RSM has recently opened its premier office in Europe’s youngest country, Kosovo. RSM Kosovo Sh.p.k is headed up byVisar Morina. The new firm, based out of the Kosovan capital, Pristina, is comprised of three partners, three managers and seven staff.  Here Mr Morina speaks about joining RSM - the 6th largest global audit, tax and consulting network. 

Can you tell us about your venture? How did the idea for your business come about?

We’re tax and audit consultants who have been working together as a team for 15 years. The idea of starting a new firm and becoming part of a larger, global network had been at the forefront of our minds for several years but, for one reason or another, the circumstances were never right or the timings were off. 

Last year, we decided it was time to move forward with our plan. We established RSM Kosovo Sh.p.k with the knowledge that by combining our local expertise with the experience and support of the global network, the benefits would be two-fold. Firstly, it would help the sustainable and rapid growth of our firm and, secondly and more broadly, raise awareness of the RSM brand in the region. 

How did you find the transition from a large corporate environment to a start-up environment?

Admittedly, moving from what was effectively a start-up, albeit with an established and well-functioning corporate governance structure, to part of a global brand was challenging. We had to set up new processes and systems from scratch – creating a new governance structure, understanding the different reporting lines and associated timings and obtaining alternate audit licenses. 

It was a tough process, but the ongoing support we received from RSM International’s Executive Office was invaluable throughout.

What are you plans for the business in the next five years and how do you see RSM helping you achieve your goals? What do you think your firm brings to the network?

With the support of the wider network we believe we will be able to build and expand the range of services we offer, increase our client portfolio and achieve our aim of being the market leading accounting firm. It’s a very exciting time for us. 

We believe that team work, collaboration and trust are the three main pillars of success in any business, regardless of whether you are operating as an individual firm or within a network. We plan to follow this strategy as active participants in the RSM network; and focus on establishing the brand and expanding it in our region.  

Kosovo is a young country with a very international community, so there is a great deal of opportunity for offering professional expertise across a wide array of sectors. RSM is one of the largest global audit, tax and consulting networks in the world, and it was only a matter of time before it brought its services to the expanding middle-market here in Kosovo.   

What are the benefits of doing business in Kosovo?

Kosovo is a young country with a very international community, so there is a great deal of opportunity for offering professional expertise across a wide array of sectors. 

There are significant benefits to doing business in Kosovo. Firstly, Kosovo’s economy has been one of only four countries in Europe that recorded positive growth rates in every year since the GFC, with an average growth rate of 3.5 percent per annum. Looking forward, Kosovo is a potential candidate for EU membership, and with the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) this integration process has been accelerated. Once this comes to fruition, it will have an immense impact on Kosovo’s economy, bringing new possibilities and opening new markets for local businesses. 

Business processes in Kosovo are straightforward as it is fully compliant with EU legislation, it has a favourable tax system compared to its neighbours, and its currency is the Euro. Kosovo’s workforce is young (seven out of ten Kosovars are under 35), qualified and multilingual. There are potential opportunities in all sectors of the economy but particularly in energy and mining, agriculture, textiles and IT. It even has a blossoming wine industry!

What are the challenges for businesses based in or working across Kosovo and how can you help?

As a young economy with a relatively underdeveloped enterprise sector, there are challenges that businesses must overcome. Sourcing adequate funding is the primary obstacle. Many businesses are lacking in proper governance structure, financial information management and financial reporting. This is where we can make our contribution: we are committed to helping our clients improve their financial information management, adding credibility to their financial reporting processes and helping them maximise their potential.

This interview was covered on the International Accounting Bulletin website.