In business, collaboration between businesses and organizations offers a wealth of resources that can help both parties increase their competitiveness and success. This is why the signing of this cooperation agreement is a promising step for the Hungarian Road Haulage Association and ICT Europe, a group of companies providing accounting, bookkeeping, tax and legal services.
We ask István Gál, Managing Director of MKFE Szolgáltató Kft. and Gábor Gulyás, Head of ICT Europa Group, about their ideas for the agreement.
István Gál, CEO of MKFE
Why did you think it was important to start the cooperation with ICT Europe Group?
István Gál: At MKFE, we would definitely like to focus on much more effective communication compared to the previous practice. We try to provide our members with development opportunities that can serve as innovations in their activities. This includes offering a service that, among other things, ensures that our members' profits are maximized.
Of course, it is important that our partner has the right experience, we need to ensure professional excellence for our members. In particular, for activities that they cannot devote sufficient time to in addition to their other activities. With ICT Europe, we do not want to help in the field of transport, but rather to present new solutions in the fields of finance, taxation and economics. All of these will provide extra resources and opportunities in their daily work, for the long-term success of running a business. This is what ICT Europe can do, and this is a great opportunity that MKFE has seen, and this is what we offer to our members.
The secret of a good partnership is based on a shared set of values. What do the two organizations have in common?
G.I.: MKFE has the same values that we have experienced with ICT Europe. Similar ideas have increasingly led the discussion in the direction that we have something to offer each other. Among the similarities, I would like to mention transparency, multiple channels of communication, the need for development and, once again, high professional standards. Not to mention the fact that we can enrich our domestic cooperation. It's exciting to work with and learn from our foreign partners, but even more exciting that this time a Hungarian-owned company and an Association with thousands of members are joining forces. We are very positive about this challenge.
Accounting, payroll, tax, legal and audit services are available through their partner offices. How much consideration was given to the complexity of ICT Europe's services?
G.I.: Complexity was obviously a consideration. I would rather say that complexity is also a demand from our members. Our members range from one car owners to businesses with hundreds of cars in many different economic forms. So the need for complexity is not an issue, as everyone has different needs. We have indicated to ICT Europe that as many members as there are needs, and they have been able to offer options and solutions to all types of questions.
What tangible benefits could MKFE members possibly gain from this cooperation?
G.I.: I think that we can bring a number of benefits to our members from joint cooperation. Take for example the tax due diligence service! It provides a cost reduction for the company, with tangible benefits for all. ICT also offers its members free participation in various professional events, and in addition, simply by being a member of MKFE, they receive discounts from our partners at certain times. Most recently, this included a free 1-hour professional consultation on a topic of the member's choice.
How does the Managing Director see the accounting, tax and legal areas of specialization in the transport sector? Does the membership come to you with such questions? Are there recurring topics?
G.I.: Yes, there are recurring topics. On the one hand, we keep our members up to date through our website when there is a change in the transport sector, even in the legal field, but there are also changes whose possible outcome we do not know 100%. Transport is a specialized field, issues in various areas will continue to arise in the future, be it with payroll, tax benefits or even the benefits of the mobility package that is upon us, such as the minimum wage.
What do you expect from the cooperation with MKFE?
Gábor Gulyás: Our aim is to get to know each other's work and find common ground where we can work together.
Each industry has its own specificities, or rather we call them opportunities, challenges that companies face every day. Our team has a wide range of expertise and specialized knowledge in accounting, tax or even legal areas to support the day-to-day operations of these businesses. This is particularly true for transport and haulage companies. They often operate with an externally financed fleet of assets, such as trucks financed by open-end finance leases, which gives the companies more tax optimization opportunities, but often they do not take advantage of this.
As a result of our cooperation with MKFE, I expect that we will be able to get to know each other in the industry and to respond to their problems, concerns and specific questions with fast and efficient advice.
In exactly which areas can MKFE members turn to you?
G.G.: We are consciously building our services year by year, constantly expanding the number of our experts. We now have a very wide range of services and I can confidently say that MKFE members can turn to us for any tax, accounting or financial question. This is certainly why we managed to reach an agreement with István Gál, our services manager, quickly after we met.
The factual answer to your question is that we can support companies in the field of administrative services in the following areas: full accounting, payroll, tax consulting (with a focus on tax risk identification and legal tax optimization), auditing and company law services. And in the field of consultancy services, almost everything related to these areas: company structure consulting, generation change, due diligence, acquisition preparation support on the buyer/seller side, full support for restructuring, accounting and tax risk identification, business planning, financial and organizational process analysis, labour law, controlling, training (accounting, tax), payroll consulting, VAT reclaims, bad debts, and many more.
Why do you think it is important for transport companies to work with a quality accounting, tax and legal service provider?
G.G.: Over the years we have worked and are currently working with several players in the industry. What we have found, as in other sectors, is that above a certain size of company, there is simply a constant loss of money, which puts a company at a competitive disadvantage if it does not build a solid base of knowledgeable and readily available advisors. ICT Europe, with its 130 staff, could be such a source of consultancy support.
We can support our existing and prospective clients with a level and breadth of expertise and detailed advice that often results in tax revenue retained by the business. Our clear and straightforward communication gives these companies a sense of comfort that allows them to really focus on their day-to-day business and to be confident that their business is in stable hands behind the scenes.
Can you help MKFE members with international accounting and tax issues?
G.G.: Of course we can. Although we are a wholly Hungarian-owned group of companies, our business partners are constantly involved in the day-to-day operations, but since 2020 we have been part of the international advisory network of Russell Bedford International. At international level, this means that we can support our partners who have international accounting, tax or legal issues in a particular country with our expertise in more than 100 countries and 350 offices.
Furthermore, in January 2022, the ICT Europe Group opened an independent office in the United States of America, which, together with the Hungarian operation, will assist business leaders and owners who are considering entering the US market or already have a presence in the US. We now offer the same services in the US that we do here in the UK.
Will you address the MKFE membership during the year?
G.G.: We started our cooperation precisely to be able to communicate in a targeted way with MKFE members. This year - even before the interview - we had two very successful online events, with more than 40 MKFE members participating. The topics were labour law and payroll, as well as efficient accounting processes and a stress-free year-end. From the feedback we have received, we have succeeded in delivering information that will benefit businesses in the future.
Exciting webinars are expected in the second half of the year. In the autumn, for example, we will be holding an event on company structure, where we will be explaining why and how it is important for business leaders and owners to plan for the future, in the context of asset security, generational change and tax advantages.
We are also preparing to present what's new on sector-specific topics, as well as to offer special discounts and even participate in MKFE events and provide useful, practical suggestions for companies. Of course, we are also open to enquiries from MKFE's membership, and I would like to express our confidence in you.