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DFK Blog Series 4

Day 1

Today we had a prep day before the conference.

We packed and distributed the delegate bags and had meetings with the hotel and tour companies to go over the programme one last time before the conference begins.

The DFK team were escorted by DFK Partner, Pham The Hung, to the home of our closing speaker, Nguyen Hong My. Nguyen Hong My was a gracious host and spoke with us about his upcoming speech (The American War in Vietnam - how and why did it happen?) Martin Sharp, Executive Director, as a former RAF pilot was glad to have the opportunity to compare notes with Nguyen Hong My who was a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War. We are sure his speech will be a highlight of the conference.

Martin visited the Hanoi office of our host firm DFK Vietnam before welcoming the delegates who arrived today to enjoy sightseeing in Hanoi before the conference begins.

Day 2

Today the DFK International Board of Directors met for an all-day meeting to discuss the direction of the association.

Not only was it good to see old friends and colleagues, we were also pleased to welcome Andrew Logan to the board in his new role as DFK Canada President.

As well as discussing the progress that DFK International has made within its successful National Groups and technical committees, the committee also discussed the future of DFK International and the strategic direction of the association.

The Board will convene again tomorrow but this time as part of the Members Council to relay and discuss the outcomes of today’s meeting.

Day 3

Today was a busy day for the delegates of the International Conference!

Starting our day, we had three concurrent activities, our Members Council Meeting, Tax Seminar (Part 1) and an Accompanying Persons tour.

The Members Council had a productive meeting filled with lively discussion about the strategy and direction the Board of Directors outlined yesterday. The Members Council agreed that we are moving in a positive direction and that the Board’s strategy was beneficial to the members and the association as a whole.

Meanwhile the International Tax Committee were in their morning session discussing a variety of specialised Tax Topics.

The Accompanying Persons were taken on a cultural walk through the fascinating Old Quarter of Vietnam. The Old Quarter has been the commercial center of the city for centuries, with the 36 streets originally created in the 13th century.

After lunch the seminars continued.

The Tax Seminar Part 2 was well attended and had a variety of presentations from our members around the world, including some panel discussions. Roland Graf, Deputy President and prominent member of the International Tax Committee said,

“The value of this conference for the delegates was great and there was a wide variation of topics. We particularly enjoyed the interactive panel discussions and will include more sessions like this in future.“

Our other afternoon session was the Accounting and Assurance Seminar. It was the second time this has run and to great success. The delegates listened to presentations from other member firms from around the world as well as special guest speaker Mr. Trinh Duc Vinh, Vice Director of Vietnamese Ministry of Finance's accounting and auditing department.

For those who wanted to experience some Vietnamese Culture we offered a tour of the Museum of Ethnology. The museum provides an excellent introduction to the ethnic diversity in Vietnam, which is composed of 54 district groups.

After a busy day of meetings and tours, the group met for the Welcome Drinks and Dinner. As always our DFK delegates not only met with old friends but took the opportunity to meet new members and first time delegates.

Day 4

Our delegates started the day with an early morning city tour to get a sample of Vietnamese history and culture. Meanwhile our avid DFK Golfers braved the heat to play the 11th DFK International Golf Tournament at the Long Bien Golf Club.

After exploring the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh's house, Temple of Literature and the One Pillar Pagoda, our delegates came back to the hotel to take in an afternoon of presentations.

Pham The Hung, DFK Vietnam, formally welcomed our delegates to Vietnam and gave us a brief overview of his country.

To start our business session Eddie Wong, Friedman LLP, New York and Pierre Gargatte, Koehler Services Group, Hong Kong gave presentations centred around the topic ‘Doing Business in China - Challenges and Opportunities’. It was interesting to get an insight in to how to conduct business in China.                                    

Cross Border Business Proposals was the focus of our next session, Bernard Winterstetter, Peters Schoenberger & Partner mdB, Munich shared his experience of creating a cross-border tender pitch followed by Barry Lewis, DFK EMEA Regional Officer who presented some best practice techniques our delegates could use when creating their own cross-border tender pitches using materials from the DFK members site.

Our special guest speaker for this portion of the programme was Hue Tran, Vice Director of the Investment Promotion Department of the Ministry of Planning & Investment. It was fascinating to get an insight in to Vietnam’s investment potential and all the projects that are currently underway in this fast developing country.
To round off our day the IT Committee led by Paul Fiumara, DFK Hirn Newey Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Chair, IT Committee held their second Information Technology Workshop. The workshop was designed to give our delegates a taste of the latest technologies available to them as well as provide them with some best practice tips to take back to their firms with them.

We finished off our day having an informal group dinner at Club De L'Oriental. Everyone had the opportunity to sit back and relax whilst enjoying some traditional Vietnamese dishes and enjoy the company of friends and colleagues alike.

Day 5

We opened the final day of our conference with a panel debate on the hot topic of the last few months - Brexit. The panel consisted of Tom Adcock, CBW, UK, Johan Dens, Juribel, Belgium, Xerxes Medora, JK Medora, Singapore and James Parks, Bennett Thrasher, USA. Our panel was able to give their regional perspectives on how Brexit has and will affect the global marketplace.

Living in a Connected World - Understanding who's watching you online, presented by Dr Stephen Hill, (Snowdrop Consulting Ltd), was arguably one of the most fascinating presentations of the conference. Dr. Hill gave everyone present an eye-opening insight in to how people can be tracked online and what we can do to protect ourselves on the internet.
To close our conference, we were privileged to have Nguyen Hong My, Vietnam War Veteran join us for his session - The American War in Vietnam - how and why did it happen? Our delegates were able to get a unique perspective of a turbulent time in Vietnamese and US history. There was a clear theme of reconciliation and forgiveness that was incredibly moving.

After a busy few days of meetings, seminars and business networking our delegates were ready to relax and dance the night away at the closing gala dinner! Dinner and dancing was the perfect way for the group to celebrate a fantastic week and to say goodbye to old and new friends alike.