An interview with 2019 RSM ITax Fundamentals Attendees


 In October this year, over 50 tax professionals from 22 countries and five continents travelled to Eindhoven to gain an in-depth understanding of international tax in our week-long residential training programme, RSM ITax Academy. The RSM ITax Academy comprises two international tax training programmes, ‘Fundamentals of International Taxation and the International Tax Masterclass’, that run during the same week. 

The Fundamentals programme provides delegates with an introduction to key aspects of international tax while the Masterclass programme is designed for more senior international tax professionals and introduces new topics and issues that build on the fundamental skills that have already been developed.

Besides acquiring technical tax knowledge, delegates also had the opportunity to network and develop relationships with their international colleagues over dinner, coffee breaks and even a pub quiz. During these times delegates shared practices and insights, truly demonstrating the power of being part of a global network. 

During the weeks training sessions, delegates were split into teams and given exercises and a practical case study to work on. Teams then competed against each other, by providing innovative tax solutions which were then presented to a panel of judges at the end of the week. 

The winners of this years’ Fundamentals case study were the ‘Sweet Six Team’ (team 6) An interview with this team follows and includes: Kayla Tauer (US), Stephanie Kiel (DE), Paayal Shah (UK), Peppino Licheri (IT), John Azzopardi (GI) and our very own Grace Wee (New Zealand).

  • What have you valued most in taking part in the RSM ITax Academy 2019?

Paayal Shah: The opportunity to network with your colleagues from all around the world is an exciting yet comforting feeling. Everyone is in the same boat as you and you have the chance to meet new people. The variety of ethnicities, languages and cultures that you get to interact with is something that I will remember throughout my international tax career. I was nominated to go on to the 2019 ITax Academy and had no idea what to expect. I came out the other end, however, having the best experience of my career so far. I think having the opportunity to attend and meet amazing people who I will now keep in contact with is what I value the most out of the RSM ITax Academy 2019.

Peppino Licheri: It was an important experience, with a lot of notions and important training in tax issues. The most important thing was to be able to collaborate with colleagues from other countries and to see how they approach tax issues; moreover, I could see how they live RSM life.

  • What knowledge and skills will you use most in your international (tax) work with other RSM firms?

Kayla Tauer: The courses at RSM ITax Academy and discussions with my international colleagues will help me to identify global tax issues when working with my clients and will help me to recognise when I may need to reach out to my colleagues.

Grace Wee: With New Zealand being a smaller firm in the RSM network, liaising with other firms will likely be in the tax due diligence space. I think the course provided an opportunity for the attendees to be aware of other services that other firms can provide and to look out for opportunities.

Peppino Licheri: Essentially, I think that I’ll mostly use knowledge and skills on VAT issues (at an international level) and on withholdings taxes on dividends/interests/royalties in cross border situations.

  • How important is international tax training for your career progression and development?

Paayal Shah: Having an international tax training programme is critical and fundamental for an individual to grow as a professional and expand their knowledge within a firm. RSM’s ITax Academy is excellent and I would highly recommend anyone considering pursuing a career in international services, to look into it. From the coordinators to the speakers and to the delegates, everything was very well organised. You had the opportunity to come out of your comfort zone, which can be challenging, but you can really embrace meeting new people and being somewhere that isn’t the office for a week. For example, one of my objectives for my career progression within RSM is to hold presentations. I did this during the ITax Academy by presenting a case study, and this really helped me with my confidence and body language overall. 

Kayla Tauer: Global international tax training is very important for my career progression and development as I am better able to serve my clients when I have global tax knowledge

Peppino Licheri: It’s very important in my opinion because today the level of globalisation is improving constantly and our role will become fundamental in assisting the client.

  • What will you do to take this experience and share the knowledge/best practises with your colleagues?

Paayal Shah: I have already spoken to my team about how great the 2019 ITax Academy was, but I will be preparing a short presentation on my experiences with international tax and the week in Eindhoven. I hope to make my colleagues aware of the training programmes RSM International offers, especially to those who are interested in pursuing a career in international tax.

Kayla Tauer: When I collaborate with my colleagues on global tax issues I will be able to offer a more well-rounded global perspective, as well as share the contact information of the international colleagues I met while attending RSM ITax Academy in order to better serve clients with operations in other jurisdictions.

  • What international tax activities are you planning to become involved in after RSM ITax Academy?

Paayal Shah: I am interested in being involved with RSM’s annual Global Tax Conference, as well as being involved with international tax group meetings, to discuss technical changes to the ITax industry, discuss training programmes for new delegates and evaluate my progress with my current role in transfer pricing and international tax overall.

Kayla Tauer: I would like to be diligent in maintaining contact with my RSM ITax Academy colleagues and be a resource for others who are interested in attending the program.

Grace Wee: My role actually has exposure to different aspects of international tax. Perhaps in the near future, the focus will still be on the jobs we get, but in the longer run, perhaps would like more exposure to transfer pricing.

Peppino Licheri: Since I took part in the ITax Academy, I have begun to appreciate transfer pricing issues and M&A situations. I think that in the next month’s I’ll try to become more involved in our RSM service lines and I’ll try to expand my level of expertise.


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Grace Wee
Tax Manager