Jelena Knežević, Certified Auditor, Managing Director, Leitnerleitner

High Quality Services Are a Key Factor

In our business approach we use Austria as a best-practise example whenever possible in providing our services to clients, stresses Jelena Knežević, certified auditor and managing director at LeitnerLeitner, speaking for this CorD special edition

Jelena Knežević, Certified Auditor, Managing Director, Leitnerleitner, High Quality Services Are a Key Factor

LeitnerLeitner is one of the leading tax advisory and auditing firms in Central and Eastern Europe, which is increasingly being recognised in Serbia due to our professionalism and high quality of services. Our experts are passionate about finding feasible solutions for clients’ tax, audit and financial advisory issues.

We strongly consider that the outstanding technical skills of our team and the high quality of LeitnerLeitner services are key success factors in Serbia. Whether you are an SME or an international group, we never lose sight of our goal, which is to identify, coordinate, and realise optimisation potentials.

On the basis of experience to date, in which areas would you say that you have had the most activities/requests for engagement?

– We have very diverse requests for engagements, ranging from ongoing accounting and tax compliance to more complex due diligence projects and tax and financial advisory services for greenfield investments. It is of crucial importance for us to listen to the needs of clients in order to provide tailor-made services. The market for consulting services is undergoing significant changes, requesting a faster response, the adoption of high-tech solutions and the provision of a wide range of services that require that we think outside the box.

Your home office is in Austria, but you cover the entire CEE Region. Do the needs of these countries differ?

– At first glance, the needs of these two markets differ considerably. Austria certainly represents a mature market and is always listed as one of the most stable economies on relevant lists compiled by the World Economic Forum and the World Bank, while Serbia is constantly improving on such lists. Therefore, in our business approach, we use Austria as a best-practise example whenever possible in providing our services to clients. We at LeitnerLeitner see the CEE and SEE regions as our home market and we know all the local tax ins and outs. We put interdisciplinary, cross-border cooperation into practice every day, as we work in close cooperation with all other LeitnerLeitner locations.

Serbia is on a positive course in terms of harmonisation with EU legislation

More work still needs to be done on the harmonisation of EU and Serbian legislation. What would you single out as being the most urgent tasks?

– Generally speaking, Serbia is on a positive course in terms of harmonisation with EU legislation. A lot of work has already been done in terms of tax laws, company law etc. The adoption of a new customs law is also expected in the period ahead. The Law on Anti-Money Laundry and the Financing of Terrorism were recently adopted, improving the ground for combating suspicious transactions both in the country and across borders. It is also expected that the new law on Data Protection will be adopted in Serbia in accordance with GDPR, which is one of the most discussed topics in the EU recently. The adoption of a new Law on Accounting and Law on Audit, in order to harmonise Serbian legislation with the requirements of EU directives 2013/34/EU and 2014/95/EU, as well as Directive 2014/56/EU and Regulation 537/2014, is also projected in the coming period. However, what is perhaps more important now is the implementation of laws that have already been adopted, i.e. how their application will result in practice.

Moreover, one of the most urgent tasks is certainly reform of the Tax Administration. Significant work still needs to be done on capacity building of this important institution and the education of employees and what is most important in implementing unique and consistent procedures during tax audits, in accordance with the law.