Introduction to the Island
Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004, is also known as the beautiful island of Aphrodite, providing a fascinating combination of the deep blue waters of the sea and its mountains.
It is the third largest Mediterranean island having an area of 9.251 sq. km. It is situated at the crossroads of three continents Europe, Asia and Africa and close to the busy routes linking Western Europe with the Arab World and the Far East. It is situated within four hours flying time from London, three from Moscow and two from Dubai. The island’s time zone is 7 hours ahead of New York and 7 hours behind Tokyo. The island has a pleasant and healthy climate with about 340 days of sunshine a year. The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia and the main industrial and commercial centre is Limassol.
The Island was a British colony until 1960 where at that time it was granted its independence and the Republic of Cyprus was established. In July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and until today it occupies 37% of the Island’s territory. The international community has condemned the invasion and occupation and has called for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops. None the less, even after so many years, the status quo created by the Turkish invasion is maintained. Today, Cyprus is a member of the European Union and the whole political situation has never been a matter towards the Island’s business expansion as it continues to grow becoming a major commercial centre.
The majority of its population around 80% are of Greek origin. The population of Cyprus in the Government Controlled area is around 789.300 .The republic’s official language is Greek and English is widely spoken and understood and is regularly used in commerce and government. The population is highly educated and international statistics show that it ranks third after USA and Canada in terms of university degrees per capita.
Cyprus has a presidential system of government which is modeled on western democratic systems where human rights, political and private property are safeguarded. The legal system is based on the same principles applicable in the United Kingdom. All statutes regulating matters and procedures are essentially based on English law and European Union system towards which Cyprus is harmonizing to comply with its obligations as being a member of the European Union Comity. Cyprus legislation includes laws that prevent money laundering as well as other illegal activities related to financial or drug crimes.
Cyprus has undergone a spectacular economic growth and today it enjoys very high standards of living, with low inflation and conditions of full employment and cost of living substantially lower than in most countries offering comparable conditions. Cyprus has an open economy, which is prospering and growing with emphasis on tourism and services. This economical success has its base on the solid macroeconomic system the Government holds as well as the highly educated labor force.
Cyprus accounting profession follows the international accounting and auditing standards. The accounting members of the local institute of Certified Public accountants of Cyprus are members of The Institute of Certified Public Accountants, USA (CPAs), The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants in UK.
Cyprus is a well developed economy with the strong infrastructure pointing at the islands growth. Cyprus banking system is highly developed and fast linked to the SWIFT transfer service system, consisting of many local and foreign commercial banks as well as a large number of offshore banking units . The Cyprus banks are highly efficient and financially sound, supervised by the Central Bank of Cyprus.
The Island has excellent transportation and telecommunication infrastructure. There are modern ports linking a wide range of destinations due to the island’s key geographical position and two international airports, one at Larnaca and one at Paphos, with frequent flights to the majority of the leading business centers. The road network is of dual carriage-ways linking all the towns and with respect to telecommunications.