Russell Bedford International Tax and EMEA Conference 2023: Bucharest

May 2023

The Russell Bedford International Tax and EMEA Conference 2023 took place at the 5-star designer Radisson Blu Hotel on 18-21 May, located in the heart of the vibrant city centre of Bucharest, Romania.  
Hosted by 3B Expert Audit, Russell Bedford’s member firm in Bucharest, the venue offered a superb location for this highly anticipated event, surrounded by the hotel’s contemporary design; perfectly situated near the Romanian Athenaeum Concert Hall and within walking distance of the National Museum of Art and the historic Old Town. 
Opening this year’s conference, Russell Bedford’s Chair, Daniel Ryba and CEO, Stephen Hamlet warmly welcomed delegates to Bucharest and to the first day of the conference. Andrei Badiu, partner of host firm 3B Expert Audit, followed with a warm welcome to his home city. 

Next, Stephen Hamlet took to the stage once more to offer delegates a network update on what’s been happening within the network, including recent achievements and some highlights of the year so far. 

Leadership facilitator and personal brand strategist, Amalia Sterescu, was up next for a session called Step into the powerful YOU, an excellent session designed to support members in being the best leader they can be. 

The first networking break of the day followed, a fundamental part of Russell Bedford’s conference programme, which allows delegates to connect and discuss mutual business concerns.  
After the break, Jeremy Mindell joined to give his thorough and extremely important update on International Tax in an Era of Deglobalisation. 
After an excellent morning programme, delegates broke for a networking lunch, where they had an opportunity to continue their discussions. 
The afternoon programme commenced, with delegates having the pleasure of welcoming the President of the Romanian Chamber of Fiscal Consultants, Dan Manolescu, to the conference. Dan delivered a very interesting update on tax changes in Romania and the implications for foreign investors. 
A final networking break followed, before day one of the conference came to a close with a thought-provoking panel discussion on ethics and the future of tax planning, hosted by Russell Bedford global board director for the North America region, Steve Horn. 

Later, delegates and their guests reconvened in the hotel lobby for departure to the Palace of Parliament. This excursion delved into the rich history of this monumental structure, uncovering the fascinating political narratives intertwined within its walls.  

Guided by an expert tour guide, delegates explored the breathtaking rooms adorned with unique building materials, including magnificent marble and exquisite furniture. The experience not only provided insight into the architectural marvel of the Parliament building, but also offered a glimpse into the political heritage. 
At Caru cu bere, a popular Romanian restaurant, delegates enjoyed delicious Romanian cuisine while being entertained by an amazing performance of traditional folk and modern dance. Some even got up and joined the dancing, immersing themselves in the lively Romanian culture. 

Day two of the conference commenced with pre-conference networking and opening remarks from Stephen Hamlet. 
The first session of the day was delivered by Andrei Ghiorghiu from Bluetweak. A highly topical subject matter, Andrei explored the impact of AI and Automation in the Finance Sector: Opportunities, Challenges, and the Road Ahead. This was a ground-breaking session on how businesses can lean into opportunities during this fascinating period, as AI dominates the discussion in 2023 and beyond. 

Next, delegates had two workshop sessions to choose from, including Sustainability reporting developments in Europe: Implications for SMEs by Lina Lemessiou and Transfer pricing: From Basics to Value Chain Analysis by Airam González. 
The first networking break of the day followed, allowing delegates to reaffirm already established business connections and to meet partners of more recently joined firms. 

After the break, the programme provided the opportunity to choose between a further two workshop sessions, including an open discussion on the ‘Future accountant’ – challenges facing the profession in attracting and retaining talent which was led by Stephen Hamlet, and featured Head of ACCA Southern Europe, Andreia Stanciu. 
Meanwhile, partners from London, UK and Mosta, Malta, Phil Moss and Karl Carabott led an international case study, Death and Taxes – not so certain? The workshop provided an excellent interpretation of a real-life issue that delegates could reapply later in a business setting.  
Following the workshops, lunch offered an opportunity for further deliberations.  
After lunch, board directors for the EMEA region, Laurence Newman and Emmanuel Dupeux led a discussion on Business Development: opportunities for enhanced collaboration. 
Up next was Joost Vrancken Peeters, La Gro Geelkerken Advocaten B.V., who joined to discuss the crossover with the legal profession and opportunities to be explored. 
The final networking break of the conference followed, where delegates contemplated the conference content and further cemented their business relationships. 
To close the daytime programme of this year’s International Tax & EMEA Conference, Daniel Ryba led a teambuilding activity. This unique experience proved to be an invaluable opportunity for delegates to strengthen their personal connections, while exploring questions outside the realm of their professional lives.  

Under Daniel’s guidance, the teambuilding activity delved deep into the lives and aspirations of each participant. By encouraging individuals to share their stories, values, and dreams, the event fostered an environment of trust and vulnerability.  
As the delegates engaged in meaningful conversations, they discovered shared experiences and common ground, forging a sense of friendship and understanding that transcended their professional roles. The teambuilding activity culminated in a powerful conclusion that set the stage for continued positive relationships, both personally and professionally. 

Following the close of the conference, the evening commenced in the hotel lobby for departure to a lakeside restaurant, Hiro Bay for drinks, dinner and entertainment. The evening started with a welcome drink, providing a chance for everyone to relax and connect in the beautiful lakeside setting. As the sun set, delegates enjoyed the great food, stunning views and wonderful company. 

Commenting on an incredibly successful conference, Russell Bedford CEO, Stephen Hamlet, said: “It has been a most wonderful conference in Bucharest. We had another excellent programme with a host of fantastic expert speakers who joined to share the latest updates on topics focused on International Tax, leadership, the ‘future accountant’ and much more. As always, it was fantastic to meet and converse with colleagues from around the globe. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with delegates and hearing directly from them on their business goals for 2023, and how membership of the Russell Bedford network can help them achieve those goals. A huge thank you to our host, Andrei and our members who made this conference one to remember!” 
Russell Bedford Chair, Daniel Ryba, added: “It was a pleasure to be in Bucharest for the 2023 International Tax & EMEA Conference. Meeting colleagues face to face is such an invaluable part of being Russell Bedford members and it was wonderful to see so many of our members taking the time out of their busy business lives to prioritise the opportunity to connect and share knowledge. The programme was packed with great content, enabling delegates to get the maximum benefit from their conference attendance. I was delighted to reconnect with so many people and solidify business relationships with old colleagues and new.” 

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