President, The Slovak Association of Finance and Treasury (Slovenská asociácia podnikových finančníkov – SAF)
The Slovak Association of Finance and Treasury (SAF) was established in 1996 as the first CEE treasury association. The initial driver for establishing the association was the acquisition by the French company Rhône-Poulenc of a Slovak company Chemlon Humenne, and following the French AFTE model we established the SAF. At that time, company treasurers were not specifically identified by that title, so the SAF was established as an association of people who worked in corporate finance.
Since its establishment the SAF has been committed to strengthening professional standards and generally to assisting in improving the status and authority of treasurers in Slovak companies. It has also created the opportunity for exchanging information among professionals, and through its technical committees has influenced the Slovak legislative process using official contacts with the Ministries of Finance, Economy and Justice, Parliament and the tax authority. From the beginning the association focused its interest much more widely than solely on treasury topics. Because of the changing economic environment, we are concerned with all activities which have an impact on corporate finance including financing, accounting, corporate tax, VAT and treasury. As a result of the significant interest from international investors in acquiring Slovak companies, the government has carried out a broad economic reform programme: accounting reform in 2004 and later tax reform, known as a ‘flat tax’ (corporate tax and VAT). Together with the SAF, I personally worked very closely with the Ministry of Finance as a member of the steering committee.