Life in Transfer Pricing as an Associate
Say hello to Charlie Walsh, Transfer Pricing Associateat Grant Thornton. Charlie answers some questions below to help us understand what life is like in Transfer Pricing. We hope you enjoy Charlie's story and it gives you insight into Grant Thornton and the Transfer Pricing team.
What is the name of your service line, which office(s) are you in, and when did you join?
I work in the Transfer Pricing ('TP') team in Reading, and I joined in June 2018.
What does your service line do?
Companies that have subsidiaries in different tax jurisdictions will likely need for there to be a flow of goods and/or services between those subsidiaries in order for the business to function; however, as subsidiaries will operate in different tax jurisdictions with different tax rates, there is a temptation for some companies to ‘shift’ their profit to subsidiaries in parts of the world where they won’t have to pay as much tax on it.
This is understandably an area of great interest for tax authorities, and they may want to ensure that a given company with international subsidiaries operating in their jurisdiction is not doing this. We assist these companies in demonstrating that their policy is reasonable, primarily by creating documentation in accordance with the guidelines provided by the OECD.
What do you do in a typical day/week?
In terms of the parts of my job specifically to do with my service line, I spend a lot of time helping produce various types of documentation for our clients that is compliant with the aforementioned guidelines. The other main part of my job is doing something called ‘benchmarking’ transactions, which involves working out a range of percentage mark-ups which would be considered acceptable by tax authorities.
What have you done in the last few days?
I created a spreadsheet to combine figures from a client and figures provided by GT’s international firms, in order to highlight the inconsistencies that needed to be sorted out before the figures were submitted to HMRC;
I helped to conduct a couple of benchmarks involving product sales between entities for a couple of clients;
I received a reviewed document back, and added more information to it in light of some new information that the client provided us;
After some final decisions were made to a benchmark involving management services, I re-created a couple of spreadsheets with the final sample of comparable companies for use in the client’s documentation.
Which skills do you think are most important in your stream?
Attention to detail is the most important skill, in my opinion: not only does it help with ensuring that the documentation produced by the team is well presented, but being able to spot errors or inconsistencies – particularly early on in a project – is very valuable. Organisation is also very important, as staying on top of things when one has different tasks to complete for multiple clients at any one time is essential.
What kind of client contact have you had so far?
I have had a good amount of client contact so far: currently, I have a client meeting every fortnight or so (normally via Skype, but I have been to visit a couple of clients too). During these meetings, I am given the opportunity to ask questions or request clarifications from the client, to put in the meetings notes that I take.
Favourite part of the job so far?
I’ve really enjoyed the amount that I am learning on the job. Transfer pricing involves learning a lot of information about the client’s business and using it to determine what needs to be done and how it needs to be done; learning why my colleagues ask the questions and make the decisions that they do is very interesting.