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Ensuring the easy use of services is at the core of the cooperation

The financial administration sector is burdened by more and more responsibilities. By engaging in close cooperation, public and private actors are working to ensure that companies and accounting firms can have a say already when matters are being prepared. This enhances mutual understanding and makes the services easier to use.

The Association of Finnish Accounting Firms is a major independent actor supervising the interests of its sector and acting as a provider of training and development services. It is therefore also a key partner of the public sector. Representatives of the association are involved in a wide variety of different activities at different levels. This helps to ensure that the needs of the sector are considered in such matters as the drafting of guidelines for the national application of EU directives.

“It is important that we have contacts with a wide range of actors at different levels. This gives real influence to us as the people who do the practical work,” explains Jari Seppä, Managing Director of the Association of Finnish Accounting Firms.

Jari Sep­pä, Ma­na­ging Di­rec­tor and Mira Me­ri­kan­to, Se­nior Ex­pert on ac­coun­ting mat­ters

Accounting firms expect to see the overall benefits in their own work

The Association of Finnish Accounting Firms and the PRH have been cooperating closely in trade register matters for many years and digitalisation has given a new impetus to the cooperation.

Seppä mentions digital financial statements as one example of successful proactive cooperation.

With the jointly implemented iXBRL interface, financial statements can be directly delivered from the financial administration systems to the Trade Register and from there automatically to the Finnish Tax Administration. All information is presented in accordance with relevant standards and classifications. This reduces the risk of errors, facilitates the work and also makes the information more comparable internationally. Read more about the iXBRL interface at link in a new tab

“When digitalisation is promoted, it is often forgotten that there are many interfaces between systems, and the value creation processes of individual actors are not viewed from an overall perspective”, Seppä says.

“The people doing the work should see the benefits more clearly in their own work. This would encourage them to seize the opportunities. Unfortunately, in the absence of legislation, it is often difficult to introduce major reforms.”

Access to advisory services must be ensured

Even though the basics of financial administration can be digitalised, Seppä is convinced that the demand for advisory services in the sector will increase significantly and the range of issues that the actors would like to know about is expanding all the time. The Association of Finnish Accounting Firms also receives about 1,400 inquiries from its members each year.

According to Mira Merikanto, Senior Expert on accounting matters in the association, some of the questions are such that they have to be discussed in groups and with partners.

“The PRH is an excellent source of help in trade register matters, which greatly facilitates our work. The new Trade Register Act also provides the PRH with more effective tools to ensure that the data kept in the register is up to date. This should be the starting point.”

We must be prepared to tackle issues where both parties can work together to achieve improvements

The Association of Finnish Accounting Firms is an active participant in the Real-Time Economy project coordinated by the PRH.

According to Seppä, significant progress has been achieved in the project in many areas, such as digital invoicing.

“However, putting the projects into practice takes time because there are major differences in digital capabilities between municipalities, for example. We have plenty of work to do. To make things work as smoothly as possible at practical level, we need a broad dialogue and cooperation, ability to identify development priorities and the determination to tackle challenges.”

Association of Finnish Accounting Firms

  • Independent supervisor of the sector’s interests and a provider of training and development services.
  • The association was founded in 1968 to enhance the competence of Finnish accounting firms and to provide the sector with qualification training.
  • The association has 600 authorised companies as members, which employ more than 11,000 professionals.
  • The member companies of the association account for three quarters of the turnover in the sector in Finland.

Original text in Finnish: Marjo Rautvuori
Photos: Nina Kaverinen, Association of Finnish Accounting Firms