Conclusions of the Session 2022

Business resilience can be defined as an organization’s ability to adapt to disruptions while maintaining business continuity and protecting human capital, assets and brand value. The COVID-19 pandemic, as a global risk and challenge, has brought changed business conditions at the world level, so business resilience should include not only the recovery of organizations from disruptions, but also finding new strategies that will enable business operations to be maintained in the event of new earthquakes. Consequently, the importance of all elements of business resilience for the modern functioning of organizations throughout the world cannot be overlooked.

In accordance with the theme of the conference, the conclusions of the Plenary Session were:

  • State authorities, in cooperation with NALED, take steps leading to the suppression of the gray economy in the Republic of Serbia;
  • Changed business conditions result in changes in regulations in the field of accounting, auditing and valuation, which further implies continuous education of experts in these fields;
  • Sustainable business in accordance with the mission is the focus of socially responsible companies;
  • The results of ACFE Global indicate that corruption is still the most present in all countries regardless of development, and in all industrial branches.

The digital transformation of society has developed new forms of payment, fund transfer and realization of financial transactions. Criminal groups use financial technologies to commit crimes in the economy, extortion, money laundering and finance their criminal activities. Investigations in the world of digitization are becoming more and more complex, so it is expected that digital financial forensics will necessarily be a new discipline in the forensic oeuvre. This also requires a specific attitude of the financial forensic scientist towards professional skepticism. Accordingly, the conclusions of the session Digitization and financial forensics in a changing world are:

1) Vladimir Grabulov, CFE, KPMG emphasized the importance of professional skepticism for both external auditors and auditors involved in financial investigations. Due to the presence of the materiality principle, external auditors are often unable to detect fraud while the forensic auditor does not use the materiality principle, but for him every fraudulent transaction is materially significant. Also, the importance of proactive investigations compared to reactive ones was emphasized, especially for large companies or sensitive activities. Also, Vladimir Grabulov referred to the fact that in the countries of the Western Balkans, proactive investigations are very rare, and reactions are always taken only when there is a well-founded suspicion or an incident situation has already arisen.

2) Sanja Ugrčić Pavlović ECD, Chief Compliance Officer, discussed the topic of using cryptocurrencies for fraud purposes, and emphasized that, when we talked about the % participation of such transactions, they are still rarely used to commit fraud, but that their participation is rapidly increasing. In the changing world, according to Sanja’s conclusions, there is no place for statements that crypto-currencies will disappear and that it is a dying technology, but on the contrary, it is a technology that will continue to be significantly used to perform financial transactions, both regular and which are linked to criminal acts of money laundering and property conversion, that is, corruption. In this sense, the importance of the KYC (Know Your Customer) process for everyone involved in cryptocurrency transactions is unavoidable.

3) Darko Šehović from the Association of Serbian Banks spoke about the importance of the financial CERT and the possibilities of protection against cybercrime in a world where cyber incidents have become a necessity. He explained why financial transactions are often targeted by criminal groups and how the connection of financial institutions through the Financial CERT can contribute to the prevention and faster detection of this form of criminal activity.

Due to the pandemic, geopolitical and environmental risks, the Fintech industry has had great challenges in relation to its business, and on the main question whether it is a turnaround or a respite, the panelists of the Fintech in a changing world session agreed that it is a respite.

The conclusions of the session IT in specific and challenging situations in accounting would be:

  • IT significantly contributes to increasing the efficiency of employees in accounting;
  • the application of IT in accounting brings with it the dangers of fraud, abuse and damage to the subject itself;
  • only by strictly following the procedures related to IT can the risk of fraud, abuse and damage to the subject be reduced to a minimum;
  • it is necessary to constantly raise the awareness of employees in accounting regarding the importance of strict compliance with procedures related to the use of IT, to which this year’s conference FINIZ 2022 contributed significantly.

The session “Internal audit as a support in turbulent times” fully justified the expectations of the participants. It was understood that the title of the session is in fact what Internal Audit should represent and represents the true definition of added value in the business environment. The three topics, which were handled in a high-quality manner by the lecturers, were focused on risks and frauds and answered the questions of where the sources of risks and opportunities are, how internal auditors identify risks, perform risk analysis and assessment, solve risks and monitor and inform capital owners about recognized risks. Answers were given on what to do and how to create opportunities from recognized risks to manage them better and to control processes. In addition to the above, special attention is paid to the role of Internal Audit in risk management, if the Financial Management and Control (FMC) system has been implemented in the economic entity. Here it is really shown what support Internal Audit can be in risk management in business. As a logical consequence of all this, an answer was also given as to how much Internal Audit can contribute to the recognition of circumstances that can lead to fraud, that is, to the detection of fraud itself. The importance of IT internal audit and assurance that the Internal Controls in the applications used in the business entity are optimally and adequately set up to be able to timely indicate or detect fraud attempts is given special attention.

A total of 164 participants attended the session The importance of valuation of real estate from the aspect of professional regulation in the field of accounting and auditing, who followed the session in full and took part in the discussion and its implementation. Professor Piotr Luty gave an introduction to the issue of the reliability of the value of fixed assets, primarily real estate, shown in financial statements. The results of research conducted on companies from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Serbia indicate that there are illogicalities when it comes to the “natural” arrangement of numbers in real estate value figures. Potential explanations of the results were provided by the remaining interlocutors: Uroš Munjić, Nikola Gušić and Miroslav Višnjić. The main conclusions of the session are that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on both the property valuation process and the financial statement audit process.

The conclusion of the session Sustainable marketing strategy in the “new reality” is that current events in the global environment require new, flexible business models, understanding of new market demands and needs, adaptation to different habits in the decision-making process and purchasing products. It is important to emphasize the importance of digital transformation for the adaptation of all business processes in the digital environment, and as a response to current trends, business processes are created in online formats, the offer is personalized, internal and external communication is modified, etc. In certain industries, especially the automotive industry, an interesting trend of changing consumer behavior caused by technological factors has been noticed. New ways of using products, such as electric cars, put in focus a different role of marketing communication to first of all educate and inform consumers and only then to convince. After many years of global industry investment in digital channels – in 2021, the ratio of the budget for digital channels vs. of the budget for offline advertising was as much as 70% – 30% in favor of digital advertising; predictions indicate that this ratio should be 54% – 46% in 2023. The continuation of innovation and development in transformative technologies (artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, etc.) is certainly expected, which will enable the marketing industry to function successfully in new circumstances, using hybrid business models, sophisticated communication methods, a higher level of creativity and effective measurement of set goals.

The session Business resilience of human capital as a paradigm of the 21st century at this year’s FINIZ 2022 conference was dedicated to business resilience of human capital as a paradigm of the 21st century. Three lecturers with extensive practical experience described business resilience through the following topics:

  • Topic: “HRM and business resilience”,

Dr. Dragana Jocić, HR director, PHOENIX Group

  • Topic: “Agile HRM as support for employee resilience”

MSc Maja Relić, Head of HR Consulting, Management Center Belgrade,

  • Topic: “Agility and resilience in EY?”

Dr. Sonja Jovanovic, HR Associate Director, EY-CESA Organizational Development

The interactivity of the presentation, the audience’s questions and the applicability of the examples from practice justified the importance of business resilience for the development of human resources in a rapidly changing world.

At this year’s FINIZ 2022 conference, 17 papers were presented in the Scientific Papers session. Papers from the following fields were presented: accounting, internal audit, external audit, corporate management, evaluation and risk, business finance, banking, entrepreneurship, forensics, marketing and management, human resource management. Three papers were proposed for publication in The European Journal of Applied Economics (M51) under the accelerated procedure.

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