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PKF Global Gathering 2023

2023-11-03

Over 400 friends and colleagues reunited in Porto from 23 to 27 October 2023 for our annual flagship event, our Global Gathering. With 85 inspiring sessions, five fun-fuelled dinners, four sightseeing tours and countless collaborative conversations, it was surely our biggest and best event yet.

Assurance, Tax and Corporate Finance

The conference kicked off with a technical day which saw our various service lines hosting tailored sessions. Assurance highlights included an engaging workshop helping firms prepare for the first annual evaluation under ISQM 1 and thought-provoking presentations on the role AI and data play in delivering quality engagements. Our Tax colleagues focussed on advancing our strategic pillars (internationally mobile employees, tax structuring, transfer pricing and indirect taxes) and discussing current legal hot topics. The Corporate Finance sessions were well received by all and identified a clear path forward to advance the Corporate Finance working group and initiatives.

Event highlights

One of the week’s standout sessions was keynote speaker Richard Newman’s Science of Storytelling. This unforgettable, high-energy and practical masterclass saw Richard reveal the essential elements that all business stories must include to effectively engage an audience. His follow-up workshop allowed delegates to further develop their communication skills, paving the way for deeper connections with colleagues, stakeholders and clients.

Guest speaker Tom Hood delivered a memorable presentation on the Fast Future, exploring the fast-changing competitive landscape of the global accounting profession. During this collaborative session, delegates brainstormed their vision of the firm of the future. Ideas included the importance of embracing change and being quick to adapt, integrating AI and other new technologies into our processes and adopting a mindset of collective growth, all underpinned by an unwavering commitment to our clients and teams.

The Tax team enjoyed a team-building session like no other; delegates were encouraged to tap into their creative side with a charity toy making challenge. The end result was a room full of customised bikes and rocking horses to be donated to local charity Casa do Caminho and a host of reinvigorated tax colleagues.

Event partners

We were delighted to welcome nine event partners to this year’s Global Gathering. Thank you to Beeye, Caseware, G-P, Makosi, SAPRO, Silverfin, UpSlide, Valutico and Xero for joining us, presenting to our members and sharing their insights.

Be the change

At PKF, we are passionate about bringing about positive change to our people and communities. In line with our other global events this year, we replaced delegate gift bags at the Global Gathering with a donation to a local charity and are proud to have raised €12,000 for Operação Nariz Vermelho (Operation Red Nose), a programme which sees ‘clown doctors’ bringing joy and laughter to children in Portuguese paediatric wards. What’s more, several member firms have followed suit at their own events and now favour donations to local charities over delegate gift bags. It is wonderful to see our members embracing one of our core behaviours to ‘be the change’.

Delegate feedback

It’s been a pleasure to receive so much positive feedback during and after the event. The resounding message was how much everyone enjoyed reconnecting with friends and colleagues, old and new.

Natalie Moore, a director in PKF Littlejohn’s Business Outsourcing team, said, ‘This was my first PKF Global Gathering. I didn't know what to expect but it surpassed all my expectations. It was great to meet so many people and build my relationships with both current colleagues and new acquaintances. There were some really insightful sessions throughout the week, and the evening events were fantastic!’

José de Sousa Santos, Managing Partner at PKF Portugal, said, ‘PKF Portugal has been part of the PKF family for over 20 years and saw at this event that all our daily efforts and commitment to our work are worth it. It was an extraordinary event, marked by professionalism, by the relevance of the topics and by everyone's good energy.’

Theo Vermaak, PKF Global’s CEO, said, ‘What a week! Exhilarating, exhausting and inspirational! From thought-provoking discussions to epic social events in true PKF style, this was undoubtedly one of our best events yet. Our members are excited and passionate about the future we are building together. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who told me that what we say about PKF being a family is true and that you have to experience it to really believe it. We are indeed a global network built by and for people. We will build on these insights in our 2024 strategy and continue the conversation at our regional events and, of course, at our next Global Gathering in Seoul.’

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2023 event and made it such a success. We look forward to announcing further details about the PKF Global Gathering 2024 in Seoul.

A final word of thanks

We are very grateful to José de Sousa Santos, Tiago Rocha and everyone at PKF Portugal for their huge support in putting this event together and welcoming their PKF Global family so warmly to Porto. Read more about our hosts and the services they offer here.

Are you looking to join a network that celebrates individual brilliance and the power of collaboration? Find out more about the benefits of becoming a PKF Global member firm here.

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