Cuban accounting firms are actively seeking to sign strategic agreements with international firms on the back of the recently enacted Foreign Investment Act, The Accountant has learnt.

The new law, which came into force in June, aims at rising $2.5bn a year to increase GPD growth by 7% and establishes three types of investment: joint ventures, companies with 100% of foreign capital and international economic association agreements.

The latter notably features a special modality for professional services, whereby those agreements "shall be signed with foreign companies of international renown", the law specifies, to provide joint auditing and accounting advice among other services.

The audit director of Cuban firm CONAS Consultores Asociados, Juan Carlos Vázquez Ávila, told The Accountant:

"A number of alliances and associations came here to assess CONAS’s potential to render consulting services. These are yet ongoing discussions, but hopefully in the near feature we could make public strategic alliances reached with some of the firms that appear in your magazines [The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin]."

Asked if that would include any Big Four firm Vázquez Ávila said: "CONAS has already worked with almost all the Big Four in the past, including Arthur Andersen when they were the Big Five. That cooperation involved a number of technical tasks pertaining to the audit work of their clients’ parent company with subsidiaries in Cuba."

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At the National Association of Cuban Economists and Accountants, president Danilo Guzmán also confirmed there are international professional services firms interested in entering Cuba’s market with which there are ongoing talks.

According to Guzmán, Spanish association Antea is one of them.

"Having a correspondent in Cuba would be useful not only for our clients but for the foreign clients of Cuban accounting firms, who can be served more efficiently," Antea chairman Antoni Gómez told The Accountant. "But this would be dependent upon higher levels of foreign investment in Cuba."

A pioneer in Cuba is the network HLB International, which as early as 1997 set foot on the island. HLB International’s member firm, Interaudit, is one of the five national firms that can conduct audit work.

"It has always been important for us to have a presence in Cuba," HLB International chief executive Rob Tautges said. "It seems that the economy is going to open up at some point and I believe it’s good to be there when this happens."

A Big Four firm, KPMG Dutch Caribbean also confirmed to The Accountant that it has had an office in Cuba since 2007.

To find out more read The Accountant’s special report on Cuba:

Cuba: Accountancy profession key to opening up economy

Editor’s letter: Cuban perestroika

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