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John Kissane is the NY Area President and a Health & Welfare practice leader at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.one of the world’s largest insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firms with operations in 34 countries and client-service capabilities in more than 150 countries. Founded in 1927 by its namesake, Gallagher fosters a differentiated culture that reflects the company’s roots as a family business and the focus on delivering top-tier capabilities to clients. Below, John speaks to Finance Monthly about the employee benefits services that the company offers and tells us how employers can succeed in an increasingly difficult labor market.

Tell us more about the employee benefits services that Gallagher provides?

At Gallagher, we work hard to understand our clients’ industries, the markets in which they operate, and the unique constraints and opportunities that can affect their success. Rising healthcare costs, workforce issues, hiring challenges, legal risks, competitive positioning, financial strategy, compliance requirements—all of these factors impact employers’ ability to reach their full potential.

We are driven by a desire to help our clients - it’s something that all insurance companies strive for; better outcomes from better performance. That’s why we’ve developed Gallagher Better Works℠, our holistic approach to employee and organisational wellbeing. A better workplace attracts, engages and retains top talent at the right cost. This approach centres on strategic investments in employees’ health, financial wellbeing and career growth. It utilises data to gather insights and apply the best practices that promote productivity and growth.

Through the delivery of Gallagher's comprehensive approach to benefits, compensation, retirement, employee communications and workplace culture, our clients can optimise their annual talent investment, mitigate organisational risk and maximise profitability. Best of all, they gain a competitive advantage as a workplace that simply works better.

What trends are you seeing in the current health insurance and benefits landscape and how do you intend to keep up with these?

Healthcare costs continue to rise and we have seen an increase in creative funding mechanisms focused on bending the trend. Reference-based pricing, gap plans and split-funding products are a few examples. The need to control the cost of care and manage the health risk of employee populations has led to an explosion in solutions over the years. Gallagher is a trusted adviser to our clients. As such, our focus is on solving their challenges and recommending solutions that make sense for their specific organisational goals and objectives. This allows us to be entrepreneurial, and through our global network of professionals, we are connected to a vast array of vendors that can help meet our client’s needs.

What is the biggest challenge that employers face today? What would be your solution?

Attracting and retaining employees is a huge challenge, made more urgent due to the strong economy. Cultural and technological dynamics add to this – younger employees resist the idea of building a long career at one company, while at the same time they require proper skills and training to be productive while there.

How can employers succeed in an increasingly difficult labor market? You start by building a better workplace – one that truly engages key talent. Organisations must align their people strategy with their business goals. By focusing on the full spectrum of organisational wellbeing – and supporting their employees’ physical and emotional health, talents, financial health and career growth ‒ employers are able to realise a better return on their benefits investment.

What do you find businesses commonly fail to consider when it comes to employee benefits?

Far too often, companies fail to take a holistic, long-term approach to their benefits and compensation programs. In the struggle with managing healthcare costs, the “just get through the next renewal” mindset still exists. A recent survey of employers shows that 68% consider benefits and compensation cost management a top priority, yet 64% don’t have an effective strategy in place to achieve that goal. With multiple priorities, competing for employers’ attention, many turn to familiar tactics that no longer work.

A multi-year strategy that encompasses the entire total reward proposition and leverages insights, data analytics and best-in-class tools can lead to reductions in costs without sacrificing the value of the benefits offered to employees and their families.

 

Daniel D. Morris is the Founding Partner of the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Portland (Oregon) based CPA firm, Morris + D’Angelo, which focuses on servicing entrepreneurial families and their businesses. The firm utilises an integrated and holistic approach designed to help customers navigate the most complex and sensitive of matters.

Below, Daniel discusses the impact of Donald Trump’s new tax legislation, as well as the things that make Morris + D’Angelo unique when compared to other tax and business advisory firms in Silicon Valley.

 

What have been any recent tax policies or reforms in the US and how have they impacted your clients?

In December last year, President Donald Trump signed new tax legislation that changed the landscape of business and individual taxation. Corporate tax rates have been reduced by 40% and initiated a quasi-territorial tax system for corporations. Individual tax brackets have likewise been reduced, albeit only slightly. Individual based tax deductions have been significantly curtailed while increasing allowable standard allowances. Self-employed and associated pass-through businesses in most categories will also see reduced rates.

The most notable challenges the new legislation created are in the international arena. The new provisions created a global tax on intangibles (called GILTI) and imposes an effective 10.5% corporate level tax with the remainder excluded from income under the aforementioned quasi-territorial regime. Global structures owned and operated by individuals, families, estates, trusts, joint ventures, and pass-throughs pay a GILTI at upwards of 37% and do not receive the corporate level territorial exclusion.

This corporate versus individual disparity is creating terrific drama and challenges as advisers and taxpayers regroup their thinking as to how best to navigate global business operations while avoiding excessive taxation.

Morris + D’Angelo reacted swiftly to protect our customers’ options while providing best-of-class advisory and choices. This is an ongoing process as the legislation is so radically different in approach than the previous underlying taxation philosophy that served our country so well for nearly seventy years, that the primary concept we champion is to “hold on and prepare for more changes”.

