Following the webinar Small and Medium-Sized Practices Rising to Coronavirus Challenge on 29 May 2020, the EU and WB joint Georgia Financial Inclusion and Accountability Project, with support from SARAS and the Georgian professional accountancy organizations (PAOs), conducted a survey of small and medium-sized practices (SMPs) to assess the impact and implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the market for audit services in Georgia. On 11 August 2020 the report, Survey of Auditors and Audit Firms on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Market for Audit Services in Georgia, was published. This report recommended the launch of the ‘SMP Capacity Building Training Webinar Series’, a set of online training modules to help build the capacity of SMPs in Georgia.

SMP Capacity Building Training Webinar Series  Module 4 – Networks, Mergers and Acquisitions

The webinar series, led by Paul Thompson, Director, European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs (EFAA) and a World Bank consultant, started with three core modules. In Module 1 - Future of SMPs: Lessons from the Crisis and Practice Transformation participants were advised that the coronavirus crisis had intensified the need for SMPs to transform their practices to survive and succeed and were shown how to make this transformation using IFAC’s ‘Practice Transformation Action Plan’ as a guide. In Module 2 - Future of SMPs: Digital Transformation participants were encouraged to embrace digital transformation and shown how to make a start. In Module 3 - The Future of SMEs: Diversifying Businesses by Offering New Services participants learned what possible services to offer, including business advisory, and the step-by-step approach to building the capacity to promote, deliver and profit from these new service offerings.  

In the Module 4 – The Future of SMEs: Networks, Mergers and Acquisition, Paul Thompson and the guest presenter Antoni Gomez, International Chair of Auren,  discussed the use of networks, associations, mergers, and acquisitions to facilitate growth of a small practice and how to plan for succession. Participants learnt about available resources  to help them including Module 2: Practice Models, Associations and Networks of IFAC’s Guide to Practice Management for SMPs.

As the content is relevant and useful to SMPs operating across the region, representatives of SMPs from STAREP countries apart from Georgina, that is Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine also attended the event.

136 participants attended the event.