We recently interviewed Paul Roberts, Head of Family Office Accounting at Stonehage Fleming as part of our 'Leveraging Technology to solve the global Economic Substance Challenge' webinar'. Here we revisit his perspectives on putting the Economic Substance Advisory Service into practice.
In this webinar we specifically explored explored the operational and technological implications brought about by Economic Substance requirements within the industry as well as providing insights into how innovative technology can be used to maintain compliance when working at scale. As an illustration of this, we turned to our partners at Stonehage Fleming, who have been early adopters in the move to technology-led solutions.
Paul has worked in the fiduciary sector for over 25 years and is an ACCA qualified accountant. As Head of Family Office Accounting, he leads the Channel Islands Accounting function and has responsibility for regulatory reporting - putting Economic Substance and Tax filings directly into his area or responsibility!
"If we think back to just a couple of years ago, you would only have to do file returns for Jersey based companies, and we had about roughly 150 or Jersey companies. However now, with the Partnerships and Corporate companies, that's increased to over 500 individual returns that we need to complete. Additionally, substance assessments are required for each company, so one of the main drivers behind having something like a software-based electronic solution is, we can defer requirements to increase our headcount by two or three people."
Centralisation of Data
"One of the other drivers is in the use of a centralised system where you can year-on-year drive more automation, more efficiency, continually improve this service; this is the idea that we're going to. Obviously, then to have this through a TrustQuay provided system, in our case NavOne, is a huge plus point. All our staff are already familiar with the system, so we didn't have to spend any time training."
The PwC factor
"Of course, having PwC as the provider for the tool was a big plus. Knowing that during a client conversation, when presenting a scope assessment that it wasn't just our opinion but that PwC were behind the tool we were using lends immediate credibility. Likewise being able to fall back on their expertise has been a key advantage. It gives you that bit of authority with clients, and you know their mind is as ease as well. Overall, as we look to year 2 with the tool we hope to realise additional efficacy gains."
Andrew is Senior Product Marketing Manager at TrustQuay