Bled, 10 November – The first meeting of Slovenian accountants, taking place in Bled, looked on Thursday at the absence of standardisation in the profession in Slovenia, which has given it a bad reputation. Participants also noted a major lack of qualified professionals.
The CEO of accounting service firm Unija, Miran Pikovik, stressed at a panel debate that no legislative standards exist for who can exercise the profession, which “needs to be changed urgently, primarily by introducing compulsory training”.
Marko Hočevar, Ljubljana Faculty of Economics professor, pointed to the workforce shortage, saying “Slovenia needs 500 new accountants each year, while slightly over 100 students finish a programme related to this field a year”.
Mojca Kunšek, the director of the AJPES agency for public records, concurred, saying the education system and the sector were not sufficiently connected. She also spoke of an excessive number of legislative changes in Slovenia, which make it hard for small accounting firms to keep up.
Another issue highlighted by Kunšek is the absence of oversight over the work of accounting services. “We get dozens of requests each year for the reintroduction of a type of the former State Accounting Service, which used to monitor accounting systems.”
The head of the Chamber of Accounting Services, Aleksander Štefanac, and Mitja Repše from PharmaLinea also highlighted the problem of people playing the system.
“The problem is the Slovenian mentality, as we admire individuals who have an expensive car with Slovak plates, drive it on well-maintained motorways, take their children to free school and benefit from free healthcare, while failing to properly pay for this,” Repše said, calling for tighter controls of tax evaders.
The Financial Administration is not able to conduct this control as it has its own legal and operational limits, the administration’s deputy director Peter Jenko said in response.
Štefanac proposed a white list of good accounting services as a solution, so that clients can identify good partners. Moreover, “accounting services will have to turn down the occasional dishonest individual”.
Other topics on the agenda of the meeting, which will conclude on Friday, include new legislation, reporting systems, business security and trends in the Slovenian and global economy. Participants will also exchange views on digitalisation, the transition to a modern accounting society and other topical challenges.
You can watch the recording of the panel HERE.