People have a preconception that VAT is relatively straightforward, but it can be anything but. Just consider the complexities in the area of property, transacting business at an international level, and compliance rules. Mazars’ VAT division helps organisations plan for and deal with that complexity.
My role, while primarily focused on VAT and RCT, also extends to providing tax audit support to clients. I advise a wide range of businesses – from indigenous SMEs to public bodies and international FDI and financial services clients – on tax and audit issues. As a former inspector of taxes, I have considerable experience of the tax audit and enquiry process, and a sizable element of my workload relates to supporting clients with such issues.
There has been a very definite and welcome change of mindset over the past few years as businesses move from recessionary to expansionary thinking.
Ireland is already seeing a dividend, with strong domestic and continued FDI growth. VAT always has change coming onstream in addition to added complexity and challenge for business. A good example is the European Commission’s proposals for a complete overhaul of the crossborder business rules. Given that existing VAT rules for crossborder trade with the EU date back to the introduction of the single market in 1993, such change presents challenge as well as opportunity for business.
Technology is also bringing constant change to how we work. I don’t see artificial intelligence as a threat – it will allow us to manage many routine compliance activities better, letting us adapt, upskill and focus on high-level business advisory and consultancy support.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my career is the value of adaptability and focus. I wouldn’t have progressed without learning new skills and earning new qualifications along the way. ACCA has given me the confidence and technical ability to progress and adapt, as well as helping to fine-tune and complement the soft skills that are invaluable throughout a career.
This article first appeared in Accounting and Business magazine April 2018.
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