By Adebola Olubanjoof Adebola Sobanjo & Co. (Abuja, Nigeria).
It was a great privilege for me to be present at the first ever Joint Regional Meeting of BKR International for the Asia Pacific and EMEARegions. The meeting was held at the Hilton Hotel Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey, from Friday 2nd May to Monday 5th May, 2014.
The meeting was held in the historical and densely populated city of Istanbul in the Republic of Turkey. The choice of Istanbul contributed to the uniqueness of the meeting and gave me a life time opportunity to visit historical sites in the only city in the world where the two continents of Europe and Asia are peacefully and uniquely located as one territory in a city. It is a great beauty to behold the two continents in one city while standing or sitting on a boat in Bosphorus.
Prior to the Istanbul meeting, the only BKR meeting I had attended was a sub-regional meeting in Stellenbosch, in the Federal Republic of South Africa. As a result, my expectation was very high but my experience of BKR meetings was very little. It is with great satisfaction and sense of responsibility that I am stating that my expectations were exceeded and I did not want the meeting to end. I could have asked for three tabernacles to be built in Istanbul, one each for the Stephens – Stephen Roger (Sydney)
and Stephen Hamlet(London) and the other one for the ever smiling, friendly and hardworking Maureen Schwartz (New York), the Executive Director at the Worldwide office of BKR. The lady and the two men worked hard to ensure the huge success achieved at the meeting.
How can I forget the three “musketeers” made up again of two men and a lady who were saddled with great professional responsibilities.
The ladies in BKR are unique and a delight at all times. One of them is Nilar Chan (Hong Kong) who is the chair of Asia Pacific Region. Her presentation at the Business meeting was sharp and precise.
Mention must also go to Lien Le (Houston) who presented the International Tax Committee report on the Monday morning and Jason Tonjes (Omaha) for presenting his Americas Chairman report.
Additionally, a highlight was a most entertaining presentation by Jason Croston (Brisbane) and Peter Janssen (Roermond) on the 12 Critical Changes to the Accounting Profession.
The method of teaching was one special aspect of the meeting. All the attendees were divided into three groups and there was time to interact, discuss and share experiences under the co-ordination of two well selected and experienced members. Confidence was built in me after going through the marketing and staff retention sessions of the meeting.
One document that I received at the meeting has been a companion since I received it in Istanbul. I have never seen such a document before. It is the Cross-regional Statistical Analysis for the Asia Pacific/EMEA Region. I was amazed to see the analysis for each firm from different countries and regions. This document has spurred me to action in our firm. I could see that it is the best way to benchmark our firm using various metrics.
I remember Les Nutter (Manchester) who has become my friend and Grant Allsopp (Sydney) as they brilliantly presented the analysis and gave gifts to some firms. These two gentlemen were very passionate about the analysis. I respect their commitment and brilliance. Thanks dear brothers. I will use this document to see that in the next analysis our firm is included and that there is improvement in our statistics compared to when we joined BKR. Perhaps, I need to let you know that we joined in February 2014. I have gained so much within this short time by attending the meeting in Istanbul and Stellenbosch.
I was pleasantly surprised when a certificate was presented to our company, Adebola Sobanjo and Company, in Istanbul. I have gladly presented the certificate to my team. There was joy and hope was high in our firm after reporting about the Istanbul meeting and the presentation of the certificate.
Equally, it was impressive to see BKR adding a new Chinese member to the association; this time in Chengdu.
On the social aspect of the meeting you cannot believe the level of satisfaction I derived from varied social events. The tours were well coordinated and the sites well chosen. I went with the group to the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. At the palace I purchased a book that many people have been asking me to allow them read. I am pleased with the book which relates to sites in the Bible that are in Turkey. My wife has taken the book away from me which makes me feel perhaps, I should have bought two or more copies, but I was thinking of excess luggage.
The Gala Dinner was another social event of great value. There was good food and music. I was not expecting the skills displayed by my colleagues when it came to the dancing time. People danced and demonstrated their skills. I was only a spectator because I don’t know how to dance but I enjoyed watching men and women display their skills in dancing. Sometimes, I was thinking of the ladies if it is possible for them to fall as they turn around, swinging their body, bending and turning. Nobody fell and the evening was enjoyable.
(ii) Networking – I have friends from various parts of the world now. Some of them have sent me mails after the meeting.
(iii) Fun – Social events
(iv) Benchmark for firm – Use of statistical Analysis
(v) Closer Relationship with BKR – I have known the Executive Directors, Chairmen, Presenters, etc.
(vi) Knowledge Enhancement – Various opportunities were presented throughout the meetings.
(vii) Opportunity to be part of a winning team – BKR membership is a winning opportunity
I write this piece with excitement, joy, confidence and hope of a better future for me, my firm, BKR International and its members.
Additionally, many thanks go to our hosts, Hakan and Kursat Sahin of Isik Yeminli Mali Musavirlik ve Bagimsiz Denetim A.S and our official photographer throughout – Michael Walker(Sydney).
All presentations from the meeting can be found in the Members Area: HERE
Photos can be located on the Worldwide site: HERE