Life at Deloitte
My Deloitte story as a Partner with Deloitte
Flurin, Partner and Head M&A Tax for Deloitte
Flurin graduated in law from the University of Zurich in 1995 and is qualified to practise it as an attorney. Today, he leads the Swiss M&A Tax practice. Read on and find out what it is like being a partner in Deloitte and the challenges that come with that position.
Flurin, could you briefly tell us something about your career? What did you study and where, and how did you end up at Deloitte?
I studied at the University of Zurich and graduated in law in 1995. I qualified as an attorney three years later and then joined Arthur Andersen to prepare for the tax expert's diploma which I passed in 2002; just when Arthur Andersen merged with Ernst & Young (EY). After 5 years as a tax partner with EY, I was seeking for a new challenge. Deloitte approached me at just the right time.
Why did you opt for Deloitte specifically?
A few years ago I met a number of partners from different business areas of Deloitte. I was impressed by their high level of motivation; they were eager to succeed in a difficult economic environment and accepted the challenge they faced being, in Switzerland, the smallest of the "Big Four". It is an exciting time for Deloitte, and the opportunity for me to become the Head of M&A Tax was an appealing opportunity.
What is working life like in Deloitte's tax department from day to day?
The core of my role is advisory work for our national and international clients. We pull together the right teams within the tax department and cross service lines, so that we can optimally address our clients’ issues with the right specialists. We often work with colleagues from Financial Advisory, Consulting and Audit. It is also important that younger colleagues get trained on the job, so that they get the professional experience to be well prepared for the tax expert exam. Of course, they also have to attend the Tax Academy courses, as well as various in-house training sessions to share their experiences amongst themselves.
What are your tasks as a partner?
My main activity is of course to provide tax advice to our clients. I want Deloitte to be perceived as premium service provider in that specific area. Besides the client work, I am responsible for the Corporate Tax team in our Zurich office and for the recruitment of new employees in German-speaking Switzerland. In order to ensure the professional development of our people, I, like all partners, coach younger employees, guiding and supporting them as appropriate so that they improve the skills required for a successful career.
As a tax jurisdiction, Switzerland is currently under a great deal of pressure. What impact does this have on a tax advisor’s job? Do you believe that Switzerland will remain competitive in the international environment?
It is becoming more and more challenging to convince multinationals of the benefits Switzerland offers compared to other jurisdictions. The arguments are of course not only tax-related, but tax as a cost factor for the business will always play an important role. I am confident Switzerland will benefit from the OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting effort. The reform is a challenge for the policymakers above all; we, as tax advisors, can only offer solutions within a legal framework. Anyway, as the tax environment gets more complex and challenging, our profession as tax advisors gets even more exciting.
What skills and interests must a candidate have to succeed when applying for a job at Deloitte? How important are "soft skills", and which ones?
We "hire for attitude, and train for skills". “Attitude” means that a candidate must be seriously interested in taxes, the interrelation between tax, law, accounting and economics, and he or she must show a high degree of motivation to deal with complex subject matters. We need team players who are willing to take on responsibility, and are prepared to go the extra mile to provide exceptional services to our clients. Along with a promotion come additional responsibilities, in particular the role as a coach, a task we consider to be of utmost importance. One should like to be in direct contact with clients, develop and show a genuine interest for them and their individual situations, and understand their needs.