Auditing, consultation, human resource training, and international programs. These are the key functions of the Havana International Center (CIH), affiliated with the Ministry of Higher Education and regulated by the Comptroller General of the Republic.
Founded almost 25 years ago, the CIH offers consultation and advisory services to businesspeople interested in the island’s market; has a staff of over 500 accredited consultants and auditors; as well as the necessary capacity to support companies looking to establish themselves as concessionaries or users in the Mariel Special Development Zone.
To the title of its 25th anniversary bulletin (“Distinguished by the professionalism and experience of our auditors and consultants”) must be added the words of Vivián Colls Puente, vice president of Auditing Services, summarizing the institution’s qualities and its commitment to “Defending of the Revolution.”
In 2017, the Center received the National Vanguard Collective Award from the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC), for the fourth year in a row.
With 126 employees, the trade union distinction is not only recognition of the immense value of staff, directors, and the Center’s organizations, but also provides a good pretext to take a closer look at the institution.
FROM A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE TO INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS
The Havana International Center is a commercial enterprise specializing in professional services with four main lines of work, all of which are regulated by Cuban auditing standards.
“We comply with all the guidelines established by the Comptroller General and conduct audits in according with the annual plan approved by the Comptroller, as well as others depending on the kinds of requests we receive from entities and enterprises,” states Coll Puente.
“The CIH also has another line of work, which is consultancy. We offer professional consultancy services across the entire range of knowledge-related activities.
“Our other line of work is human resource training. This includes preparing courses in accordance with the characteristics of the entity that has requested it.
“Lastly, we have international programs. Here we manage sending University professors to Venezuela and other countries, where they will offer different services depending on the requirements of that country.”
THE CIH is celebrating its 25th anniversary. What started out as a Cuban-French joint-enterprise specializing in professional services, is today a 100% Cuban entity supported by the country’s higher education institutions.
“Here, although there are staff from the Center itself,” explains Coll Puente, “the majority of services we offer and activities we undertake are done so with university professors who work with various national or international entities which request our professional services; as such our services also contribute revenue to the country.”
Regarding the services the center offers abroad, Vivián Colls Puente mentions professor exchanges, specialist courses, as well as Masters and PhD degrees.
“We offer guidance services for graduates. All of these are postgraduate activities we undertake abroad. We also offer specialized services for professionals.
“In regards to auditing, we have links with various international institutions that we work with conducting audits on foreign entities in Cuba.
“Another factor is that we have various types of audits, not just financial ones. We are conducting an audit on investments to see how they are being implemented. This is how we detect any discrepancies there might be in the programs or records.
“We also offer auditing for production lines, for which we have multi-disciplinary teams, featuring not only financial auditors, but also our own university professors, such as civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers, etc… depending on the characteristics of the investment and of the client entity.”
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
It would have been illogical to waste the opportunity to talk about the CIH’s status as a National Vanguard Collective, given that such a distinction has been awarded to only a few Ministry of Higher Education affiliated entities.
“We modestly try our best to fulfill our commitments, which we always do. This is why we have been awarded this recognition by the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC): for fulfilling our activities both in regards to professional services and revenue plans, in terms of Cuban Convertible Pesos, exports, and Cuban National Pesos.
“This is an entity characterized by its commitment to defending the Revolution, struggling for our Revolution across all spheres of knowledge-related activities within our reach. This is what our daily efforts really consist of, and we achieve results and the recognition of the CTC.”