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    The first round of talks between President Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in Mont Pelerin in Switzerland raised great expectations. They finished in a euphoric mood that an agreement was within reach and a new meeting was set for the following week to exchange maps. A very good start!

    The euphoria was short lived! No sooner had the parties returned to Mont Pelerin a few days later but the talks collapsed. The Turkish Cypriot leader dropped a bombshell; he negated his agreement to provide maps! But not only that, he insisted on a five-party meeting instead of a UN multi-party conference! Backstabbed, the President of Cyprus had no other option but to discontinue the negotiations.

    No sooner had the dust settled that Mr. Anastasiades made a U-turn. Some hidden forces persuaded him to organise a “get-together” dinner with Mr. Akinci complete with the entire UN entourage in Nicosia. He was anxious to resume the talks. Nobody knows exactly what was discussed during that night but Mr. Anastasiades announced afterwards that a third set of Mont Pelerin talks were to resume on the 9th 11th January, 2017. He reiterated that maps were to be exchanged - for sure this time! The gathering of heavyweights would then sit down the next day (12th January) to “seal” the Agreement for a Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation (BBF) and a New Cyprus.

    Turkey showed its willingness to participate subject to the Republic of Cyprus not being anywhere in sight at the negotiating table! A weak president agreed to receive further humiliation by Turkey!

    However, nothing is clear about the entire fiasco! There is political confusion and without transparency both sides keep sending contradictory messages on the sly. The people are utterly confused! Mr. Anastasiades claims that a UN multi-national conference will take place, while Mr. Akinci and Turkey, insist they are attending a five-party conference. Is there a difference? Absolutely, and a vast one at that! The UN on the other hand, has avoided confirming or denying the quandary and so has the European Union.

    Meanwhile to sweeten the deal, Ankara and Mr. Akinci announced they had “no objection” on EU attendance on the periphery as an “observant” party but not to participate in any way – that would mean recognition of the Republic as an EU member state! It would not be surprising if Turkey now deceitfully plans to use a BBF agreement to enter the EU institutions from the side door. It shows that Ankara is dictating events while the rest follow suit.

    At the stroke of a pen the Republic of Cyprus would be reduced down to a “Greek community” on equal footing with the 18% Turkish Cypriot ethnic minority. The objective of the conference is to destroy the Republic and under parthenogenesis, Mr. Anastasiades would sign an agreement on behalf of the “Greek community” - a very clever Ottoman conspiracy indeed!

    The plot thickens. Contrary to public statements, Mr. Anastasiades in fact has clandestinely agreed to a five-party conference on the quiet and he would be attending and negotiating as the leader of the Greek Cypriot “community” and not as the president of the Republic.

    Pressure on a conceding Cyprus government continued with a vengeance. Turkey played its cards very cleverly but so did the “impartial” UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide. He has been busy weaving his fine web of poisoned political intrigue and manipulation. He saw an opportunity to squeeze the noose even tighter!

    He announced that Mr. Erdogan was “ready to play ball” and he would personally take part at the January conference. Why now? The answer lies somewhere between gobbledygook and reality. Artfully, the UN envoy has consistently avoided confirming if the UN Security Council members would be “invited” to take part at such a critical conference. Instead he vaguely assured everyone that “other relevant parties shall be invited as needed”.  Whatever that means it’s anyone’s guess and the plot gets murkier!

    Mr. Erdogan’s role at the conference opens up a new chapter in the never-ending Cyprus negotiations. Only a mastermind in shrewd diplomacy can face the Ottoman assault and cunning. Can the Cyprus team deal with Turkey’s skill in diplomacy backed by strength and political decisiveness? Very doubtful!

    Meanwhile, Ankara did not waste time to go on the attack with its usual provocative rhetoric; Tugrel Turkes, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey announced that: “We are guarantors not only of the Turkish Cypriots, but of all the island, all the territories and all the population”. He is in fact; introducing a preamble claiming rights to the entire island to be revealed during the Geneva negations and horse-trading.

    But Mr. Turkes did not stop there and reiterated Ankara’s position that no matter what happens at the Mont Pelerin conference, Turkey has no plans to remove all its troops or the illegal settlers from Cyprus and neither does it plan to abandon its guarantor status. Turkey’s position could not be clearer!

    There is a nasty political game being played against Cyprus and some believe the timing it’s perfect for a “good kill”. Most of the political parties have been questioning the wisdom of Anastasiade’s obsession to negotiate under such treacherous conditions aimed to eliminate the Republic.

    But, in the spirit of “political correctness,” there seems to exist an ungodly policy of not “offending” the Turkish Cypriot side or Ankara. Even the leader of the opposition party AKEL Mr. Andreas Kyprianou, has recently stated publicly that: “Cyprus is not Greek and has never been Greek, but a Bi-communal state”.  Such political regurgitation belongs on rubbish heaps and does not help matters.

    The 120.000 secular Turkish Cypriots  - as opposed to 400.000 imported settlers - are facing ethnic extinction. The Muslim fertility rate, demographics, religious radicalism and nationalism would see to its annihilation! Erdogan’s Hala Sultan, the largest mosque built on the outskirts of Nicosia to accommodate 3000 worshippers is a prime example of what is happening in the occupied area. Unless averted, whether the Turkish Cypriots like it or not, the secular TC community would be phased out. One million mainland Turkish settlers would replace them under Erdogan’s instructions in line with his long-term geopolitical plans.

    The continuation of the Republic of Cyprus is the only safeguard Cyprus has to stop Turkey in its tracks and protect the country. Destroy that safety net and one destroys the island to the influence of extremist and radical forces. Today, all Cypriots as EU citizens have their rights enshrined by Rule of Law and Justice, which allows them to work and travel throughout the EU in safety without a hindrance - lose that safety net and a can of worms will come to the surface!

