Members of the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants (CISPA) gathered recently for both lunch and business at the Ritz-Carlton as the leadership baton was passed from outgoing President Mike Mannisto to his successor John Ferrari.
Mr Mannisto, who took office a year ago, presided over one of the organization’s most-active periods in its 38-year history. Under Mr Mannisto’s tenure, the organization (which is the largest professional society in the Cayman Islands) became known informally as the “New CISPA”.
Along with the new name came new initiatives and responsibilities, which Mr Mannisto outlined in his keynote address. Certain selected highlights included:
Increased Regulatory Responsibilities: On Wednesday, 2 January the Public Accountants Law and its associated Regulations came into effect, inaugurating a new era of regulatory oversight of the accounting profession on the Island. Under this regime, CISPA took on the responsibility of licensing accounting practitioners in the Cayman Islands.
Broader Global Relationships: CISPA has recently been accepted as an Associate Member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). This affiliation, spearheaded by retiring Council member Mike Pilling, enhances CISPA’s reputation in the international community as a respected professional association and regulatory organization.
Education and Training: CISPA members were offered a number of training opportunities in 2007. In addition, CISPA has continued to strengthen its ties with the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI). CISPA is proud to be one of the University’s “Partners in Education” and participates in numerous initiatives at UCCI, some of which include assisting UCCI in work internship placements, doing classroom presentations, and participating in a student mentoring programme. CISPA is currently exploring ways in which it also can work more closely with the International College of the Cayman Islands.
In his remarks, incoming President John Ferrari recognized that the accounting profession in Cayman “has seen more change and, unfortunately, more volatility in the last year than could have ever been anticipated”.
He pointed, in particular, to the impact of the sub-prime industry on the financial condition of major banks and the “ripple effect it has had on all walks of life including activities here in the Cayman Islands”.
“We also need to recognize that we are an important part of a global financial services industry and consequently, the demand for talented and seasoned professionals will continue to outstrip supply,” he said.
Mr Ferrari vowed to continue the efforts begun by his predecessor in building the “New CISPA” and encouraged his membership “to dedicate the time, resources, and effort” necessary to participate in initiatives that will position CISPA in the forefront of professional organizations and the Cayman Islands at the front of international financial centres.