Eddie Goldsberry, CPA
Director, International Tax Services
Pannell Kerr Forster of Texas, P.C.
Networking, High-Tech Tools
Help an International Tax Practice Achieve Results
The art of doing business outside the borders of the United States certainly isn't anything new, but to Eddie Goldsberry, working in international arenas constantly poses interesting challenges and provides innovative solutions—all woven into a firm philosophy that thrives on value-added services.
Goldsberry is director of International Tax Services for Pannell Kerr Forster (PKF) of Texas, P.C., part of the international PKF firm and network of 350 offices worldwide. While the Houston office might seem like just a speck in the landscape of the PKF frontier, think again. The Gulf city marketplace is densely populated with international headquarters for many of the world's most prestigious large—and in some cases—medium-size companies. As a result, the Houston office is regularly invited to the table to present solutions in accounting, tax and consulting. Much of the credit can be attributed to Goldsberry and his tax services group.
"It's a ticket to the game," says Goldsberry. "Being able to competently deliver international tax services for many mid-market companies is absolutely crucial to securing other business. If you can't do the international work, then you can't get their business."
Goldsberry has seen the marketplace change dramatically over the last five years, thanks to an increase in the number of companies—along with a decrease in the size of companies—doing business internationally. The size of businesses needing the firm's services helps fuel growth in the amount of business available, and has helped PKF carve a niche for its international tax and consulting services.
The other advantage to building a solid business over the last several years rests with technology and the tremendous increase in the availability of information to help do business in other countries. Readily available information like details on laws in other countries that are constantly changing used to be available only through large data banks or some time after they changed, he says. With the Internet, data is now available at a moment's notice, creating an inherent advantage in having the facts pertaining to specific tax cases available at the touch of a button.
For example, Goldsberry says that five years back, information on Brazil was difficult to come by. Today, multiple sources exist for a small price—around $150 a month for access to databases that are constantly updated. His office uses the service sponsored by Tax Analysts (www.tax.org), and relies on the service's daily U.S., world and state tax reports to keep current.
"The information is very current, easy to search, both by topic and jurisdiction, and very user-friendly," says Goldsberry. "I also enjoy the commentary or analysis by other professionals on pending legislation, foreign sales corporations and tax shelter legislation. Not only will you find congressional records, proposed law and joint committee commentaries, but you also can view the material in another light by reviewing the comments made by other professionals. This has a direct effect on my practice."
PKF enjoys the reputation of being a Group B-size firm because it is able to effectively communicate and network within its own structure without getting bogged down in red tape, geographic concerns or being too large.
"Because we're part of an international association of accounting firms, any PKF office can verify facts and make queries to other offices around the world," says Goldsberry. "It would be very difficult for anyone to be involved extensively in the execution of international tax planning without having an effective network. It doesn't mean you can't be of assistance to your clients, but it would be difficult to implement this type of practice based on not knowing whether you've taken the right approach in the specific geographic area in which the client's business is involved."
Goldsberry says that there is a growing concentration of bankers, attorneys and other CPAs who are involved in doing business with PKF, adding to the notion that the idea of "networking" and securing solid business contacts is of prime concern to his firm and others who want to succeed for the long-term.
Goldsberry welcomes your comments and questions. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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