Mark A. Aquilina, Senior Managing Partner, Chief Visionary Officer, and Founder of NOUV, is determined to continue enjoying leading the financial and management consulting firm until he retires, keeping a promise that he made when he founded it 16 years ago.
The firm has come a long way since he incorporated it back in 2008, with it initially being founded with the aim of providing traditional accounting and business advisory services to micro and small enterprises. Over the years, it has grown to offer integrated solutions across business functions in consulting, business support, and assurance services.
However, as he explained in the latest instalment of MaltaCEOs.mt’s end-of-year series, being at the helm of the firm in 2023 was challenging for various reasons, as it required him to constantly evolve and improve himself as a human being.
To Mr Aquilina, his 2023 is best summed up using the words “challenging, interesting, and evolving”.
“As always, each year is challenging on its merit in terms of meeting the budgets and dealing with difficult situations on both a human and a deliverables level,” he said.
Last year was particularly challenging, as he confirmed that NOUV acquired a majority shareholding in an audit firm, merging operations in this specific area. “We have yet to announce this move simply because we were busy settling down and maximising synergies between the two firms,” he continued.
On a personal level, Mr Aquilina noted that 2023 was interesting because he had the opportunity to visit countries he had never been to, namely Rwanda and Saudi Arabia. There he attended two conferences, named The African Sovereign Investment Forum, while the other one is called Cityscape. During the latter, he was a panellist on the topic “Leveraging Design and Technology to Create Net Zero Buildings and Infrastructure of the Future.”
During the year, he also “continued evolving as a human being,” trying to improve himself in every aspect.
“This year, I turned 50 and continued enforcing the promise I made to myself 16 years ago to enjoy it, and I will keep this promise until retirement,” Mr Aquilina pointed out.
One of the accomplishments from 2023 that he is most proud of is that together with his colleagues, the team continued increasing NOUV’s name in the market and in the industry, while also “laying the foundations for the future NOUV”.
“I am pleased to say that although we still have a long way to go, we succeeded in improving brand awareness,” he explained.
He remarked that thus, he is grateful for everything in his life, from his family and dog, to his colleagues, friends, and those individuals who he described as “anchors”.
Mr Aquilina spent the New Year getting some much-needed relaxation with his loved ones, enjoying some whiskey and watching football with his dog beside him. In 2024, he wants to enjoy more quality time with his family, and therefore he is planning on having more short breaks during the year.
In terms of a work-life balance, Mr Aquilina is also aiming to include more physical exercise into his daily routine, and might even split his working days into two in order to evenly distribute his workload.
When asked whether there is a particular skill he would like to work on in 2024, he found it quite tricky to answer, as he remarked that there is “always room for improvement on many fronts,” especially when it comes to soft skills.
Looking ahead, he sees himself managing a “bigger firm than the NOUV of today,” and hopefully visiting colleagues in a different country.
Mr Aquilina anticipates that 2024 will bring a number of opportunities, yet the most significant one is that the demand for business advisory services is increasing, and “many local companies will require such services” in the coming year.
“Furthermore, foreign markets might also be within reach for us. Finally, there might also be opportunities for further acquisitions or collaborations,” he added.
NOUV Senior Managing Partner, Chief Visionary Officer, and Founder Mark A. Aquilina
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