Today adventure in Europe. Our group got to spend our last company visit at Deloitte, which is one of the big 4 accounting firms with offices across the world. We had the pleasure of meeting up with a Texas Tech alum, Kenneth Bransom, who flew from London to Berlin for the day to host our group. Kenneth is heading the international tax practice in the London Deloitte office. Mr. Bransom spoke with our group about the UK and the possibility of pulling out of the European Union due to the immigration crisis. He explained how polish workers are coming to the UK for higher paying jobs (mainly in the trade field) which is causing competition among the English trade workers. The foreign workers are forcing the English workers to "up their game" as far as effort and quality of work, which is irritating the English work force who is used to their standard of work. He also explained that if the UK pulls out of the European Union, the pound will drop significantly in value.
Kenneth also spoke about the differences in tax rates compared to the US. In the UK, corporations pay a corporate tax rate of 17% while US corporations pay a tax rate of 40%. This is causing US companies to want to leave the US and partner up with bigger foreign companies to reduce their tax rate, which has led to problems in the US. He also informed our group that the highest individual tax rate is right around 50%, compared to the US at 39.6%.
Kenneth spoke about international public accounting compared to the US and that there is no Sarbanes Oxley legislation like there is in the US. However, in the UK, the same public accounting firm cannot do both tax and audit services like they can in the US. Also, unlike the US, UK public companies have to switch auditors every 5 years.
A question from one of our students was asked to Kenneth stating, "as a leader and working consistently with people internationally, what do you think are some of the most important qualities to have?" which he responded with something I thought was very valuable. He said " don't make any assumptions about individuals from other countries, let your pride down and have an open mind when dealing with people who are not from the same background as your own." I thought this was important because sometimes we Americans get very stuck in our own ways, thinking our way of life and business is always the right way. When in reality, this is not always true. Another statement Kenneth made regarding stepping out of your comfort zone was, "don't be afraid to do things you normally would be afraid to do." I feel as business leaders we need to not be afraid to step out of our comfort zone and this is where we can achieve things we may never thought could be achieved.
Tonight our group is having a farewell dinner at a restaurant in Berlin, as we will say goodbye to our ISA tour guide Hedvica and enjoy a traditional German meal.
We begin our trek back to the US at 6:45 tomorrow morning (11:45 pm Tuesday Texas time) and arrive back in Lubbock at 10:30 pm Wednesday night.
As we end our journey of visiting numerous companies in the Czech Republic and Germany, it has been eye opening to see the different ways people do business across the world. Fast paced, slow paced, young businesses, established businesses, we got to see them all. I know this has been a great experience for everyone who got to travel on this trip, from a business and cultural perspective, and thank you RBLP for the opportunity of a lifetime!! We will strive to continue to be leaders in our country and potentially abroad!