 

Tell us about Morris +D’Angelo’s key priorities towards your clients? What differentiates the company as opposed to other tax and business advisory firms in Silicon Valley?

Our priorities are clearly developed around providing world-class services and options to a selected group of customers. Unlike traditional firms that charge by the hour and have a shotgun approach to customer attraction, selection, and retention, we utilise a more sniper-driven process.

Our customers share the following characteristics:

 

What would you say are the challenges of providing effective tax and business advice to entrepreneurial and family-based enterprises?

Challenges, of course, are certainly situational as no two families are alike. The most common challenge is likely gathering their full attention. Entrepreneurs are doers and they are hyper-focused on achieving measurable results and rarely invest in activities that require them to reflect and ponder their futures.

Additionally, there are inherent conflicts among generations in regards to desired outcomes, where to invest the family attention, and the legacies to be fulfilled. We’re also often faced with the, unfortunately, common challenges of blended families due to divorce, or changing demographics relative to marriage and family, and the likelihood of a geographically and/or societally mixed marriage (e.g. mixed religions can create estate and inheritance issues should people of mixed faiths marry, have children, and reside in countries that base inheritance laws on religious attributes compared to for example common law or civil law countries).

On top of this, the availability of information to both the lay and professional person exponentially increases the challenge. While the internet is great for research and ideas, it fails to provide context, wisdom, or judgement. True professionalism integrates knowledge, context, and experience to blend a better result. Accordingly, there are conflicts upon perceptions of what options might be available, in the minds of customers, compared to the conclusions provided by professionals. These conflicts are best resolved by active engagement, communication, compassion, and listening. These are hallmarks of our firm. We leverage both ears before we exercise our one mouth.

 

What are the most tax efficient structures for US entrepreneurial and family-based enterprises?

This depends on the context of the specific case. For global enterprises, operating in a traditional cross-border CFC (controlled foreign corporation) environment, the most tax efficient structure today is likely a corporation, as it limits the global GILTI tax impact, provides for territorial tax benefits and domestic tax (on domestic earnings) of 21% or less.

For real estate type businesses, pass throughs like LLCs and Limited Partnerships are likely to provide better after tax cash flows due to reduced tax rates on real estate activities and a single layer of taxation.

As for more common business, my advice is to model out their cash flows and determine which of the available models provides the best tax-based results, ease of management and control, long-term family considerations, privacy matters, and asset protection.

I should note that trusts are generally overlooked as an operating vehicle, but they can provide many benefits of ownership along with control, asset protections, and longevity. This is something that our customers frequently consider.

 

How can entrepreneurs structure their business portfolio in such a way that their personal tax liability is mitigated?

Our recommendation for the families that we advise is to utilise dynastic trust concepts where the trusts are formed in excellent asset protection jurisdictions. These protector-driven trusts mitigate the risk associated with claims, allow for multi-generational transfers, and provide protection for the family’s daily operations.

 

What are Morris + D’Angelo’s goals moving forward?

Our goals are to continue to expand our offices to more geographies with our targets to include Dallas, Miami, Washington, DC, New York, London, and Geneva. We will continue to grow our cross-border and multinational services dedicated to helping families achieve their goals, objectives, and success. We will remain nimble, flexible, and current as it relates to technology, economics, and governance. Finally, we will continue to have fun each and every day as it makes life easier and certainly more enjoyable.

 

Website: https://www.cpadudes.com/

 

About Daniel D. Morris

In addition to his work for Morris + D’Angelo where he serves customers in over 20 countries and 25 states, Dan is also the Co-founder of The VeraSage Institute, a think tank dedicated to helping professionals improve their pricing and customer centric economics. He’s been an author/instructor with professional CPA and related associations since 1998 and has been an adjunct professor for Foothill College located in Los Altos Hills, California. Dan is the only American to hold the prestigious Post Professional Graduate Diploma in Private Wealth Advisory - a programme sponsored by the Society of Trust and Estate Professionals in the UK.

Daniel has served numerous regional and national professional associations (California CPA Society and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) where he’s held several leadership positions including President of the Silicon Valley/San Jose Chapter along with the state-level governance council. He is also active in FinTech, including the blockchain and associated crypto currencies and is frequently interviewed by regional and national publications.

 

About Morris + D’Angelo

Morris + D’Angelo’s registered trademark is Not Just Another CPA Firm – and this really is the case! The company never charges clients by time incurred, but instead, they price for purpose which ultimately means that the customers pay for the results they’ve managed to achieve.

The firm was founded in the Silicon Valley in 1994 and over the years, has helped startups and entrepreneurs that have changed the world. The team at Morris + D’Angelo listens and understands what their customers want and need and strives to deliver results in abundance. Along with the company’s physical offices, Morris + D’Angelo has a personally crafted network of affiliations throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean and Latin America. The firm coordinates services in a timely basis in nearly every location that deliver results that are instrumental for success.

Roberto di Lauro is Partner at Business Support SpA - a Milan-based boutique financial advisory with additional offices in Singapore. The firm specialises in corporate and financial consultancy services for businesses, banks and investment funds, with a special focus on the SME market. Below, Roberto - head of the Bank Agency & Financial Services practice - tells us about the restructuring and turnaround services that Business Support offers and the firm’s approach when advising clients.

