Russell Bedford launches Ibero-America group with first meeting online

April 2021

Almost 700 attendees, representing 50 offices, in 21 countries joined online for Russell Bedford’s 2021 Ibero-American Meeting; a two-day meeting dedicated to the network’s Spanish and Portuguese speaking members.

The meeting was conducted in Spanish and commenced with a welcome from LATAM regional directors, Javier Jimenez, Russell Bedford Mexico, and Daniel Ryba, Russell Bedford Argentina; explaining how the Latin American region had come together with several new initiatives involving Spain and Portugal to form Ibero-America.

Russell Bedford’s global CEO, Stephen Hamlet, opened the sessions with an update on the network; its current status, recent achievements and strategic priorities for the future.

Guillermo Ureta from the network’s new Chilean firm, Addval, and Reynaldo Gómez from new firm in Nicaragua, Gómez & Gómez Consultores, each delivered an introduction to their firms.

Russell Bedford global board members, Javier Jimenez and Daniel Ryba, were up again to deliver their international report. 

Speaking of Russell Bedford International’s incredible growth and progress during his time as a member, Javier Jimenez said: “When we joined Russell Bedford about 20 years ago, we were only 10 firms. Today, we are represented in more than 100 countries.”

Regional committee presentations were next on the agenda, starting with the Ibero-America Audit Committee led by Wendy Garcia, Guatemala, who stated: "The Audit Committee is composed of seven audit professionals, and I am proud to say that six of them are women. Our aim is to keep members informed with the most pressing audit matters. The rules in audit are constantly changing and it’s our responsibility to keep abreast of such changes as leaders of the Audit Committee. We encourage members to reach out for assistance or for clarification on any changes which may be unclear."

The next update was delivered by Bruno Foggiato, Uruguay, leader of the Ibero-America Innovation Committee. He remarked: "Our approach is to explore the capacity of our network; researching, identifying, developing and implementing new ways to deliver our services efficiently, while offering our clients the best-value support."

During the Ibero-America Transfer Pricing Committee update, committee leader Xochitl Contreras, Mexico, said: “As a global team, we are adding value to our client service through our collaboration as a committee. We share knowledge and technology to deliver the best support.”

Ricardo García-Nieto Serratosa, global board member, Spain, updated attendees on the Ibero-America Financial Advisory Committee saying: “I feel that the formation of these committees is a great push to take the network in the right direction. Our aim is to consistently add more value, while ensuring that we are the best option for our clients.”

The final committee update of day one was for the Ibero-America Marketing Committee, led by Alfonso Milla, Mexico, and Belen Aimi, Argentina. Alfonso said: “We are very pleased with the progress that our committee has made. We have successfully identified the strengths and expertise of each of the committee members, with a view to applying these effectively; allowing us to support each other in all areas of marketing.”

Day two of the meeting opened with further committee updates. Firstly, Juan Jose Lopez, Argentina, who delivered a briefing on the Ibero-America IFRS Committee, saying: “There are many different standards throughout Ibero-America.The idea is to build an internal consultation platform to enable all members to keep on top of changes in every country, meaning that we can all be well informed at all times.”

Israel Miñon, Mexico, updated attendees on the Ibero-America Tax Committee saying: “Our objective is to create benefit from this committee, sharing experience and knowledge; interacting with our colleagues and creating a positive impact for our clients.”

Up next was a session on ‘Russell Bedford LATAM in numbers’ delivered by Bruno Foggiato. Bruno shared various statistics related to the region, including the increase in the number of countries, number of offices and other key data of Russell Bedford member firms. He also delivered the results of a recent survey saying: “Following a survey of members in the LATAM region, we discovered some interesting results. When asked about the possibility of working from home after post-Covid, the majority answered that their staff will be offered the opportunity to work from home from between one and three days per week. A seismic change in the way we work!”

Next, Russell Bedford’s marketing assistant for LATAM, Belen Aimi, and Russell Bedford Mexico’s marketing manager, Alfonso Milla, explained various offerings to members in LATAM in terms of marketing, professional content, case studies, regional news and translated webinars, in their session, ‘Marketing project and achievements in LATAM.’

Guest speaker, Bart A. Pattyn, joined the meeting to discuss ‘The race for a recovery post Covid-19.’ Bart discussed how the pandemic has affected the economy, while sharing his predictions for the future, including routes to recovery. Sharing a detailed analysis of the main industries and challenges they face, Bart emphasized CSR as a key factor for successful future business strategies. Coining the phrase ‘digital nomad’ as his view of the future workforce, Bart called for much greater flexibility in terms of place and hours of work, to adapt to a new way of work and a new kind of worker.

Closing the meeting was guest speaker, José Natanson, and his presentation on ‘Latin America Creaks: Regional political and economic situation in times of pandemic.’ José discussed the political and economic situation in the region and its impact and, in some cases, the irreversible changes that the years of the pandemic will leave.

Stephen Hamlet added: “It’s been such a pleasure to be part of this Ibero-America Meeting. It’s incredible to see just how much work our members put into our network, with so much heart and dedication. Although the investment our members give to Russell Bedford can sometimes take me by surprise, it’s quite obvious why they do - it works! We’re a global network; and without each other, we would have much less impact. I’m a strong believer in the idea that the more you put in, the more you get out; and I can see why our LATAM region has become so successful. They’re putting in a lot! Joining with Spain and Portugal, becoming Ibero-America, can only lead to even greater success.”

He added: “I’m very proud of our member firms in LATAM, one of our strongest regions in terms of solidarity, togetherness and promotion of our brand; and one that continues to go from strength to strength. I congratulate our board members, Javier and Daniel, for their continued dedication to the development of the region; and for delivering an exceptional meeting which demonstrated some outstanding ongoing projects and initiatives. A very big well done to all!”

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