In navigating the infamously complicated tax system in the Philippines, businesses, especially those with large operations, turn to professional services firms for guidance and assistance. And one of the most sought-after firms that provide expert tax services in the country today is Navarro Amper & Co., the Philippine member firm of Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd.
Navarro Amper & Co. began operating in 1997 as a management consulting firm and joined the Deloitte network, one of the four biggest professional services networks in the world, two years later. It provides a wide range of tax services — such as business tax, global employer services, indirect tax and customs, transfer pricing, mergers and acquisitions, and business process solutions among others — to a diverse clientele.
Lately, the number of tax clients it serves has ballooned. In 2017, Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd., a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. comprising practices in Brunei, Cambodia, Guam, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, chose Deloitte Philippines as the home of the region’s Transfer Pricing Center.
“We assist not only local clients but also the clients of Deloitte Southeast Asia as far as transfer pricing is concerned,” said Atty. Walter L. Abela, Jr., Deloitte Philippines’ Tax & Corporate Services leader, in an interview with BusinessWorld. A huge responsibility of this kind speaks to the competence of the firm, particularly its tax team.
The tax professionals Deloitte Philippines hires are selected based on their exceptional academic performance and leadership skills, said Atty. Abela, who has two decades of professional experience rendering tax and corporate services and was recognized as one of the Philippines’ leading consultants in 2016 and 2017 in handling tax controversies and disputes, as cited by the International Tax Review. But the firm also takes into consideration applicants’ social and soft skills because, as Atty. Abela pointed out, their work entails collaboration and forging relationships with clients.
To further enhance their skills, the professionals undergo a number of trainings, not only here but also overseas. “We have a Global Mobility Program that allows our professionals to experience the work environment and the culture of other countries,” Atty. Abela said. There is also the Deloitte University Asia Pacific in Singapore, which aims to help Deloitte professionals and executives develop their leadership skills and gain the tools necessary to deliver excellent service to clients.
All this helps explain why Navarro Amper & Co. is one of a handful of Philippine firms to have received a Tier 1 status from World Tax, a guide to the world’s leading tax advisory practices, including law and accountancy firms, published by the International Tax Review. “If you’re recognized as one of the Tier 1 firms, you’re considered a go-to firm in the matters of business strategy, merger and acquisition, transfer pricing, indirect tax, and tax controversy,” Atty. Abela said.
Since Deloitte Philippines collaborates directly with other Deloitte practices in Southeast Asia, exchanging points of views and learning from other professionals’ expertise, it has become more global in its approach to the issues, including the ones concerning tax and compliance, facing its clients.
“The clients, because of globalization, now have a global mind-set,” Atty. Abela said. “We need to keep up with their expectations and make sure we remain an invaluable partner to them wherever they choose to do business.”