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When COVID-19 hit Europe, it hit hard. Within weeks, the region overtook China in terms of the number of recorded cases and became the active centre of the pandemic. Three months after measures were introduced to protect lives, Europe is now easing out of lockdown - slowly and cautiously.
With China the epicentre of COVID-19, many countries within the Asia Pacific region were the first in the world to go into lockdown
Life after lockdown: The view from Global Tax Solutions
Few would argue that COVID-19 has changed the world. The pandemic has shone the spotlight firmly on the need for businesses to embrace change, to react quickly based on high quality information, explains Chris Danes, Tax Partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, the UK member of the Baker Tilly network, and responsible for the Global Tax Solutions team.
Listen to the third of our Great Conversations Podcasts in which we look at life after lockdown: the view from Global Tax Solutions.
“We are having to make decisions quickly that are impacting many people, and we need the best information at our finger tips to do that and to do it with confidence.
"That means not only having the right solutions, from a technology point of view, but having the right team of advisors around us is key.
“We need to be identifying risks, but we also need to be exploiting opportunities. And we need to have robust governance procedures in place to do that.”
The right team
While technology increasingly takes a front seat in driving the activities of many businesses, the human touch should not be underestimated. It’s an unfamiliar landscape right now. Many of our typical data sources are not as reliable as they have been in the past so decision makers are having to look elsewhere for extra assistance.
“We are seeing heads of tax and CFOs looking to the top 10 accounting networks for that ‘optimum value mix’, as I call it,” explains Danes.
“We’ve been set some challenging tasks by clients. Can we have this information for 30 countries delivered in 24 hours? Our globally-based teams mean we can essentially work around the clock to deliver the information our clients need.”
“They need high quality advice, they need responsiveness, and they want to pay what they see is a fair price to get that.
"The Baker Tilly network and Baker Tilly Global Tax Solutions is well placed in the current climate to offer that value mix and we are seeing some strong trends from clients who need co-ordinated assistance globally.”
Governments worldwide have, for the most part, been quick to act, bringing in a vast array of incentives and schemes designed to offer businesses a life line during these unprecedented times. Decoding these support measures, which for multinational businesses operating worldwide is often a minefield, has been top of the list of work Baker Tilly has been involved with for its clients.
The first priority for many businesses right now is maintaining business as usual: keeping optimism and keeping the wheels turning. Secondly, reacting quickly to that evolving environment. And thirdly, preparing for the transition to the #newnormal, which Danes believes will bring a lot of positives.
Responsiveness bumps price from pole position in selection criteria
“Strong businesses are going to come out of this crisis stronger," says Danes.
“And those businesses, particularly multinationals, will benefit from a team of advisors who work with them to help navigate the challenges they are facing. A team who provides a streamlined communication structure that supports decision making across 20, 30, 40, even 50 countries.”
“A single global point of contact to co-ordinate tax requirements was nice to have before. It’s absolutely vital in the current climate."
While price will, undoubtedly, remain a factor when choosing advisors, responsiveness and delivering proactive and pragmatic advice based on a client’s key influences top the wish list - not an off-the-shelf, doesn’t quite fit option.
“We are seeing that clients are experiencing unique challenges. Even for clients in the same industry, the challenges are different for various reasons. And unique challenges call for solutions tailored to your key influencers.
“Client intimacy and the trend for a centralised solution, even for the largest of businesses, are two trends that will last long after COVID-19 has gone.”
Listen to the full podcast: Great Conversations: Life after lockdown, the view from Global Tax Solutions.
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