    However, under the current political developments, there are critical political scenarios that cannot be ignored:

    (a) For a start, Turkey would not be accepted to join EU membership - not under Sultan Erdogan who has boasted in parliament of imprisoning 140.000 Turkish citizens and wants to bring back the death penalty to justify a murdering spree of his “enemies”;

    (b) The Greek Cypriots would never approve a BBF to legalise the partition of the island and a “NO” Vote in a Referendum would leave the Anastasiades government in limbo and a call for his resignation in demand for new elections to safeguard the Republic;

    (c) Akinci may decide on a closer relationship with Turkey and sever the relationship with the Republic of Cyprus. In doing so, Turkish Cypriots would lose their EU passports and all EU privileges provided by the Republic. An exodus of Turkish Cypriots would soon start to cross over into the Republic as Cypriot nationals;

    That would be the start of the reunification of Cyprus and a Revolution of the Mind enforced by the people for the people. It would be done within the boundaries of the law and human rights and not by the decisions of a bunch of local and foreign inglorious politicians aimed to eliminate the Republic of Cyprus for geopolitical interests and natural gas deposits!

    The Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation will not work because it’s based on chaos and nothing can survive chaos; it would certainly not work in Cyprus but bring about more chaos!

    Andreas C Chrysafis
    December 15, 2016
    Author/Writer/Artist
  • Why are work meetings a waste of time? Here's an insight ...

    I was training a team of people on Time Management the other day and I mentioned that a large percentage of our work days (during a year) are consumed by meetings which are out of our control. People in the room thought that especially in small to medium companies this is very typical. We moved on to discuss how meetings can and cannot be productive. Out of the discussion, we all agreed that meetings should have a purpose to accomplish.
    Meetings should improve productivity, teamwork, communication, attitude, motivation and the overall wellbeing feeling, at work. In my experience, leaders and managers allocate almost half of their daily work hours in preparing and holding meetings, which does not leave much time for actually getting things done.

    So, why are the majority of meetings unproductive?

    1. Lack of Agenda

    Prior to the initiation of any meeting, make sure that everyone is on the same page. Clarify the meeting’s agenda and the purpose it is trying to serve. Tell your team what the main objective of getting together is, and determine how the meeting will progress. In case you notice that your meetings are taking much longer than what was initially estimated, they probably lack a clear purpose.


    2. Poor Moderation Skills

    If you are aware that a specific member of your team knows more about a topic of discussion than you do, let them lead that part of the meeting to keep things moving quickly. It saves time, while keeping your team alert and ready to speak.


    3. Emotional Reasons

    Often employees feel frustrated when they cannot express themselves freely. Frustration arises when they have things to say but need to hold back because they are afraid of stepping on each other's toes. Prevent this frustration by establishing a code of conduct. Set a time limit on the meeting and allow specific portions of time for each employee to speak. Don't let politeness interfere with getting things done.


    4. Inviting the wrong people

    When people lose attention by sneaking emails on their smartphones rather than actively taking part in the meeting, it is a strong signal that the content of the meeting is not correct. If you have come to realise that you are only fully engaging one or two employees at a time while everyone else checks their phone or daydreams, then you're wasting time.


    5. No Follow-up

    Follow-up is key to successful meetings, especially if you have assigned tasks and deliverables. Keep track of the end result, and don't rely on just your own thoughts. Get a sense of whether or not your team thinks the purpose you set out to achieve at the beginning was actually fulfilled. Be open to suggestions on how future meetings could be improved.


    6. Boredom

    Repetitive meetings can make people feel tired and often overwhelmed. By shifting between various meeting locations, you prevent boredom and increase participation and productivity. Often a simple change of scenery can bring back the good energy of the team, which leads to good ideas. Ask your team if they enjoyed the change of scenery. If they enjoyed it but didn't find it constructive, try something else the next time.

    --

    About the author:


    Andrie Penta is a Soft Skills Trainer and Marketing Consultant with over 10 years of hands-on experience. In 2013, Andrie was nominated for the Business Woman of the Year Award. In 2012, through a European Commission initiative, she was assigned the role of a Business Mentor. In 2011, she was chosen to represent Cyprus at the "Women in Leadership" mission in the USA. In 2010, Andrie was nominated by the European Commission, as "Female Ambassador Entrepreneur for Europe".  Andrie is a Certified Trainer by the Cyprus Human Resource Development Authority.


    andrie@penta.com.cy
    +357-99360629
  • Preparations for Pafos 2017 – European Capital of Culture for 2017 are well underway and we caught up with Georgia Doetzer, Director of Artistic Programme of Events for Pafos 2017 to give us an update

    1. How are things going in preparation for 2017?
    The preparation is very challenging and of course intensive and stressful. We are just a few weeks before the Opening on the 28th January 2017 and this means a lot to us. The programme is ready, but do not forget that it will be mostly implemented outdoors and/or in spaces that will soon be finished. It is challenging as now we are in the implementation phase. There is a heavy workload regarding programming, rehearsing, inviting guests from Cyprus and abroad, planning, as well as overseeing the infrastructure works, streets, venues. Everything has to be ready by end of December. 

    2. Is everything running to schedule?

    Our programme yes; the vast majority of the projects don’t face any problems. Contracts have been signed, roadmaps and budgets have been agreed. Apart from some venue and timetable changes that we might have to make because 1 or 2 venues will not be 100% ready by the agreed time, everything is according to schedule. When you are planning an artistic programme months in advance of course you must be aware of the fact that some changes might occur.

