MSI awareness month

September 2014 saw the inaugural MSI month, a series of events and seminars designed to raise awareness of the MSI alliance - a global network of advisory firms of which Armstrong Watson is a member.

MSI is an international association of over 250 legal and accounting firms based in more than 100 countries. MSI member firms specialise in providing advisory and compliance solutions to individuals and small and medium sized businesses, wherever in the world they are based.

Although Armstrong Watson have been helping our clients with overseas issues through their membership of the MSI alliance for a number of years, a surprising number of clients and staff still don't know what MSI is or, more importantly, how it can help.

It was therefore timely when Pauline Rottstock, head of marketing and business development at MSI, announced at the 2014 European conference in Vienna that September would see the first annual MSI month, and that all member firms were encouraged to take part.

As a firm believer that the international marketplace represents a key opportunity for growth for a large number of our clients, as well as being strategically important for Armstrong Watson, I was keen to seize the initiative and, in early September I embarked on a nationwide (well, Northernwide) tour of the Armstrong Watson offices.

Day one started in Kendal, where I was delighted to hear of the excellent work being undertaken across the Kendal and Penrith offices by Tax Director, Helen Thornley, who has developed an exciting niche advising individuals and companies with international residency issues. After traversing the A roads of Cumbria, the day concluded in Dumfries, where talk was dominated by the then imminent Scottish independence referendum and the international issues and opportunities that would exist for Scotland based businesses post-referendum, irrespective of the outcome.

Day two commenced in Hexham, with tales of Spanish property issues, before a return to West Yorkshire, via Northallerton.

What was clear from speaking with colleagues across the firm, was that there is already a significant amount of work being done to advise our clients in respect of their international business needs and that this work is extremely broad in scope - from relatively prosaic debt collection issues, to more complex cross border tax advice. What was also apparent is that there is a real appetite to learn and to do more.

With that in mind, our Leeds office hosted the climax of Armstrong Watson's celebration of all things international - a seminar focussing on export and international tax issues. Titled 'Yorkshire to Yonder' and attended by local clients and business partners, the event included speakers from across the MSI network. Dirk Langner, from Frankfurt based legal and audit firm Moog, and Santiago Alio from Madrid firm Audalia, travelled to Yorkshire to present, while Russell Brown, managing partner of Beijing accountants Lehman Brown, appeared via video link.

With new MSI chief executive Timothy Wilson also in attendance, the event was a suitably international conclusion to a very international September for Armstrong Watson.

Matt Osbourne, Corporate Director

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