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I’m José Aldrich. I’m the managing partner of KPMG’s Iberoamerica Tax Services.
The summit first is an event that we hold every 18 months, and it’s in the Iberoamerica region, it’s Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, and here today, we have representatives from 31 countries, so from across the globe. And we’re here to discuss issues that involve chief tax officers and the development of that function in the company strategic direction.
Well, I think it was set up with the theme. The theme is shifting winds, setting a new course of tax, and the business reality that we face today, and what we’re hearing is that we’re very challenged as chief tax officers. The world is changing at a very dramatic speed, we’re seeing a lot of uncertainty out there, and all of this requires that businesses take a very close look at their strategic plans and begin to revisit them on a continuous basis as these changes occur throughout the world, thus the shifting winds. The tax officers’ biggest challenge is being able to predict that future, understand what these changes are that are impacting their business, have a very keen understanding of the business itself, and then understand how tax relates to that, and that way, they’re able to add value to that strategic direction as the executive committees of these companies meet, and they become part of that strategic process.
We’ve got an increasing complexity around the world. With the economic crisis we’re feeling, we have political, economic change. There’s uncertainty. The change is so quick and rapid. Countries are beginning to increase taxes in certain areas, particularly in the indirect tax area, so those are challenges we face all the time. In addition to that, there’s governments that are, even more so today than in the past, using taxes to form their political and economic agenda or policies, and that is creating a tremendous challenge for tax directors. How do they take all of that, be able to react rapidly, be able to understand these changes that are going on, and add that value at the corporate level.
Where companies come into place is that they really need to have information. Information is really the key, and the question is, making the decisions. You can’t wait always to have all the information available to make a decision. So, you have to begin to predict, begin to take a forward look and get as much information together as you can regarding the changes that are occurring in the world and make the decisions. And make the decisions from a strategic perspective, bring your leadership team together, and make sure you have the right people together to be able to understand that information and how it impacts the business.
I think the key message is from the summit for the chief tax officers is that they have to understand their business and to be a strategic partner in that business.
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