    3. We were recently treated to a presentation about the events that will take place in 2017 – please tell us a little about the main ones

    There are 152 projects. Many of them are complex projects with multiple actions. If I have to mention just a few, then I would of course mention first the Opening Ceremony on the 28th January 2017 in the city’s central new square, which is a spectacle inspired by the first thematic line of our programme, Myth and Religion, designed and implemented by an international team. Then we will have the Summer highlight on the 1st July 2017 in the harbour area, inspired by our second thematic line, World Travellers, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic concert, one of the best orchestras worldwide with the famous Concert for Europe on the 1st of May in front of Pafos Castle which is a concert that will be transmitted worldwide. Also, the Moon and Stars platform that includes a series of concerts with famous stars such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Charlotte Rampling, Goran Bregovic, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, George Kimoulis, in the ancient Odeon and the Rock of Aphrodite (Petra tou Romiou). Not to forget the many visual artists taking part in a number of exhibitions as Rosa Barba (Germany), Chiharu Shiota(Japan), Socratis Socratous (Cyprus) Costas Tsoclis (Greece) and many others. Last but not least,  I consider the ancient drama Trojan Women by Euripides to be also one of our highlights, directed and staged by two  world known personalities, Theodoros Terzopoulos (director) and Jannis Kounellis (stage installation).

    4. Where can people find more information about the events?

    Shortly, will be able to find all the relevant information you need in our website: www.pafos2017.eu . Very soon we will also have a new and dynamic site, as well as relevant printed material, and of course our info points will be ready to provide you with relevant information both in Greek and English before the end of this year.  I have to mention also, that the Pafos2017 Organisation has its own Application which can be downloaded for free on all Smart Phones.



    5. What has been the reaction from the community in Pafos, as well as Cyprus as a whole to the events of next year?



    The Pafos people were amazed, I believe, by the volume, the extension and the diversity of the projects. In Pafos we could communicate our programme and our events easily through our presentation, our volunteers, and our daily contacts.  People are here anyway, they are close to Pafos2017, they call us, we meet with them, and we talk to them every day. In the other cities of Cyprus we see that people are aware of our activities and they are interested in attending the majority of the events. The Berlin Philharmonic concert or the Moon and Stars concerts have already been booked in their calendars for next year I believe. Due to our financial limitations, we could not promote our events nationally or internationally well in advance, but we will now start to do so more intensively.



    6. Are there any activities that will help bring tourism to Pafos after 2017?



    The title of the European Capital of Culture itself brings tourism to Pafos. There are certain tourists that follow the activities of all European Capitals of Culture. We do look forward to welcome a different kind of tourism to Pafos, a more interested audience in contemporary culture, visitors more interested to discover the history, the beauty and the modern face of Pafos.



    7. Finally, what has been the most challenging aspect of your work these past few months



    I can only say that challenges never end if you are seated in this position. The European dimension, the size of this project, together with the change of the city’s face thanks to the many infrastructure works are some of the most challenging issues we face every day. What keeps me moving is the fact that I strongly believe we will make it until the end, and that we will also be very successful!



    --



    A little about Georgia ...



    Georgia Doetzer was born in Cyprus in 1959. In 1982, she graduated from the University of GeorgAugusta in Germany, from where she obtained her Degree in Social Sciences. During her studies in Germany, she also followed various courses in business and cultural management, the adults further education and the German Language. After she worked for almost a decade as teacher, she joined in 1993 the Limassol Theatre Development Company (ETHAL), where she was involved in the artistic, technical and financial management of the company as its Chief Operations Officer. There, she collaborated with professionals from the field of the Arts in several theatre productions and became actively involved in the cultural life of Limassol and Cyprus. In 1999, she joined the Rialto Theatre, a major arts venue based in Limassol, where she worked as its Artistic Director till December 2014, undertaking therefore the artistic management of the theatre’s annual programme.Together with the development of the theatre’s programme, she has been in charge of various projects as a project manager: the design, organisation and implementation of the International Short Film Festival of Cyprus, the International Film Festival .Cyprus Film Days., the Contemporary Dance Platform, the European Dance Festival, the World Music Festival. Her other contributions include Member of several selection Committees of the Ministry of Education & Culture (1998-20014), the Limassol Dance House, the National Theatre Prizes and many more. Her contribution in the cultural life of the island is enhanced with her participation in the administrative board of various associations and institutions: she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Cyprus Theatre Organisation 2012- today), the Coordinating Council of Limassol Cultural Organisations (2012-15) and the Representative of the Rialto Theatre in the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festival (2012-14). Furthermore, her 20-year experience and know-how in the organisation, management and implementation of programmes offered her an active role in the European Capital of Culture – Pafos2017 where she works since January 2015 as director for the artistic programme.

  • Discussion and recommendations for candidates going into interviews.

    First impressions are made in literally seconds or a few minutes. How you make someone feel will remain with them long after you leave the room, details of what you said will be important but what will stay with them is how you made them feel in your presence. Establishing a dynamic and chemistry that makes the interviewer feel connected to you is essential and a skill worth learning.
    Interviews are a delicate performance art, a short window of time when you have the full attention (hopefully) of someone who can alter your life forever. This small snapshot in life is your moment to perform, to get yourself out there and show your edge, your individuality.

    Yes, there are the standard formulaic items to check off your list: the suit, open body language etc. but essentially Interviews are a performance. Thinking of them this way will get you into the mindset you need to psychologically prepare and get into The Zone. Candidates often do not consider that being an Interviewer can also be nerve wracking and the interviewer is also conserving a certain impression and making effort to appear professional, therefore getting your interviewer to relax and be comfortable in your presence is a real skill. Asking open questions, paying real attention and ensuring they know you are hearing and listening will encourage your interviewer to talk and also open up.

