My career was influenced by my father, who was a CFO at Dunlop. He worked with CEOs and with Big Four auditors and liked their professionalism. When I was young, I watched the news on TV and I wanted to understand the economic terms being used like GDP, inflation or unemployment, and was curious about how these are calculated. So I entered the Economics and Business University in Athens and then started studying for the ACCA Qualification through distance learning.

Back then ACCA was virtually unknown in Greece with no service providers. I started with Arthur Young in 1989, which subsequently became Ernst & Young (EY), where I would become a partner and professional practice director. In 2012 I moved to AIG as CFO before joining Moore Stephens in 2013. I became head of audit in 2018.

Theo Ignatidis FCCA

Greek philosophers are worth exploring as everything they said can still be applied in today’s environment

I wanted to follow a career in finance and believed that starting with a major audit firm would give me more prospects for the future. I started to like practice, the daily atmosphere at the firm, the different challenges with clients, and got promoted quickly. So I stayed with the firm and eventually became a partner.

What I enjoy about my job is doing different things each day, some of which are totally unexpected, and getting to understand the views of different clients. It’s never boring. I also enjoy the interaction and exploring new ideas with my counterparts in the European and US regions.

For Greek businesses, bureaucracy from public services is the main obstacle. It is for this reason that maritime companies, not restricted by local bureaucracy, are thriving as they are doing business worldwide. However, enterprises in Greece are pursuing the rapidly changing climate in investments, where there are opportunities.

I believe in trying to keep up with recent developments globally, including technology

The accounting profession has developed considerably during my career. IFRS have become mandatory for listed entities due to EU requirements, and Greece has many US-listed entities, compared to the country’s size, which is mainly due to shipping. What has not changed is the dominance and influence of financial reporting by tax rules. I believe that this is another consequence of the country’s continuing deep-rooted bureaucracy.

There is no magic recipe to being a successful head of audit. I respect the views of others and often adopt them, and address issues they face at work. Using my previous experience, I try to respond to different types of requests. At the same time, maintaining an organised service line requires daily attention, interaction with many people and differing challenges.

Even if I had law-making powers, I don’t think change comes with the passage of a law. However, I believe in trying to keep up with recent developments globally, including technology, and raising respect for all human beings in practice, not in theory.

If I wasn’t in finance I would perhaps be an historian, as the past and archaeology really attract me. Greek philosophers are worth exploring as everything they said can still be applied in today’s environment, though interestingly Socrates said we should not pursue senior roles. The city of Smyrna is of particular interest, as my family is from that region.

In my spare time I enjoy reading books about history and ancient Greek philosophy, and I enjoy visiting museums. I’ve also played football since I was a little boy and still do. All three of my children have followed the ACCA route.