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Our core business activity is the formation, management, and
day-to-day administration of Malta companies, which include company
administration, international tax planning advice, accounting,
book-keeping, secretarial services, and audit support. Over the
years, we have acquired and developed vast and in-depth knowledge
and experience by assisting non-resident clients with their
accounting and tax planning needs.
After setting up your company in Malta, one of the most
important and challenging tasks is finding a suitable accounting
firm or an accountant. It is wise to hire an experienced accounting
firm to manage your books and taxes in Malta. The process of
picking the right firm requires some preparation and knowhow. With
many service providers in the Marketplace and internet, it may seem
a difficult process, but it does not have to be. With this article
we help you to meet this challenge and give a few tips for the
Firstly, ask advice from your corporate service provider. Many
corporate service providers provide accounting services or are
happy to refer you to the accountant or an accounting firm. Note
that providing corporate services is a regulated activity in Malta,
which means that only licenced service providers can help you with
a company setup and supporting services. Make sure you do your due
diligence and run background checks on your candidates to ensure
Secondly, you must decide whether you sign up with an accounting
firm with numerous accountants on the payroll or hire an individual
Since we get numerous requests every week for accounting
services, we have developed a thorough understanding on this topic.
For various reasons, we are also handling transfers of customers
from under other accounting firms and service providers to us. Here
is what you need to know and consider when hiring an accounting
firm for your Malta company:
- The most important quality that non-resident clients seek is a
human touch and smooth communication. The human factor in
accounting is a major factor. Prepare your questions and concerns
and meet candidates online or in person. Describe your business,
financial goals, and vision. Find out how they are wired. Choose
two or three candidate firms and speak to them. How do you find
them? Are you on the same page? How do you feel about them after
the first meeting? Since you are entrusting this firm with your
finances, you must ensure that you like them. Our decisions are
emotional and be reminded that people do business with people they
- Comfort of communication. Specify communication channels and
hours with your accountant. The days of using just phone calls and
email for efficient communication are gone. If you use WhatsApp or
Viber, make sure there is a match. If you have an urgent question,
what is the time horizon you may expect the answer? In case you are
a high-tech savvy Millennial, and your accountant is from Boomers
generation, make sure she has some experience in communicating with
Millennials. Make sure she speaks your language literally and
metaphorically. You want to have some match in communication
channels to feel comfortable.
- Do you need an accountant with definitive knowledge or
experience in a given industry or a specific business? Find out if
they have relevant experience.
For example, a few of our clients are using Malta Co. as a
Fiscal Unit, which makes the corporate structure easy to run and
tax efficient. The accounts of a Fiscal Unit must be consolidated
into the accounts of its parent company. Make sure your accounting
firm has experience in this.
You can read a deep dive article on Malta Fiscal Unit here.
If your Malta Co. is part of an international structure, this is
where international taxation and international tax planning kicks
in. Your accountant must be fluent in international tax, know how
to take advantage of foreign participation exemption rules,
understand how foreign tax relief works and how to benefit from it,
be aware of the advantages of foreign tax credit method. Why? It
saves you money. Malta’s corporate tax system provides a lot of
planning opportunities. Make sure your accounting firm speaks the
language of international tax planning. Choose an accountant who is
proactive about money saving, supporting to assist you save money,
not just manage it.
A few of our clients hold private equity holdings in foreign
subsidiaries using Malta as a holding company jurisdiction. In case
Malta is your holding jurisdiction for foreign subsidiaries, make
sure your accountant has this experience.
- Do you need bookkeeping or tax planning services? Whilst
accounting may seem a boring subject of crunching numbers, when it
comes to international tax, it is nothing but boring. Malta’s
corporate tax system can be utilized for international trading,
holding, investing, finance, royalties, or mergers. Make sure your
accountant is proficient in relevant EU tax directives like the EU
Parent Subsidiary Directive, Interest and Royalties Directive, VAT
Directive, and Tax Merger Directive. Find out if your accountant
knows how to benefit from Malta’s international tax treaty
network. The knowledge and experience in a wonderful world of
international tax planning may save you tons of money. A
professional accounting firm guides you in making wise choices
while assuring tax and regulatory compliance.
- Find out what software they use. Is it user friendly and easily
understandable? Does it have mobile application?
- In case you already use your own preferred accounting program,
can it be matched with the accounting firm’s accounting
software, if you insist. Are they flexible to do it? Is your
accountant willing to learn and master your accounting software if
- Using state of the art technology saves time and money. Find
out what technology they use and how does it work for you. How does
it make your life easier, and cooperation with your accountant more
efficient? How does it save you money? For instance, can you upload
accounting documents easily? Does the system enable you to raise
invoices efficiently? Does it enable cloud sharing?
- Remote accounting is a must. With cloud accounting, you can
work on your real-time data directly with your accountant from any
- Storage of data, and security. How is data protected?
- If your Malta Co. has employees on a payroll, you need an
accountant with this experience and accounting software supporting
payroll accounting and tax compliance.
- Tax and regulatory compliance. You need a local professional
who knows the ropes and keeps you out of trouble. Find out if your
accounting firm has experience with Revenue Rulings and is fluent
in communication with the local tax authorities.
- Make sure your accounting firm has a professional indemnity
- Professional associations. You may find it beneficial that your
chosen accounting firm is a member of a professional association
like International Tax Planning Association or some international
federation or association of accountants.
- All Malta companies must be audited. Make sure your accountant
works with a reliable auditor or audit firm.
- Payment for accounting services. What methods of payments your
accounting firm accepts and supports? Bank transfer, Stripe,
PayPal? Find out the options and see if it meets your needs.
- Engagement letters and agreements. Make sure you have a written
engagement letter or agreement in place with the chosen accounting
- We save the best for the last: the fees. Less is more does not
work here. Like lawyers, accountants sell their time. The hourly
rates vary. The more professional and experienced the accountant
the higher the rate. However, a professional accountant using state
of the art software and technology is highly efficient, which saves
you time and money. When it comes to international tax planning,
tax compliance and saving your hard-earned money, it is worthwhile
to pay a little more and hire a top-notch professional to do the
job. Along the road, you will see where that extra euro goes. It is
your money at stake here, don’t focus on fees only. We have
seen this time and time again: choosing the cheapest service
provider may turn into a very expensive experience.
Most accounting firms have fixed monthly, quarterly, or annual
fees for non-resident customers. If your accounting exercise takes
more time, this is charged extra on top of agreed periodic fees.
Clients and their needs are different, so is the time spent on each
client different. For example, we have a customer who pays more
than EUR 10 000 annually for accounting because of complexity of
and time spent on the exercise. Make a budget for your accounting
fees and negotiate a deal on agreeable amount for both sides
depending on specific requirements of your business.
Why 1st Step?
Accounting requires knowledge of local and international laws
and regulations. This is a competence that we have curated over
many years in business. 1st Step’s expert team has many years
of combined experience — understanding the specifics, local
and international laws, and regulations. Malta has a beneficial
corporate tax system. We know how Malta works best for you, and how
it can be best utilized for efficient corporate structuring to your
Make good choices. Team 1st Step.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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