    Like any good performance preparation and rehearsal is everything as is knowing your lines and knowing your audience.

    Find out who is going to be interviewing you and research them, if you are using a Recruiter ask the Recruiter what they are like. Make sure you do the same for the company, by profiling the entity and its people in this way you can tailor your performance accordingly. A good Recruiter should already be trying to give you a feel for the company and interviewer anyway, press them for more information if they have not.

    For example, a high-end boutique Corporate firm will be a totally different animal to a localised family business where knowing if the interviewers are father and daughter would be mighty helpful! Being able to psychologically reference the situation you are about to walk into can mean all the difference between getting and not getting the job.

    When you look the business, you feel the business. With the exterior package details taken care of, you feel confident that you look the part. The next part of getting into the zone, an almost meditative state where you ‘feel’ and are mindful of who you are about the speak with, impress and hopefully make a lasting impression on is the most important. Be prepared to Wow, feel pumped and ready to get that job.

    Understand that the interview process is two-way and how the interviewing party makes you feel by the end of it is just as important. Excitement is key, you want to leave an interview feeling excited and that you want to work with that person, for that company. Uninspiring interviews are like a bad 1st date, the preference is going home to a tub of ice cream on a Saturday night.

    Above all remember no performance is a waste of time, the outcome is not the most important thing. Each interview, each performance is another experience where you put yourself out there. With each interview you will become more adept at getting into The Zone and approaching the challenge with the verve and grit needed to get that job. Self-branding and being skilled at really reaching people in any dynamic is an essential differentiating factor of success.

    For those who performing does not come naturally to, don’t panic, a good Coach can be a defining change maker. Guiding you through and helping you understand The Zone and how to learn and adopt these skills to perform, a Coach can be just the ticket.

    Katerina Andreou
  • Andrie Penta looks to see if this is true.

    I don't care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right”, was the PR phenomenon until recently. I can clearly recall people telling me, “any advertising is good advertising” and “there is no such thing as bad publicity” - everything believable until you get into the PR game.
    From a theoretical side of view, as long as people are talking about you, it’s a good thing, simply because your name is on the top of people’s minds, keeping you relevant. In some cases, this is true and acceptable, but what happens in the cases of well-known brands such as BP? I am sure they did not enjoy being on top of peoples’ minds for the worst oil spill in US history. The same goes for Toyota, which had to recall faulty and dangerous vehicles and bear a 10% sales drop.

    There are numerous examples of people and brands that have been hugely affected by bad publicity, therefore the claim that no publicity can do harm is clearly open to question.

    While all of the brands I mentioned can and likely will eventually recover, the bad publicity they’ve received has done some serious damage for at least the short term and maybe longer.

    Therefore, I would feel more comfortable in claiming that all publicity is good if it is intelligent and well-targeted.

    There are businesses that aim for publicity of any sort and prepare wrong material for the wrong audience. They share valuable content in exchange for a tiny credit on an obscure website in the often unrealistic hope that this effort will somehow extend their reach and strengthen their brand presence.

    In some cases, it does. If you're promoting the grand opening of Grandma's Italian Restaurant, you want to spread the word in the local community far and wide, so you send a press release to every nearby media outlet. Or, if you've just written a book about general business management practices, you offer business Web portals the opportunity to excerpt from your book. In most situations, however, a targeted approach is more effective.

    Blanketing the masses with your press releases, pitches and content has too many potential drawbacks. Here are four:

    1. Promoting your news to those who aren't likely to ever become your clients or customers is a waste of time and financial resources.

    2. Poor PR and content placement runs the risk of driving traffic away from your own website.

    3. If the outlet where your news or content appears has a less than stellar reputation or is packed with cheap pay-per-click ads and unedited or unfocused content, being associated with it can harm your reputation and brand.

    4. Giving away valuable content may benefit the recipient more than it benefits your business or brand. By contrast, posting content on your own site may be a better way to use and disseminate it.

    The most effective use of your public relations and content marketing dollar is to target your appeals to editors, reporters, bloggers and other influencers who have previously shown an interest in covering news or ideas you write. You might also focus on outlets whose audiences care about companies like yours or who may like your products and services.

    Not only is there bad publicity but there are a lot of nebulous media outlets that will print and promote anything. In those instances, your message is wasted on an audience that doesn't care about you or your news. Worse yet is when those who are interested conduct a search for information about your business or related news, they're pointed to a media outlet that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with you. This deflects readers away from your site and devalues your news and brand.

    There's an old saying that goes something like this:  "All publicity is good publicity, as long as they spell your name right."  Frankly, as a marketing professional, I would pretty much agree with that.  Publicity means visibility, which generates awareness that could lead to interest, which combined with the credibility that earned media endows, could very easily lead to sampling or a decision to buy.

    Even if there is a small glitch in the system, say for example that the name of your product, service, or a web site is misspelled in the story, then that in itself may be an opportunity for more press, and even more visibility, which only reinforces the original piece.

    But what about the bad stuff - negative publicity?  Isn't that the stuff that closes restaurants, keeps people from eating beef, and drives political candidates from public office?  Well, yes it is, but it doesn't necessarily have to be.  I look at negative publicity as an opportunity, which is how I want all my clients to look at it.  The public loves a good comeback story, and is usually willing to give an errant underdog a second (or third or fourth or--you get the idea) chance, but only if the problem is handled correctly. In that case, it can mean a media bonanza!

    Remember that when you receive negative publicity, you can do something about the situation that caused the bad press in the first place, and what you do becomes newsworthy.  You can plead ignorance if you have to, apologise, ask forgiveness, and pledge to redeem yourself or whatever needs fixing in the situation. The public is amazingly forgiving, as long as you are sincere in your efforts to right whatever wrongs are attributed to you.  And in doing so, you may even take advantage of that opportunity to let the world know a little about you, your story, your struggles, and the challenges you've faced as an entrepreneur.

