When Max Magnani moved to the U.S. in 1997 to set up the North American headquarters of a large Italian manufacturing company, he had to overcome a number of cultural and business challenges that most American CPAs are simply unprepared to deal with.
“In the U.S., the CPA is often just the person who makes the tax return,” explains Magnani. “In Italy, the CPA usually is the trusted person of the entrepreneur and the management. He is the person that takes care of certain aspects of the business. He is much more important as a spectrum of the entire enterprise – much wider than in the U.S.”
Building on his years of experience as a CEO, CFO and controller, the Bologna native recently started what may be the first CPA firm in Miami – Magnani CPA – specializing in the needs of Italian companies and investors who can now benefit from Magnani’s lifetime of business experience in Italy and the U.S.
“When an entrepreneur comes here and needs to set up a new branch or a business there are many angles of the business that must be considered,” Magnani observes.
“For example, it is not just a matter of different tax regulations or accounting principles between the U.S. and Italy. There is a cultural gap and a different model of business in addition to the language barrier.
“While Italian companies are usually more focused on the product, U.S. businesses tend to be driven by marketing, communications and distribution. Business plans are built on experience, which does not always translate directly from the experience in Italy,” he explains. “The interpretation of financial statements, the timeframe and cost to do business in the U.S. can also be difficult to understand.
“Most CPAs have no clue that such a gap exists and are unlikely to provide added value to the Italian company,” according to Magnani.
Having been trained as a CPA in both Italy and the U.S., Magnani now acts as a bridge for Italian businesses and entrepreneurs who must deal with the complexities of complying with multiple sets of financial and business regulations – whether they are looking for a new CPA or simply want to find a CPA who understands their unique business needs.
“Many Italian businesses are not in compliance and they risk heavy fines,” Magnani asserts. “There are many situations that sometimes the Italian entrepreneur is not aware of and Magnani CPA can help them bridge the gap between the Italian and U.S. way of doing things.”