Can you detail the key steps that are involved when turnaround services are required?

It is not easy for an entrepreneur to admit that his company is experiencing difficulties. The first step, when facing the process of debt restructuring and business turnaround, is to do so promptly, critically identifying the factors that led to these difficulties and evaluating every possible solution, before adopting the most suitable one.

The assessment and management of the business in distress usually follows four main phases: diagnosis, planning, negotiation, execution.

The diagnosis allows the company to learn about the genesis of the factors that caused their financial difficulties. Timeliness of intervention and absolute criticality in reading the assessments are key factors during this phase.

The business planning is the key tool of the turnaround process: through the business plan, the company reaffirms their mission, highlighting the assets that are able to generate life blood for the core business, while eliminating everything that is no longer necessary or unproductive, with extreme focus on cost savings.

Negotiation is the most delicate phase of the entire process: at this stage the company needs to convince all stakeholders and, in particular, the creditors, of the soundness of the business plan, its ability to generate income and relaunch the company.

Execution is the end of a long period of evaluation, negotiation and hard work and represents the beginning of the process of relaunching the company.

 

What are the typical timescales for restructuring/turnover plans to start to have a positive effect? How is progress monitored?

Generally, there is a 10/12-month time span between the identification of the state of crisis and the start-up phase of the turnaround plan. The turnaround plan, depending on its underlying hypotheses, can begin to demonstrate its beneficial effects almost immediately. Very often, the early stages of the plans are characterized by important transactions: asset disposals, cost savings or partial repayment of loans. All these operations aim to deflate the financial tension and allow the company to activate a virtuous cycle of positive results. The monitoring of the execution of the plan usually involves periodic detection of key performance indicators. Monitoring of results must be the compass that guides the company. Since the early performance can often fail to meet expectations, this is a very delicate chapter of the restructuring process, where it might be necessary for the company to make small adjustments to their course of action.

 

What are the refinancing options available for Italian businesses in financial difficulty?

Today, the main restructuring and turnaround operations involving Italian firms in difficulty take place within the scope of the legal framework set by Italian bankruptcy law. As such, debt restructuring is an operation in which financial creditors allow companies to review repayment plans for their loans on the basis of a business plan prepared by the company assisted by a specialised adviser. The feasibility is assessed by a chartered accountant expert and, in some cases, by the Court of Law. When the turnaround plans manage to reach specific performance targets, many firms are able to refinance their residual debt, involving in the process the original lenders or even new ones, thus completing the restructuring process and opening the full-relaunch stage.

In the last few years in Italy, investment funds specialised in Non Performing Loans (NPL) and credit securitisation vehicles have started trading on distressed debts.

 

What is your advice regarding handling financial difficulties? 

It is very important for any company to recognize early symptoms of financial distress, choosing the appropriate professionals to assess their financial soundness.

Considering that all companies and organisations are different from one another, the same goes for each crisis, turnaround process and solution. It is very difficult to create specific clusters and only a successful track record demonstrates how any consultant was actually able to make an impact, assisting the client in transitioning into a new phase of their business life cycle. Companies that have been through a turnaround process will be more likely to learn from their sorrow, gaining extensive experience and the tools to finally achieve their targets.

 

Phone: +39 346.4708468 - Tel.: +39 02.89013129

Fax: +39 02.72015926

Email: roberto.dilauro@business-support.it

Website: www.business-support.it

 

Based in Germany, Westphal+Partner offers a wide range of independent tax, accounting and audit services, specialising in small and medium-sized foreign-owned enterprises doing business in Germany. Besides that, the firm acts as a controlling unit for the investor ensuring oversight. As CPAs, Westphal+Partner’s accounting operates risk-oriented detecting and avoiding misstatements during the accounting process, preventing changes at the annual financial statement. Finance Monthly speaks to Partner Ingrid Westphal-Westenacher, who tells us what clients expect from an accountant and shares the challenges that her firm faces.

 

From your experience, what do clients actually want from an accountant?

Our customers have decided to hire experts to solve a problem that has nothing to do with their core business. They want to focus on their business idea without losing sleep thinking about tax payments and accounting. Once entrepreneurs decide to outsource bookkeeping or get help from a tax advisory, they expect viable solutions enabling long-term success. And they are right to do so. An outsourced bookkeeping must be objectively and legally correct at any time, while also being up-to -date. Since corporate tax in Germany tends to be quite complex, especially for people with scant knowledge of the local tax codes, clients should expect their tax adviser to explain tax issues in a comprehensible manner, so they can make the right decisions.

 

How do you make sure to keep up with you clients’ expectations?

Communication - not just with the business owner, but with the management and the staff too.

 

What challenges would you say you and your firm encounter on a regular basis? How are these resolved?

One challenge that we face is knowing our clients’ business, plans, expectations, and needs. Only by knowing all of them, you are truly able to advise clients on a rational basis. One way to resolve this issue is to build a relationship of mutual trust. In order to do so, we firstly articulate what customers can expect from us, clearly defining our services and explaining our proceedings. With this certainty, customers know what to expect from us, so they can focus on their businesses without worrying about taxation or accountancy standards.