    Negative allegations can be refuted, disputed, or admitted, all of which gets you media attention.  But to get really positive media attention (turning that media frown upside down, if you will), your story must have a positive, results-oriented spin.  If you (and your attorney) believe you have been slandered, then you could sue.  You could bring experts of impeccable credibility to weigh in on your behalf.  Of course, if the allegations or bad press is true (or at least based on truth), you could use the opportunity of media attention to admit it, and pledge to rectify the error.  You might even get some attention for continuing to champion the cause (cleanliness, organic beef, or marital fidelity) that brought you to grief originally.

    The positive result of any publicity is name recognition, which drives interest (and therefore sales), even if the motive is purely schadenfreude.  So don't fret too much about negative publicity, because no matter how bad it looks, you can use it as an opportunity to get a public platform for yourself and your business.  Which means at the end of the day, virtually any publicity is good publicity.

    Article originally posted on LinkedIn

    --

    About the author:

    Andrie Penta is a Soft Skills Trainer and Marketing Consultant with over 10 years of hands-on experience. In 2013, Andrie was nominated for the Business Woman of the Year Award. In 2012, through a European Commission initiative, she was assigned the role of a Business Mentor. In 2011, she was chosen to represent Cyprus at the "Women in Leadership" mission in the USA. In 2010, Andrie was nominated by the European Commission, as "Female Ambassador Entrepreneur for Europe".  Andrie is a Certified Trainer by the Cyprus Human Resource Development Authority.

    andrie@penta.com.cy

    +357-99360629

  • Recent changes to Cyprus Companies Law and to the Auditors and Statutory audits of annual and consolidated accounts law

    On 23 September 2016, a number of amendments to the Cyprus Companies Law and to the Auditors and Statutory Audits of Annual and Consolidated Accounts Law were published in the national gazette.

    All changes are effective for period beginning on or after 1 January 2016 and are summarised below.

    COMPANIES LAW

    The Companies Law was amended by Law 97(I) and the provisions of the Amending Law are the result of the transposition of the EU Accounting Directive (2013/34/EU) into domestic law.

    Companies subject to statutory audits

    From 2016 onwards all companies in Cyprus, including small/dormant companies, are subject to statutory audit and the exception that existed previously in the Law has now been abolished.

    Categories of companies

    Criteria for categorising companies according to their size have been established and are summarised below.

    Small Companies

    Small companies are defined as being the companies which as of their reporting date do not exceed at least two of the following three criteria:

    - Total gross assets: €4 million
    - Net Turnover: €8 million
    - Average number of employees during the financial year: less than 50

    Medium-sized companies


    Medium-sized companies are defined as being the companies which as of their reporting date, do not exceed at least two of the following three criteria:



    - Total gross assets: €20 million


    - Net Turnover: €40 million


    - Average number of employees during the financial year: less than 250


    Large companies



    Large companies are defined as being the companies which as of their reporting date, exceed at least two of the following three criteria:



    - Total gross assets: €20 million


    - Net Turnover: €40 million


    - Average number of employees during the financial year: more than 250


    Note that ‘Net Turnover’ is defined as amounts derived from the sale/provision of products/services after deducting returns/rebates and VAT.



    Categories of Groups



    Criteria for defining categories of groups have also been established which are again based on the above-mentioned criteria for categories of companies.  For example, small sized groups are the groups which on a consolidated basis do not exceed the limits of at least two of the three criteria of small size companies as at the balance sheet date of the parent company.  Medium sized groups and large groups are also determined along the same lines using the criteria of medium-sized and large companies respectively.



    A number of consolidation adjustments are listed in the amended Law which are permissible not to apply for the purposes of calculating the above mentioned limits and include (1) Netting-off of the carrying value of the share capital of the group entities and the percentage of the share capital of the subsidiaries participating in the group against the percentage of their Net Assets and (2) offsetting of intercompany assets and liabilities, intercompany revenues and expenses, and unrealised profits/losses on intercompany transactions.  In cases where these are not applied the limits for the above-mentioned criteria shall be increased by 20%.



    Exemption from consolidation



    Prior to the Amended Law, the exemption to prepare consolidated financial statements was applied only to small-sized groups.  With the Amended Law the exemption has been extended to apply also to medium-sized groups as defined above.  This exemption will not apply if any of the affiliated companies is a public-interest entity in which case consolidated financial statements must be prepared irrespective of the size of the Group.



    Management Report



    The revised Law introduced the term ‘Management Report’ to replace the term ‘Board of Directors Report’.  Most of the provisions relating to the content of this report have remained the same.  The revised Law mentions all new and amended provisions in detail.



    The most significant change is that as per the revised Law small and medium-sized companies are exempted from preparing a management report, provided that certain criteria are met.



    Other provisions


    The revised Law also includes additional disclosures to be included in the financial statements of medium and large sized companies.  Examples include specific disclosures for staff costs, audit fees, number of employees, and details about the registered office.



    Furthermore, other relevant provisions have been added in the revised Law which impact the corporate governance statement that is required to be included in the Management Report of companies whose shares are listed on the stock exchange of any EU member state.




    AUDITORS AND STATUTORY AUDITS OF ANNUAL AND CONSOLIDATED ACCOUNTS LAW


    Specific amendments to the auditor’s report have also been incorporated in the revised Law which are mainly the result of the specific provisions as mentioned in the changes of the Companies Law.


    Maria Nicolaou (FCCA, MA, BA)


    Audit Manager

  • A professional’s guide with practical tips on how to work a good balance between home life and work.

