Viswanathan Vaidyanathan and all the team at Sharp & Tannan for their support in planning and executing this year’s hugely successful meeting, and for their fantastic hospitality, as is so often witnessed throughout the whole of India.

Speaking of the meeting, Stephen Hamlet, said: “This was the first year we’ve had people from outside the region, which just goes to show how much work not only crosses borders within regions, but crosses into other regions. As well as the managing partner from our member in Milan, colleagues from the Netherlands were also in Chennai to meet a client, as part of a global project with our Indian firm. At their first Asia Pacific meeting, they commented on how “together” the region is and how impressed they were with the interaction and discussions taking place amongst such a diversity of countries and cultures. I was personally delighted with the engagement throughout the meeting and the immense talent displayed across a range of generations.”

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