Foreign clients add a cultural dimension to the customer relationship - an aspect often underestimated and frequently resulting in underlying frictions. People from different parts of the world have different cultural preferences and backgrounds; i.e. some people from China have a different attitude when it comes to taxation, when compared to people from Germany. The essence of it is to avoid pointing out the differences, but instead, to make sure that both sides fully understand how the other side’s processes and systems work. To avoid any kind of misunderstandings, we not only pay close attention to these differences, but, for example, we also have colleagues in our team who are Chinese or have lived in China and are familiar with the culture.

 

How are these challenges set to change, in conjunction with the advent of technologies and the potential future needs of clients?

Both challenges will persist, even with the advent of technologies. However new technologies are already disrupting audit and bookkeeping. Today, clients can check the books at the end of the month online and see how their business performed. In the future, bookkeeping will be a fully automated process with real-time results, by the day, enabling better oversight and steering and even fewer costs due to AI-powered accounting software.

As a long-term former Chairwoman of the working group Quality Assurance SME at the Institute of Public Auditors in Germany (IDW), I’m convinced we will see significant changes in the field of auditing. Tool-based data analytics will enable us to read out process data and check them by sophisticated data algorithm. This will put auditors in an unrivalled position to consult the client on strategic decisions.

 

What’s your piece of advice to our readers?

When the decision to outsource bookkeeping has been made, try to hire an accounting firm run by CPAs. Accounting firms with a pure background in tax sometimes tend to disregard the code of commercial law, focusing narrowly on tax law; thereby causing problems with the mandatory preparation of the balance sheet under the German commercial law, and insofar causing unnecessary trouble and costs. Finally, trust your gut feeling when hiring an accounting company - it is very important to feel at ease and understood by your adviser. Be cautious of people hiding behind technical jarring.

 

Website: https://www.westphal-wp.de/

 

Finance Monthly speaks to Pierre-Noël Formigé, the Founder and CEO of Swiss company SEQUOIA, about the wealth management and estate planning solutions that his company provides, as well as his tips on maintaining and growing wealth for future generations.

 

Can you tell us about the core services that SEQUOIA offers?

SEQUOIA offers a holistic approach of wealth management thanks to a genuine "open architecture" which includes: wealth management, establishment of funds, management of funds - advice and follow-up, estate planning (trusts, foundations, companies), services of family offices, life insurance, financing (real estate, aircrafts, boats), reports and record keeping, risk management, compliance and regulatory assistance.

 

What would you say are the particular benefits for individuals of having professional assistance in relation to managing their wealth?

There are numerous benefits for individuals that decide to trust SEQUOIA with their wealth management. Our aim is not only to offer financial services, but also a financial experience and networking. Each solution and experience that we offer are specifically and uniquely tailored. SEQUOIA’s modularity and extensive experience allow for easy adaptation to our clients’ expectations.

 

What strategies do you and your team at SEQUOIA implement to ensure that your clients’ goals and objectives are achieved?

At SEQUOIA, clients are in the centre of our decision-making processes - they are our key priority. We have developed a well-informed overview of each of our clients’ financial situation, as well as a better understanding of clients’ goals and limitations.

Every portfolio construction starts with a discussion with the client or its representative, in order to fully understand their objectives and deliver a tailored-made investment proposal, allowing to approach and negotiate with partners. Our team can, at the request of the manager, take on a direct role in the relationship with customers, in accordance with their objectives and needs.

 

In your experience, are individuals fully aware of their assets and worth so that they can take advantage of tax planning?  Which types of assets are usually missed?

SEQUOIA’s clients are fully aware of their assets, however, they might not be fully aware of their tax impact. We ensure that clients have better tax awareness, as it does have the potential to improve individuals’ returns. According to surveys, while many factors impact investors, the majority of high-net-worth investors say that it’s more important to minimize the impact of taxes when making investment decisions, thus we offer the right measures to help high-net-worth clients reduce the taxes owed on income and investment gains.

In order to do so, we put a lot of effort in selecting the right investment products. We try to take advantage of some losses, and implement additional strategies that can help our clients to manage, defer, and reduce taxes. However, sometimes, clients do not mention their real estate assets, which could have an effect on tax planning; we provide advisory services in relation to that too.

 

What solutions do you offer in respect of maintaining and growing wealth for future generations of the same family?

Transmitting heritage built from generation to generation and building a better future for entrepreneurs is the essence of SEQUOIA Group. Our team of professionals provides high-quality services in order to manage our clients’ wealth, taking future generations into account.

From portfolio management - with tailor-made investment solutions matching the clients’ needs, to liability management - which includes heritage planning, distribution agreements, trustee and real estate project management, SEQUOIA provides a cost-effective turnkey solution based on legally compliant practices to deal with the impact of new regulatory landscape and the different legal, technical and operational risks.

 

How challenging is it to work in an ever-changing regulatory environment?

It is obvious that the status quo cannot be maintained in this ever-changing regulatory environment, however, SEQUOIA’s approach regarding this is to constantly adapt and understand those changes to serve our clients better. Choices that have been made in the past may not be completely relevant in today’s environment or vice versa, but our job is to continuously develop strategies that are relevant to our clients.

