Adviser - Winter 2018

Scrutton Bland are a member of Nexia International a leading global network of independent accounting and consulting firms which allows clients to receive professional advice wherever they are in the world. One of the benefits of being part of the Nexia network is the opportunity for firms around the world to offer placements to young professionals from other countries. J ulian Steiner usually works for DHPG, a West German financial services firm with offices in Bonn, Cologne and the surrounding region. However in September of this year he started What are the challenges of providing work opportunities to someone from another country? Gavin: Very few. It helps that Julian speaks excellent English, and he has a very positive attitude – or else he wouldn’t have volunteered for a work placement overseas. For us it was important that he felt comfortable and so we made sure we teamed him up with a ‘buddy’, Tyler Hursey, who is similar in age and shares the same interests. Of course there are And finally, a word from Julian… Why did you decide to work in tax?

a [period] placement at the Scrutton Bland Colchester office. Adviser spoke with Gavin Birchall , Tax Partner, and Debbie Petrie , HR Manager, about the challenges and benefits of supporting a financial professional from overseas. How did Julian’s placement come about? Gavin: We found out through Nexia that there were opportunities to host work experience people from other firms overseas, so when we received a request from DHPG saying Julian was looking a placement, we jumped at the chance. Why host someone from DHPG? Gavin: We have several mutual clients with DHPG, so having worked with them we knew they would only put forward high calibre candidates, and they made the process very easy. Offering Julian a placement can only benefit the relationship between us, plus he is a great ambassador for them, and we hope he will be for us when he goes back! How are Scrutton Bland supporting Julian’s professional development? Gavin: Julian has been spending time in various parts of the firm. He’s currently working alongside our Business Advisory team and will also be working in Corporate Finance which will give him experience in working within a UK based accounting. For example he has worked with our bookkeeping team, learning about how we deliver accounts, and has started learn our cloud accounting system, sblive and our tax service for professionals, sbtax+.

I’ve always had a liking for numbers and their correlations, so I decided to work as an Assistant Tax Consultant. Now I know that was the right decision, because there are so many different tasks to do and, in combination with the regular change of laws, you keep learning new things and always have new challenges. And of course, the international contexts and tasks make the work challenging and varied. How easy was it to fit into a new place of work? I was fully integrated and a part of the team from day one. You can really feel that Scrutton Bland see themselves as a whole team which only achieves the goals together. This impression was confirmed by the AGM to which I was kindly invited. Additionally, everybody is very friendly and dedicated to teaching me new things. I feel so comfortable that I sometimes forget that I’m in England and start to talk German because everything is so familiar. What would you say that the main differences are between working in England and Germany? That’s hard to say. Of course, there is the different language and culture. Furthermore, there are other laws, working methods and programmes. But I think all in all it is quite similar and in the end, everybody tries to reach the same goal, even if the ways are different.

differences in the different tax policies and procedures between the UK and Germany, but the approach is broadly the same, and comparing the different systems is a great way of helping to understand how and why a particular rule exists. Debbie: It was very easy to manage Julian’s traineeship. It is part of a scholarship called “Erasmus+”, which supports internships abroad and he sent us all the paperwork that we needed to complete. We have helped Julian to find his accommodation and ensured that everything was ready for his first day with us. Scrutton Bland employ people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Can you explain some of the benefits of having a diverse workforce within a professional firm? Debbie: We have always had a policy of taking on good people, no matter what their background is, or where they happen to be. Offering placements to overseas professionals helps our own staff broaden their business and cultural outlook. It benefits anyone to study abroad, so I’m sure this is going to enhance Julian’s career. Gavin: Working with someone from another country undoubtedly helps the tax teams see their work in an international context, and expands their understanding of the tax profession.  It would be good to see people from Scrutton Bland going to work at DHPG.

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