The following interview was published in the supplement „Men in focus” of Kisalföld county daily newspaper in March 2021. Luca Pomaranszki journalist asked me….
After many years of work in APEH-revision, Zoltán Marczali, owner of the MASC Kft., switched to the “other side”, so he also knows the “operation” of the authority and the companies well. And both he and his clients are benefiting from that.
He has been working at the Social Security and the then APEH (Hungarian Tax and Financial Control Administration) as an auditor for 14 years before he founded an accountancy office. Was it difficult to change your mindsets?
Knowing how the tax authority works and thinks – I know, for example, what a tax inspector is paying attention to – is a big advantage. In fact, I’m still thinking a little bit like a tax inspector, not just an accountant doing his job and hoping that everything will be okay… I believe it is not worth avoiding paying taxes. On the one hand, because it is no longer possible to spend “unnoticed” what one earns in this way – and man is weak: the more money he earns, the more he spends… – and on the other hand, besides the current technical possibilities and methods of control of NAV (National Tax and Customs Administration), it is practically not possible.
Yet many people do…
Those are not my clients. My goal is to make them sure that they can operate legally in a way that is worth it to them. If a company manager claims that he is successful, but in the meantime, he reports only the half of his income, then in my eyes, he’s not successful. In addition, APEH started developing software to track economic events long ago, as early as in 2001 (!), and I had then already seen where this process might run out. Today, with the full introduction of the real-time account data service obligation, we have reached total control. We at MASC Ltd. therefore prefer to pre-empt the events.
In addition to domestic entrepreneurial morale and practice, did customers immediately accept that your accountants would not find “unofficial” loopholes for them?
The fact is that, sometimes they looked at me as if I had come from space: it was not always easy to make company managers understand this mindset, but most of them managed to pass it on so that they could not invest a lot of energy in how they could cheat, but rather how they could optimize the operation of their company, so that it would work well even without cheating. I am proud that so far there has been only one case in the last 19 years when a client has been punished during a tax audit.
Instead of a post-event tablet
At that time, you voluntarily verified as an inspector from Social Security to APEH, which was not a popular area even then…What drove you?
I have always been ambitious, I never thought that the knowledge I possessed today would be enough tomorrow. That’s why I’ve gained knowledge in more and more specialties, from accounting to taxation to labour. And that’s why my office can operate in an innovative way. I was disturbed that classical accounting is actually a “post-event pill”, since the average accountant is not actually interested in the operation of his client’s company in advance, mostly he only provides post-administrative services. I started working on how I could turn things around and provide as many pre- and real-time services and advice as possible. For example, our MZ/Xproject, a digitally based, up-to-date accounting process that provides customers with real-time information about their business situation.
The biggest challenge
Accounting is not typically considered as a creative profession, yet you have managed to come up with an innovative service. How does the strict world of accounting and creativity fit in with each other?
Just like I have duality in me: on the one hand, I’m basically loose, on the other hand, conscious and disciplined. I believe, for example, that you have to save money when the wagon is working best. Many entrepreneurs still live just for today, do not plan ahead. Big car, big property, luxury travels… Then when there’s trouble, the empire collapses.
Can it be the secret to success?
And the good team! I’m a team player totally because the greatest football star alone is worthless… Building a team is one of the biggest, never-ending challenges in a leader’s life, and I’m proud of my staff who help me succeed every day.
“I’ve always been a strategist type man. When I was young, as a football goalkeeper, I enjoyed seeing the whole field. I’m thinking in a system, and I have a strong urge to order, both physically and mentally. Both in my personal life and in my business.”