The event began with a discussion panel titled “The CFO’s fine balance between today and tomorrow”. The discussion moderator was Christos Balaskas, General Manager of EPA Attikis (Natural Gas Distribution Company) and participants were the following:
- Vassilis Andrikopoulos, Finance Director Greece & South Europe, Diageo
- Dimitrios Delonas, CFO, Nireus Group
- Vicky D. Kefala, Head Project Finance, Aktor Concessions
- Christos Papalabros, Finance - Administration Director, SAP Hellas
During the discussion, participants discussed the difficulties faced by the Greek business environment due to the major difficulties of financing businesses and increasing taxation, and reached the conclusion that the CFO has become the link between business strategy and execution.
Therefore, the role of the CFO is to cooperate effectively with other departments and external entities, and not just to be limited to financial reports.
The next speaker at the event, Thomas Oestreich, Chief EPM Strategist at Oracle IBU analyzed the very important issue of operational strategy in his presentation titled "Leveraging the Management Excellence Framework".
Mr. Oestreich mentioned that investment in technology is necessary to support the growing needs of businesses on all levels. He also went on to highlight that a company’s success at an administrative and operational level depends on effective cost and quality management, and speed in day-to-day operations, wit, determination and consistency among top executives.
The next session titled "Debt Restructuring in today's economic environment" began with a presentation by Dr. Nikolaos Angelopoulos, Executive Board Director at Antenna Group and ended with a presentation by Emmanuel Skourtis, Director and Head of the Restructuring and Accounting Advisory Services at KPMG in Greece.
Both speakers stressed that progress toward a company’s healthy balance sheet passes first through the company itself. Therefore, before any debt restructuring occurs, the entrepreneur needs to look internally, for the hidden opportunities in obtaining capital, then reduce costs and concentrate on collections.
Only if the company cannot deal with its debt after those steps, should negotiations with banks occur.
"The new tax landscape and implications following the amendments of the past 12-month period: risks and opportunities" was the subject of the next discussion moderated by KPMG Tax Partner Ioannis Achilas.
The following speakers participated:
- Thanasis Hadjinicolaou, Financial Controller, Bank of Cyprus
- Lefteris Trechas, Manager Accounting, Papastratos
- Christos Yannopoulos, Business Consultant, President of the Institute of Economic & Fiscal Studies (IOFOM), Honorary Director General Ministry of Finance Tax Inspection
Participants stressed that the continuous changes in the tax landscape create difficulties and uncertainty about the future. This climate must change, and the state needs to create a positive atmosphere in Greece, with targeted and smart tax checks and strict fines for offenders.
Finally, they agreed that the tax certificate, that is being promoted as a new measure is a step in the right direction.
The event closed with a discussion panel titled "Managing cash flow in turbulent times" moderated by KPMG Audit Partner, Harry Sirounis. The following were participants in the discussion:
- Dimitris Babiris, Chief Financial Officer, FBB-First Business Bank
- Gregoris D.Dikaios, Finance Director Greek Region, TITAN Cement Company
- Christina Papandreou, General Financial Director, Sklavenitis
The participants demonstrated the changes in the behavior of companies with regards to the tighter management of their cash flows, and the redefinition of their relationships with creditors and suppliers. At the same time, they stressed the the importance of cash flow for the achievement of strategic business goals, since during crises periods it is not profitability that counts so much – as much as the proper management of cash does.