    Your child’s first superhero and idol will be mum or dad, admittedly this will be inter-changeable through the years and phases of their growth and you will fall in and out of favour no doubt. Children do not distinguish between business suits and mummy clothes, business or pleasure, they care nothing for whether it is Business travel or a session at the gym that takes you from them, they only understand that you are gone. They will adjust to you being gone and to your absences when your day extends to a 14 hour stint maybe more. And they will no longer expect you around.
    They can’t be empathic when they are knee high, to when your battery is dying on a last minute client call or when the new mobile doesn’t sync up correctly or if you have yet another dozen calls to make to that one irritating business partner that is standing between you and that deal that needs clinching. They only know the sense of irritable energy that has entered the house and that perhaps play time isn’t a good idea. Our children’s time with us is plagued with our on-line links, connections and presence, with our permanent connection to our business and leads, clients and colleagues. Yet we do not stay that connected or attached to our families, we give it all to our career drive. We run around like head-less chickens feeding our career dreams, being the providers of comfort and lifestyle, safety and security to our families and little people. All the while with a slight guilt that we are not present at home even when we are there occupying a space and all the while (whether we admit this to ourselves or not) slightly irritated that we have to be all things to everyone, at home and at work. The pressure is on and no-one is gaining.

    We indulge our little people by adding the right noises and acknowledgement via head nods and grunts to show we are listening, to show we are interested. But our eye contact, body language and real attention is elsewhere diverted and dictated to by the screen in front of us at the time. If and when we find time to reflect on the quality of our relationships with our children we can feel the guilt and the sense of a job less than well done.

    We travel, we cross the globe to all sorts of destinations and we miss out on household routines such as bed time, bath time and story time. We miss flu season when germs are on the rampage and broken sleep is the order of the week.

    You could argue that your true life’s work will be those small people you gave a life to. The hardest Job Spec will be Mum or Dad. Yet our work careers, our promotions, successes and failures along the way will account for the majority of our time and attention.

    There will be little satisfaction in self-actualising one day but returning home to a house where no-one expects or looks for you there any longer and where your own children may resemble strangers.

    While you are out chasing your tail trying to be the be all and end all to everyone, trying to be the career Exec rolled into Parent, Partner, Friend, Sibling and whatever other roles you have decided to fulfil you will head fast towards burn out. There are striking numbers of high achievers later in life, at their peaks in their careers suffering from psychosomatic illnesses, panic attacks and anxiety related issues.

    As is true in all of life, balance is the only solution. How to achieve balance that promotes sanity, calm and emotional well-being as well as career success? How do we find that key, that solution to maintaining that balance but also incorporating our children into it?

    Here are a few tips and ideas:

    1. Driving to and from places with children is a great opportunity for conversation. When they are small in car seats they are full of words or babble, whole sentences devoted to the view outside the window or the final destination. The absence of iPads, TV or toys means there is little to steal their attention. Take note however, you have to find a way to lead them into a conversation, because just asking "so what did you do today" will more often than not simply get you the customary response "nothing". For surly teenagers, the car environment with its noises and the traffic outside mean a good meaningful conversation can happen which doesn’t require the young person to look you dead in the eye. In short: Get rid of the ear piece and be prepared to listen.

    2. Another way to interact with kids is to find out what they are into and ask them questions even if it means nothing to you. You can show your listening (even if it’s with little comprehension) by occasionally repeating the last part of their sentence and turning it in to a question then building up from there.

    3. When you are due to take a business trip, tell small children some time ahead and count down to it, explain where you are going, show them pictures so they have a pleasant visual of where you will be and what it’s like. While you are away get their other care givers to keep them up to date with a calendar count down as to when you will be home, an actual visual representation of the days helps small children conceptualise.

    4. Skype and call while you are away. A no brainer but Skype or phone dates with your kid at the same time each day as part of their routine means you maintain that connection to them, they know as part of bedtime it’s Good night phone call or Skype so they know you are ok.

    5. Exercise or any physical hobby will help with stress relief and if you can find something that incorporates your kids even better. A lot of gyms or Family sports centres feature activities for parents and kids.

    6. Decide on a time of day when work is over and commit to it, meaning all access and communication with work based people or issues is switched off.

    7. No screens. When you do have time to spend with children engage with them without web support. Talk, sing, play, throw yourself around, be led by the little person. Tell them you are all theirs for that period and mean it, stay with it and do not get lured away by a beep, ringer or notification of any description.

    8. Journal writing. It cannot be stressed enough that ending your day with a 5 minute reflective vomit into a journal is stress relieving and very revealing, can be quite cathartic and cleansing. Free writing is also an excellent form of this and promotes a clearer mind, devoid of ‘interference’, where root issues can be out-ed and dealt with. The hard drive of our minds, our sub conscious, benefits greatly from this clearing type of activity and thereby helps immensely with potent sleep and rest.

    These are just a few ideas to help get you started on the path to following a healthy, balanced life where you and the little people in your life can benefit from quality time together. A fresh approach to managing a calmer work-life balance will also mean you can be the best you can be, not just at work but at home being fully present.

    Katerina Andreou

  • There have been some recent changes to property tax and fees and Eurofast Taxand Cyprus explain them to us

    Despite global market challenges, the Cyprus real estate market has remained attractive to foreign investors. A number of legislative changes were introduced during 2015 and 2016, further adding to this attraction, including the reduction -and in some cases the abolition- of transfer fees as well as reduction of immovable property taxes which are described below.

    Immovable Property Tax

    Every owner is liable for the payment of immovable property tax for all immovable properties situated in Cyprus and registered in the owner’s name on 1 January of each year. The value of the immovable property is deemed to be the price based on the valuation on 1 January 1980.