 

Website:

http://www.sequoia-ge.com

Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb and Uber are regularly cited as examples of major disruptors. However, there are many more examples on the horizon. Electric and driverless cars will soon disrupt many industries including automobile manufacturing, rental, leasing and motor insurance markets, while the growing popularity of robo-advisors already threatens the existence of traditional financial advisors. For most large companies today, it is a question of when, rather than if, digital will upend their business. Jonathan Wyatt, Managing Director and Global Head of Protiviti Digital, talks to Finance Monthly about the future and direction of management consultancy worldwide.

Management consultancies tend to thrive during periods of rapid and significant change. Many consultancies flourished in the years following the financial crisis as financial institutions struggled to comply with new regulations and needed advice on dealing with more intense regulatory scrutiny. A decade on, the global landscape is facing a more pressing strategic challenge: to innovate and develop solutions that meet consumer and business demands for efficiency, convenience and ease-of-use. The top strategic risk identified by Protiviti’s Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2018,[1] is the rapid speed of disruptive innovations and/or new technologies that may outpace an organisation’s ability to compete and/or manage the risk appropriately unless it makes significant changes to its business model.

Tellingly, the second risk highlighted by survey respondents relates to the overall resistance to change within the organisation. Respondents were concerned that their organisation might not be able to adjust core operations in time to make the necessary changes to the business model to keep the company competitive. Even when executives are aware of the disruptive potential of emerging technologies, it is often difficult for them to envision the nature and extent of change, and have the decisiveness to act on that vision. Management consultants are, therefore, positioning their businesses in terms of expertise and skillset to meet the demand from companies looking to conquer those internal and external digital challenges.

To date, the digital experience of many companies has been focused on the digital “veneer” as organisations look to launch and grow digital channels. This is often restricted to customer-facing products, such as websites, apps and payments channels. Often, they have not made the same progress with the digital transformation of their internal processes, even when this has a direct impact on these digital channels. For example, in the mortgage market customers can apply online for a mortgage in minutes. At many of the established banks, the digital mortgage application remains analogue, with traditional credit review and approval processes that take many weeks to complete. Surprisingly, these traditional processes often include regular communication by post rather than embracing digital signatures.

Organisations are gradually realising that core digitalisation, as well as a cultural change to embrace the digital mind-set, is necessary to compete on the new digital stage. To achieve this, some organisations must advance beyond the use of legacy technologies and systems, and they can sometimes be averse to implementing new policies and ways of working. Consultancy firms advise these organisations on modernising their security policies and demonstrating the advantages of using the advanced technology tools that are now available. This will help with the execution of certain cyber-security and digital projects and the development of proof-of-concepts, thereby improving an organisation’s overall security profile.”

Misunderstanding regulations is often given as an excuse for not innovating. Organisations think the new regulations are more complex than they really are and that by innovating/changing their systems, there is a greater chance of falling out of compliance. But digital leaders are more flexible; they look for solutions rather than excuses and are embracing advanced technology to their advantage.

The advancing tide of demand for digital services will fuel current and future business for consultancy firms. Consultancies are ramping up their expertise and skillsets to provide advice on digital strategies and change management programmes as well as implementing core digitalisation projects. Although there will be no shortage of consulting work, the move to a more digital focus will impact the traditional consulting business and pricing models. As a result, the management consultancy industry is not immune to the wave of disruptive change.

To succeed in the digital race, legacy firms need to put digital at the heart of their business, which encompasses a cultural change to think digitally first. Consultancies should challenge their teams and clients to change their mind-set, put digitalisation at the forefront of all projects and think like a technology company – using technologies such as robotic process automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence to drive efficiencies for the company and consumers. Consultancies also need to be at the forefront in digital thinking to ensure they offer the brightest talent, expertise and experience to help their clients embrace the digital challenge and face the future with confidence.

[1] Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2018, Protiviti and North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative, December 2017, available at www.protiviti.com/toprisks.

Finance Monthly speaks to James Butler – experienced practitioner, business adviser to SMEs and Consulting Partner at GBW – an Irish company that wants to make sure that a choice exists for those smaller businesses that require a more hands-on approach than that offered by the larger firms.

 

What are the key services that GBW offers to clients?

We are a mid-tier firm of accountants and business advisers with varying specialties and backgrounds. Our services range from assisting with Audit, Assurance, Taxation and Accounting, through to Business Advisory and Corporate Recovery. Our cross-border service offering, business approach and sector expertise is primarily designed to support Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, or organisations of equivalent scale, with existing or planned international operations.

GBW is an independent member of TGS – a global accountancy and legal network of independent firms specialising in the provision of accounting, audit, tax, business advisory and commercial legal services.

 

Tell us more about TGS?

Not all networks that are part of the group are the same. TGS member firms are all independently owned and share an entrepreneurial approach to their own and clients’ businesses. We have a shared commitment to the highest levels of technical expertise and professional standards. Our clients enjoy a rapid access to quality assured in country experts across the world, via a single point of contact.

We recognise that every client is unique and our cost-effective solutions are tailored to our clients’ unique requirements. Whether they require a full suite of accounting and business solutions or a one-off specialist service, TGS Global can provide precisely what our clients require, no more and no less.

