An interview with Mark Abbs, Head of Global Mobility tax services
Pete Sampras, floppy disks and global mobility … a lot has changed since 1995. There is much more choice for consumers now. Would you agree?
I’ve been an expatriate tax adviser for nearly 24 years and I was reflecting the other day how much the world has changed in that time. When I started in global mobility, Boys II Men were top of the charts, Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf had won Wimbledon, the World Wide Web was only two years old, Amazon only sold books, and I saved everything on my large PC to a 3.5” floppy disk …
In the accountancy world big was automatically assumed to be best – but can you judge a wine by the size of a vineyard?
Things are different now, and dare I say in many ways better, especially when it comes to consumer choice.
For instance, back then the UK high street was dominated by a few giant banks, but now new entrants have changed the landscape bringing more competition, more choice and different types of service to customers. Global mobility has changed too.
I spent my first 16 years in big accountancy firms and back then global mobility was dominated by a few big players in tax, relocation, immigration and banking. I then joined Blick Rothenberg and saw first-hand that the misconception of small firms not being able to deliver was an outdated view. In fact, I frequently found that being able to provide a different type of service was actually a huge advantage. Boutique firms now offer something quite different in global mobility. Genuine independence, consistent and exceptional quality, bespoke and personal service is much more common place these days from innovative challenger firms. Some firms, like Blick Rothenberg, also offer market leading technology – times have certainly changed!
Undoubtedly, a small firm by its nature will find it easier to provide personal and agile services. However, having a sufficient degree of scale and access to the right specialist skills and resource does remain critical; so too is having an effective global network. The regulatory environment has changed; becoming much more complex and at times quite hostile so it is important that a firm is sufficiently equipped to manage these challenges – a team or firm that is too small could also be a risk.
So what does all this mean?
Well just like finding a comfortable pair of shoes, it is still really important to work with an adviser who is the right fit for you. Naturally, all advisers have different strengths and weaknesses. Research the market and see what different size global mobility advisers can offer as it is very import to select the adviser that most closely fits your needs and is ideally just the right size and fit for you.
Project Reimagine is about thinking and looking at things a little differently in global mobility – by remembering that change can also be a good thing you will significantly increase the chances of finding the right adviser – one who will help you navigate an increasingly complex and ever-changing world.
Global mobility reimagined – what would you change?
We want to change Global Mobility for the better and need your views! We will be hosting events, webinars and writing articles to generate debate on the key issues that are important to you.
We are really keen to hear from you.
For more information, please contact Mark Abbs.