    On 14 July 2016, the Cyprus Parliament agreed that immovable property tax for 2016 will be based on 1980 values but reduced by 75% of the amount paid last year (2015). Further, it was decided that the immovable property tax will be abolished in 2017.

    The immovable property tax for 2016 will be calculated at 25% of the price of the property based on the valuations of 1980. The deadline for payment of the 2016 tax has been set at 31 October 2016.  Late payments made between 1 November and 31 December 2016 will be calculated using an increased value of 27.5% of the 1980 valuations.

    Taxpayers who fail to pay before 31 December 2016 will be subject to an additional 10% monetary penalty on the unpaid tax calculated on 31 December 2016.

    The property tax rates to be used for calculating the 2016 immovable property tax are as follows:

    Value of Property - as of 1/1/1980

    €1 to €40,000 - would be charged at 6%
    €40,001 to €120,000 - would be charged at 8%
    €120,001 to €170,000 - would be charged at 9%
    €170,001 to €300,000 - would be charged at 11%
    €300,001 to €500,000 - would be charged at 13%
    €500,001 to €800,000 - would be charged at 15%
    €800,001 to €3,000,000 - would be charged at 17%
    Over €3,000,000 - would be charged at 19%


    Land Transfer Fees

    Land transfer fees are charged on the transfer of immovable property from one person or company to another individual or company. The fees are paid to the Department of Lands and Surveys.

    In cases where an agreement is made under the Immovable Property Tax Law between 2 December 2011 and 31 December 2016 and is thus subject to VAT, land transfer fees will not be applicable. Properties not subject to VAT will be eligible for a 50% reduction of land transfer fees.


    Exemptions from Land Transfer Fees

    No land transfer fees are payable in the following situations:

    Immovable property transferred from a company to another company under a reorganisation scheme
    Sale, transfer and registration of property in the name of a purchaser when the total sale proceeds do not exceed €350,000 in bankruptcy procedures under the bankruptcy law
    On a transfer and registration of immovable property in the name of lender under a restructuring scheme.

    Rates used to calculate the land transfer fees are as follows:

    Up to €85,000 would be charged at 3%
    €85,001 to €170,000 would be charged at 5%
    Over €170,000 would be charged at 8%

    As mentioned above, the changes have added to the attractiveness of Cyprus to potential investors as they will lead to a reduction of costs.  Additionally, an added benefit is available for groups considering restructuring as they will benefit from the exemption of land transfer fees. It is worth reminding potential investors of the decreasing trend in housing loans’ interest rates as well as of the legislation passed in 2015 which provides protection for buyers in Cyprus by allowing owners to apply for their own title deeds.

    Zoe Kokoni, Director (zoe.kokoni@eurofast.eu)
    Eleni Christou, Senior Tax Advisor (eleni.christou@eurofast.eu)

    Eurofast Taxand Cyprus
    T.+357 22699222

    Reproduced with the kind permission of Eurofast Taxand Cyprus

    Original article - click HERE
  • Keeping employees is important and difficult to do - Andrie gives us an insight on how to do this

    Although this is a tough time period for employees and job seekers-as it is an employers’ market - it is still imperative for leaders to focus on employee satisfaction and retention.
    The majority of employees, working for the majority of organisations, have thought about quitting their jobs more than once, during the past year-according to a relevant study.

    The question is, how do great leaders create engaged followers who are loyal? How do great leaders apply internal marketing?

    Here are a few ways:

    1. Explore your Employees’ Full Potential

    By giving the flexibility to every team member to optimise their true potential, instead of trying to fit them into ready-made moulds, the organisation ensures that they feel engaged, happy and free to give the maximum of their capacity. Examples of companies that have given room for their employees to express their abilities are Google and Facebook and we have all seen the results.

    2. Find out What Motivates Them

    Different age groups are motivated by different incentives. For instance, the younger employees are tech-savvy and understand the importance of constantly mastering new skills to stay up to date. They are connected 24/7 and they would definitely appreciate more active technology support and training. Leaders should be open to elevating their team’s knowledge and skills in regards to technological advances, although they may feel intimidated.

    3. Create a Sense of Belonging

    Employees normally place company culture on their top priority list, as a reason for wanting to join a firm or wanting to stay with a firm. What is important for employees is to feel “like at home”, when going to work, but also for the organisation to ensure that all staff feel like they belong there. This includes recruitment and development activities, the physical work environment, a number of volunteer opportunities, get-together initiatives etc. For instance, Starbucks have introduced employee lounges throughout their corporate offices to create this sense of belonging and to encourage further employee interaction.

    4. Be Flexible

    When employees feel like their leaders sympathise with them, understand them and make an effort to accommodate their out-of-work needs, they make an extra effort to be productive, loyal and work for the company’s best interest. This is especially true for working mothers, who are pursuing a career and need all the support they can get from leadership.

    5. Be Open to Communication

    Successful leaders always encourage open communication. The annual performance review process is one way for a leader to talk openly with his people, however waiting until then, may be too late. Two-way exchanges between a manager and employee could be held quarterly and augmented by real-time feedback.

    6. Train & Develop Your People

    There are various ways in which an organisation can invest in further developing its employees. One way is through team building activities aiming at enhancing inter-company relationships. Others include encouraging employees to invite outside experts to their staff meetings or ensuring key staff members attend industry events. There are also examples of companies which give employees a birthday voucher, which can be spend on a personal development course of their choice.  Overall, the idea is for leaders to constantly invest time and money in taking their employees to the next level.

    A relevant quote:

    A CFO is wary about investing in the training and education of the employees.

    He asks the CEO “What happens if we invest in the development of out people and then they leave the company?”