 

You have extensive experience in Insolvency & Corporate Restructuring, and have acted as liquidator in both creditor and member voluntary liquidations. What does your role within GBW entail?

In my role within GBW, I deal with banks and financial institutions in all areas concerning distressed property and non-performing loans. I’ve also been involved in debt management and refinancing for both companies and individuals.

Additionally, I am also an experienced practitioner in taxation and business advice for businesses in the area of the licensed trade, professional services and medical practitioners.

 

 

GBW’s Services:

Audit and Accounting

We aim to help our clients see the audit process as a benefit to their business, not just a cost.

Taxation

Our taxation department has expertise in all categories of taxation, both our corporate to personal clients.

Business Advisory Services

All businesses require planning – form start-ups to mature businesses. Our business advisory experts can assist with the planning and execution.

Accounting

Our Accounts department provides all types of assistance, whether be in-house or out sourced, we have the expertise.

Corporate Finance

If you are selling, buying or merging a business. If you are making an investment or raising finance – we can help with the decision making process.

Forensic and Litigation Support

In today’s changeable economic environment, business disputes are becoming more frequent and litigation is on the increase. At GBW, we draw on the firm’s wide expertise of our accounting professionals to advise our clients in claims assessment and provide independent expert accounting witness services.

Recovery and Restructuring

We are leaders in the provision of insolvency and restructuring services. Our team comprises of insolvency experts, forensic specialists and support staff who work together to provide a comprehensive and complete solution to any restructuring or insolvency project.

 

Website: http://gbw.ie

Matt Crawley is Corporate Finance Partner at accountants, business advisers and financial planners Lovewell Blake, one of the leading independent firms in East Anglia. He works closely with business owners across the region to help them develop and realise strategic aspirations, managing both the process and specialist advisers and lawyers. This month, Finance Monthly reached out to Matt to hear about his business development tips.

 

What would you say are the three key points for businesses to address when developing their businesses?

The Right People

Particularly for owner-managers, developing the second-tier management team, as well as attracting and retaining key talent, is a big challenge. Often, entrepreneurs baulk at paying for someone to run their business, something they may have been doing for some time, but recognising the necessity of this is a big factor in allowing the business to develop and grow.

 Businesses can be successful, but in order to continue to grow, it is important that the management team is developed. If this does not happen, the leader cannot effectively lead the business and strategically plan for growth. It also means that the routes to an exit plan are blocked: a business with a strong management team is a more attractive prospect to a trade buyer when the founder wants to retire, and if that doesn’t happen, it also opens up the opportunity for an MBO.

The need to retain key talent outside the senior management team is also a big factor, particularly in those sectors where IP is a big issue. Losing a key individual at the wrong time can effectively put the brakes on growth, so it is important to have the right structures in place to incentivise and retain key talent – for example putting in place an EMI scheme so that key people will themselves benefit from business growth.

Making sure you have the right people is just as important as finding new customers when it comes to business development. Often, the most successful growing companies are the ones where the entrepreneur has less to do – so that they can concentrate on driving that growth.

 

Managing Cash flow

It may seem obvious, but having robust financial systems in place is crucial for business development. Growth, and in particular rapid growth, can drain a business of cash, and many developing businesses under-estimate the amount of funding required to achieve that growth.

The big challenge here is to ensure that you have robust financial projections, which accurately reflect the needs of the business as it grows. Not only will doing so remove many surprises, it will also make it easier to find funding, as lenders and other funders will take a business more seriously if it can demonstrate that it understands the financial challenges inherent in developing itself.

It is important to stress test the assumptions you make in creating these projections, as well as the projections themselves, through scenario planning. Developing a business seldom goes entirely according to plan, and the trajectory for growth can be knocked off course by any number of external and internal factors.

Of course, sourcing the funding for growth is a challenge in itself. Whilst traditional lenders are now more open to proposals than they were five years ago, there are also now more routes than ever to finance, and it is important to explore them all in order to find the one which is right for a particular business.

It is clear that attitudes are changing: for example, younger entrepreneurs are open to the concept of using a discount facility – borrowing against invoices – in a way that an older generation of business owner might not be. Whereas in the past this would be viewed as debt factoring, something which might look as if a business was in trouble, now it is accepted as a legitimate way to raise funding for growth (and in any case is much more discreet than it used to be).

 

The Right Infrastructure

One of the main challenges in developing a business is to ensure that the infrastructure of the business is suitable for the particular stage of its growth. We often see firms which retain a start-up mindset even as they grow into multi-million businesses.

There are all sorts of infrastructure issues to think about to facilitate business development, from the expertise required to manage that growth; making sure that the business’s premises are suitable to accommodate growth (and finding both the right premises and the funding to move if they are not); a suitable legal framework; and ensuring that the brand is strong enough to be credible with the type of larger customers which growth often brings with it.

Perhaps the two major infrastructure challenges are finance and HR. It’s not just a question of compliance: getting these two right can make a big difference both in the company’s ability to deliver growth – and to do so profitably.

 

You work with clients from a variety of sectors; are there ways in which their business development needs differ?

Very definitely. All of the above challenges will apply to most growing businesses, but some will be more important than others in any individual sector.

For example:

 

What are the main barriers to business development?

