The years to come will reveal the true potential of Cyprus, and with tourism, energy and real estate sectors showing strong growth, strategic investment can yield substantial returns in the long term, says Stelios Odysseos.
Could you give a brief overview of Odysseos Group and its core business?
Since our beginnings as a small accounting firm in the 1980s in Limassol, Odysseos Group has established itself as one of the most well-respected audit, accounting, and advisory firms in Cyprus. With more than 30 years of experience and with clientele spanning all major industries, our firm is in a position to offer high quality services to a wide range of companies. Odysseos Chartered Certified Accountants is also a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Cyprus (ICPAC) as well as the Chartered Management Institute of the United Kingdom. Our firm has been awarded the prestigious ICPAC Quality Checked Award Certificate, following the recognition of the high quality of services we constantly strive to offer.
Are you seeing changes in your sector and how is your firm tackling these new developments?
As we embark on our fourth decade in business, our clients are maturing, becoming increasingly sophisticated and wealthy. Also, their business and lifestyle needs, as well as regulatory demands, are evolving continuously due to global financial developments. In response, we have further concentrated in what has remained the driving force of our firm: the provision of efficient, cost-effective and wealth-maximising solutions to our clients with utmost discretion and professionalism.
I must acknowledge the contribution of our staff to our success. In this constantly changing world, the need for professional and highly specialised business associates is essential. Being aware of this, we invest in recruiting individuals with great potential and zeal for work. The firm’s biggest asset is the synergy of our collective experience and technical knowledge that we have accumulated in the fields in which we provide services. All of our auditors, accountants, tax consultants, economists, analysts and business advisors have been educated at top UK universities, and are holders of the ACCA/ACA qualification.
Committed to delivering practical advice and innovative perspectives to our clients and partners, our professionals also communicate in a number of languages including English, Greek, Russian, Bulgarian and Serbian. ‘Commitment to excellence’ forms an integral part of our corporate culture, and it strongly reflects on all our business endeavours.
What sectors in Cyprus do you see providing the best opportunities for growth?
We believe that the years to come will reveal the true potential of Cyprus, both in terms of its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as in terms of the modernisation and strengthening of its economy. The recent discovery of offshore hydrocarbon reserves has already put the energy sector in the spotlight and given it a key role in shaping the future of Cyprus and the wider Eastern Mediterranean region.
Naturally, the professional services sector is also expected to experience an increase in volume, as the services offered run in the background of an overall hike in economic activity in Cyprus. I would be remiss not to mention also the importance of the tourism and real estate sectors. Cyprus is turning into a large construction site and tourists are flocking in at an increased pace. In our view, investment in those sectors can yield substantial return in the long term.
What niche services should Cyprus focus on to become a stronger player, and in what other ways can the country improve its status as an international business centre?
Cyprus is on the right path for regaining the trust of institutions and investors. The strong, mutually beneficial and well-thought-out double tax treaties that Cyprus has concluded over the years provide a major competitive advantage to other jurisdictions. The tax planning network that Cyprus has managed to create is truly a great asset for our economy. In this constantly changing business environment, we should definitely try to capitalise on these agreements and enhance them even further to strengthen our services sector, which is a valuable pillar of our economy.
In addition, Cyprus should focus on becoming an upscale quality tourist destination. Again, some significant steps are being taken in this direction, but more investment in infrastructure and know-how are necessary in order for Cyprus to become a world-class leisure destination, capable of attracting more high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs).
What key regulatory changes have been introduced and what advantages do they offer international business and foreign investors?
Through the reforms and incentives currently implemented, such as the attractive citizenship and residency schemes, tax reforms and relaxation of construction regulations, Cyprus is clearly stating that it is ‘open for business’ and ready to emerge stronger than ever from the recession. The rules have been adapted in a way that reduces red tape, and many processes can now be done online and therefore faster to the benefit of the investors and international businesses.
What are your expectations for your sector and the Cyprus economy in 2018?
The perception we have formulated during discussions with our business associates globally, as well as through our attendance in international forums and think tanks, is that the Cypriot economy will continue to experience solid growth in 2018. A lot of developments are expected in the energy sector as far as offshore drillings are concerned, as well as significant progress regarding the new integrated casino resort in Limassol.
Additionally, the real estate sector is expected to continue to expand; this should be paired with an increase in property prices, fuelled by easier access to funding. All these developments should pave the way for sustainable growth. Of course, this can only be achieved through careful policy-making, and thoughtful planning. Cyprus could draw inspiration from other EU success stories such as Norway. In short, Cyprus should be bold and perspicacious as it looks to the future.