    The CEO is a bright person and replies “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”

    --

    About the author:

    Andrie Penta is a Soft Skills Trainer and Marketing Consultant with over 10 years of hands-on experience. In 2013, Andrie was nominated for the Business Woman of the Year Award. In 2012, through a European Commission initiative, she was assigned the role of a Business Mentor. In 2011, she was chosen to represent Cyprus at the "Women in Leadership" mission in the USA. In 2010, Andrie was nominated by the European Commission, as "Female Ambassador Entrepreneur for Europe".  Andrie is a Certified Trainer by the Cyprus Human Resource Development Authority.
    +357-99360629
  • It is puzzling and often wondered why the Hellenic nation failed to propel forward like other nations?

    Why did they simply choose to exist in living memory of their ancestors rather than continue in their footsteps? They were blessed with a solid foundation and yet the nation has gradually been reduced to a pauper state.

    European nations embraced the new Industrial Revolution and the population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth but not so in Greece or Cyprus. It seems as if Hellenic inquisitiveness was cocooned to live in suspended animation and faded into a maze of cobwebs.

    Indisputably, Hellenism, which brought us Democracy has influenced mankind and shaped the world to the one we know today. Greek inspiration has reformed Europe, Africa and Asia to experience prosperity and progress in the arts, literature, architecture, mathematics, philosophy, science and much more.

    The brainpower of Greek minds, such as Archimedes, Herodotus, Pythagoras Socrates and Plato, Alexander the Great and others have revolutionised human thought and it is that sense of mind-exploration that has enabled the Hellenes to excel in levels never imagined before.

    The Olympian gods and Greek myths have also played a role on nurturing Greek wisdom. They practised a cult of polytheism that demanded nothing of the people except to: Know Thyself. It was as if that amazing brainpower was god-set to enhance the Greek culture. Yet, as time passed, Hellenism has lost that brilliance of the mind.

    Why and what triggered its collapse? On hindsight, there are two main factors that contributed to the downfall of Hellenism; Christianity and Ottomanism! Both destroyed ingenuity and replaced it with mind suppression.

    Christianity - a splinter cult of Judaism  - required blind obedience and not to question the existence of God as ordained by a male-dominated clergy! Those principles were in direct conflict with the free spirit of Greek Logic that questioned things the way they were and of things the way they are not!

    When Constantine the Great moved the capital of the Empire to Constantinople (330 AD) under Christian Byzantine rule - a rule that lasted over 1100 years - Christianity reached unprecedented levels of mind control and frenzy in the Christian religion.  It applied a mixture of love for God, intimidation and brutality and has instilled the fear of “Fire and Brimstone”.

    During the inquisition, torture, witch hunting, and burning to the stake were all part of the tactics used by fanatical priests in the name of Jesus and Christianity. Heresy was punishable by death and wealthy “heretics” were prime targets of the clergy who were receptive to the offer of bribes to avoid being prosecuted. Upon accusation, the church immediately confiscated the victim’s possessions.

    The sacking of Constantinople by Christian Latin Crusaders in 1204 AD and in turn, the Ottomans capturing the Byzantine capital and Athens, was the nail in the coffin that marked the end of Hellenism! The Ottoman rule in Greece and Cyprus was marked as an oppressive period executed with fervour. When the rest of the world flourished, Hellenism was living in a dark era and was systematically destroyed spiritually.

    Influential Greeks however, remained dominant in the fields of commerce and Greek ship-owners became the maritime carriers of the Ottoman Empire. A new leading class developed; the Prokritoi or the Kocabasis in Turkish! Essentially, they were bureaucrats and tax collectors that quickly gained a reputation for corruption and nepotism.

    In the imperial capital of Constantinople businessmen and the Ecumenical Patriarch rose to great power and under the Sultan’s protection he gained religious control over the entire Orthodox population. As a leader, he was given wide powers and controlled the courts and the schools as well as the Church throughout the Ottoman Empire – an amazing source of power based on theocracy.

    Meanwhile, Turkish tyranny and clergy corruption triggered a massive exodus of intellectuals with people resettling in the mountains or moving abroad to escape; Greeks in Diaspora was born! The rugged countryside was much safer and made it hard for the tax collectors to establish administrative rule under the millet system, a system, which segregated people based on religion!

    Punitive taxation was ferocious; a taxation so brutal that included the “tribute of children” or Devshirmeh. The Ottomans required that one male Christian child in five be given away for military training as Janissaries and Muslim radicalization. Young girls were also taken away as sex slaves or odalisques to replenish the harems of the Sultan across the Empire.

    Cyprus was not excluded and the clergy became loyal tax collectors and grew rich from such taxation. Unavoidably, some Cypriotes and Catholics converted to Islam to avoid slavery or death by adopting Muslim names and customs. These converts have come to be known as Linobambaki, who continue to survive in some parts of Cyprus!

    The death of the Golden Age of Greece took hundreds of years but primarily, the Ottoman oppression and Christian indoctrination have both played their part in the devastation of that amazing free spirit of the Hellenes.

    Today, it’s a different story! There is not an official public gathering that Orthodox Church leaders are not invited to bless the event – an invitation they never refuse! The overwhelming presence by religious leaders in such a society borders on the fringes of theocracy. Politicians on the other hand dare not miss the opportunity of media coverage of such public memorials or funerals; so intertwined religion and politics have become and it’s certainly not conducive to democracy!

    All considered, the spirit of Hellenes may still be half asleep but it is certainly not half dead! One day, it is hoped that it would rise like a phoenix from the ashes of it’s own inadequacies and do the right thing; think of the nation first!

    Andreas C. Chrysafis
    Author/Writer/Artist
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