Often tackling the challenges I have outlined can be seen by smaller businesses simply as a cost, which can be avoided. But our most successful clients are the ones which are prepared to engage with us and invest in the support needed to make growth happen.

Development support can only come from advisers who genuinely understand the business, who take the time to measure what needs doing – and their own progress towards achieving those goals – and who provide structured advice and a challenge to the entrepreneur.

 

Website: https://www.lovewell-blake.co.uk

RSM Malta is a professional services and advisory firm with a strong team of professionals with decades of experience assisting clients from a range of industries. The firm’s goal is to be the firm of choice to leading businesses in Malta, offering an excellent and personalised service.

To hear about Tax in Malta, this month Finance Monthly spoke with Dr Timothy Zammit, who has recently been made partner at RSM Malta within the tax and corporate services unit, after having joined the firm in 2010 as a tax lawyer. Together with a team of professionals, Timothy is responsible for assisting clients with their corporate and tax advisory needs.

 

As a newly appointed Partner at RSM Malta in the tax advisory and corporate services, what are the key services that you assist clients with?

Together with fellow tax partner, George Gregory, and a team of financial and legal professionals, I assist clients with enhancing their fiscal efficiencies through the setting up of companies, special purpose vehicles and corporate restructuring while providing transactional support in acquisitions, mergers and divisions, together with business succession planning while ensuring clients’ full compliance with their tax and corporate obligations. I also advise clients on matters including personal taxation, benefitting from one of the tax residence programmes, taking up residency in Malta and applying for Maltese citizenship.

 

How complex is the tax system in Malta?

Malta’s tax system is fully compliant with EU Directives and also includes a number of elements that are attractive to both businesses and individuals. Malta is the only EU Member State that has maintained the full imputation system while imposing tax according to the nature of the income’s source. A cornerstone of Malta’s tax system is that universal taxing rights are claimed on persons (both individuals and companies) that are both resident and domiciled in Malta. Malta has also been moving towards a system based on final taxation at source, primarily on property transactions, in the past years. It is the interoperation of these complexities that makes Malta such an attractive option.

 

In your opinion, are there any unique advantages of conducting business in Malta from a tax perspective?

While Malta’s corporate tax rate is one of the highest in Europe at 35%, at a time where there is a trend of lowering corporate tax rates, the full imputation system offers a business-friendly environment, while eliminating economic double taxation. Malta’s tax system provides shareholders the right to credit the tax paid by the company to their personal tax liability. Where the shareholders’ tax rate is lower than the 35% corporate tax rate, they may apply for a refund between their applicable tax rate and that of the company. This is available to both residents and non-residents, offering a favourable and business-friendly tax environment.

Malta not only offers an attractive tax regime. The ‘can do’ attitude that is adopted by the authorities in regulating and doing business in general, coupled with the Mediterranean lifestyle gives investors a very appealing option.

 

How do you help your clients mitigate their tax liability whilst remaining fully compliant with tax laws?

When dealing with cross border businesses, an international tax advisor can never only look at the situation in one jurisdiction – as any solution is only a solution if it works in all the right jurisdictions. It is through the availability of reliable professionals globally with the right experience and background being part of RSM, that we may truly assist clients ensuring that they are fully compliant.

 

 You’ve recently been made Partner – what does this mean to you? How will your current responsibilities change? What are the goals that you’re arriving with?

Being made Partner in a firm with 170 professionals is a strong vote of confidence by my fellow Partners that gives me renewed enthusiasm to continue contributing to the firm’s growth and solidifying RSM’s position as the mid-tier firm of choice. My role as Partner comes at a challenging time where the industry is facing a multitude of challenges, ranging from changes to tax systems globally in the light of the financial crisis, BEPS and the trend of full disclosure and exchange of information to the industry disruption that will be caused by technologies such as the Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence in the coming years. The challenge is to be able to help identify and adopt the right approach that will guarantee our clients’ continued future success while ensuring that they are fully compliant with their obligations in all the jurisdictions that they operate.

 

Website: www.rsm.com.mt

Phone: +356 2278 7000

To hear about taxation in India, this month Finance Monthly reached out to Shipra Walia – Managing Partner at W S & Co. With her experience in Corporate Taxation & Advisory spanning over 12 years, Shipra is experienced in opining on international tax issues, valuations, ICDS, FATCA, interpretation of treaties, group reorganization options, transfer pricing issues, due diligence, inbound/outbound options and expat taxation. Her tax compliance work includes representation before the tax authorities, including settlement commission.

 

International organisations continue to spend more time and resources managing tax liabilities in both their local and overseas markets. What tax efficient structures are available in India to businesses with international interests?

There are many forms of incorporation in India as per which a person can enter into Indian market:

All of these structures have their different tax forms. Further, India has recently laid down rules and framework for the foreign tax credit adjustments as per which the person doing business in India or with India or Indian entity doing business in other parts of the world will be able to claim hassle free credit / setoff[1] of the taxes paid in other different countries.

 

Is the India’s tax regime more suited to particular types of business? If so what are they and what makes them suited to India?

India is already a hub for the Services Industry. Currently, with the focus of the Indian Government on the concept “Make in India” and with the various time-to-time relaxations provided in the Foreign Direct Investment norms, all businesses have a scope in India.

 

How do you help your clients mitigate their tax liability whilst remaining fully compliant with tax laws?

Planning from the initiation of the transaction is key. It is our foremost intention to keep our clients updated of the new events, news or any changes happening which helps them with planning their business strategy.

 

Can tax saving initiatives be kept up-to-date, especially in light of changing legislation? What happens if a current tax plan is no longer viable because of legislative changes?

Yes, any legislative change gives you enough time to act and adjust accordingly.

However, there may be times when certain changes are made without room for profitable amendments in the on-going initiatives. In such cases, we make sure to help clients with understanding the most profitable option or finding the best way possible.

 

If you could, what would you change about the tax legislation in India?

India’s tax legislation is 60 years old and in my opinion, there are numerous major issues which are either settled by the Apex court or are being amended. However, as India is pacing with the world’s economy, as well as the laws and legislations prescribed by various international authorities, thankfully, the legislation itself keeps on changing almost every year.

 

Website: www.wsco.in

www.shiprawalia.in

 

[1] Subject to the conditions provided and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between countries

Alumnus of Wharton School (General Management) and The Doon School (India’s top School), Business Advisor by profession, and mountaineer at heart, Suraj Nangia strongly believes in living life off the edge, he has climbed 4 out of the seven summits - Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mt. Elbrus (Europe), Mt. Aconcagua (South America), Mt. Kosciuszko (Australia) and Mt. Cook (New Zeeland).

A true sports enthusiast, he is national swimmer and participated in India’s Longest race (19 km) in 2001 and ranked 24/150, played state cricket and represented U-19 for Delhi, represented State U-15 & U-17 in Squash.

Salsa is the flavour of his life and lets him connect to his soul. He was a salsa dance instructor at Salsa India between 2007 and 2015, still manages to attend salsa nights to keep his feet moving.

He has all the prerequisite to be a successful entrepreneur - a risk taker, somebody who can persevere through all odds, one who has an in depth knowledge of the domain, somebody privy to the burning needs of an industry, one who constantly strives to achieve more.

Second in command of a 220 + professionals firm, Nangia & Co. LLP, a consultancy firm that offers 360 degree services to clients across verticals, helping its clients with India Entry Strategy, Handling complex international M&A Matters, corporate taxation, professional taxation, international taxation, indirect taxation, transfer pricing, litigation support, corporate governance, risk advisory, IFRS services, corporate financial advisory and audit& assurance. Apart from leading the Tax, Compliance and M&A practice, Suraj also handles all financial matters of the firm. Foreseeing the growth opportunity owing to ‘Start-up India’, he recently established a dedicated practice catering the start-ups in India.

His zeal to never stay static and to keep moving has hugely fuelled Nangia & Co.’s growth trajectory - be it in terms of expanding to new verticals or to keeping the cycle of learning running.

 

What is India’s M&A growth trajectory?

M&A is the path businesses take to achieve exponential and not just linear growth and therefore continues to generate interest. The Indian M&A landscape is no different. Mergers and acquisitions have become an integral part of the Indian economy and daily headlines. Based on macroeconomic indicators, India is on a growth trajectory, with the M&A trend likely to continue.

There has been a spate of high-profile transactions in India in the last few years, whether domestic or international, and both inbound and outbound. With the government continually working towards reforms on all fronts, be it in its regulatory policies to attract foreign investors, providing an impetus to the manufacturing sector with Make in India, improving India’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, or providing solace to the much-beleaguered infrastructure sector by paving the path for real estate investment trusts (REITs)/infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs), there is no looking back.

M&A deals are likely to be the favoured route for foreign direct investment flows into India in 2017, as market consolidation is expected in sectors facing a cash crunch such as e-commerce and telecommunications. The renewable energy sector is likely to see M&A deals, but it could also attract Greenfield investments. The new insolvency and bankruptcy regime will also facilitate the sale of distressed assets, and thereby a hike in M&A activity.

 

What about the tax concerns that new entrants will have?

Ever since the Vodafone tax litigation took the Indian M&A landscape by storm in 2007, tax aspects surrounding any M&As in India came to the forefront—so much so that corporates have now started taking tax insurance to insulate themselves from the uncertainties and vagaries of interpretation of Indian tax laws. Of course, while the government is making strides in trying to deliver the comfort of certainty to the investor community (by issuing clarifications on various aspects of indirect transfers), it is also tightening the screws on various fronts—the renegotiation of India’s tax treaties, the looming advent of General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) in 2017 and the signing of Multilateral Instrument under Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project.

 

What differentiates Nangia & Co. from its competitors?

While other firms lay emphasis on the number of resources, Nangia & Co LLP from the very beginning had decided to remain a boutique firm so as to provide personalized and competent services to clients. Having been in the industry for over 35 years, the team still consists of about 220 people who work in close quarters with the rest of their teammates. This lends a sense of openness and ownership among all the resources. Another major factor is the competency of our people who keep themselves updated with the going ons of the industry and moving ahead with the times. There is a healthy mix of domain experts who bring to the table their own expertise which helps the firm impart 360 degree services across a section of verticals.

 

Contact Details:

Suraj.nangia@nangia.com

www.nangia.com

 

 

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