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02 06 2022

DFK welcomes new executive director

DFK has announced the appointment of Bill Wright as its Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Martin Sharp, who has retired after 12 years at the head of the organisation.

DFK International is an association of independent accounting firms collectively with 455 offices, and 14,000 employees operating in 100 countries and territories. 

The appointment of Wright was made by the Executive Board after a lengthy global outreach within, and external, to the organisation.

He previously held the position of Principal at the San Francisco, California firm of Shea Labagh Dobberstein (SLD) – a former member firm of DFK – where he was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, business development, and marketing. He was also instrumental in SLD earning the DFK International Firm of the Year award.

Harriet Greenberg, President of the DFK Executive Board, said: “Bill is a strategic thinker and brings a unique and much-valued background to the position.

“As a former client-facing leader at one of our top-performing firms, he will continue DFK’s long-standing tradition of serving our members’ best interests. Having an executive with demonstrated success in driving growth is something the board was seeking.”

Wright earned a Masters at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University and previously was a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a Vice President at Daiwa Bank and a Corporate Banking Officer at Bank of America.

He is a member of the Institute of Directors in London, has held leadership roles in the USA-based Association for Corporate Growth and was an adjunct professor of accounting at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Wright, who will be based at DFK’s headquarters in London, said: “I’ve worked with Martin Sharp for several years. He has kept a steady hand on the tiller, strengthened the foundations of our global team and charted a sustainable path through the challenging pandemic of the past two years.

“We owe Martin our sincere appreciation and wish him smooth sailing in retirement.

“The strongest attribute of our group is our culture – a culture of global teamwork to deliver expertise for clients regardless of location. Maintaining and enhancing this culture will be at the heart of everything we do.”

28 04 2022

DFK International to bid fond farewell to Executive Director

DFK International is set to bid a fond farewell to its executive director who is stepping down after 12 years at the helm.

Martin Sharp will be retiring from the position of executive director of DFK International on April 30, succeeded by Bill Wright, formerly of San Francisco member firm Shea Labagh Dobberstein.

Martin has been in the position since 2010 and during this time has attended more than 80 conferences and visited the offices of more than 100 member firms across the globe.

He has focused on ensuring that DFK remains an association which enables like-minded firms to build relationships and support their clients to do business internationally, while providing a forum to share knowledge and best practice to support growth.

Reflecting on his time as executive director, Martin said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be in this role for the last 12 years and to be handing over to Bill who I first met five years ago in San Francisco.

“I’d like to thank all of the people I’ve worked with over the years, including the executive office staff. They are a fantastic team and their work has been central to the success that DFK enjoys today.

“I would also like to thank the DFK presidents I have had the pleasure of working with, including Ray Mack, Mike Tovey, Scott Hazy, Demetrious Demetriou, Roland Graf and Harriet Greenberg for their support and guidance throughout my time at DFK, as well as all of the Vice Presidents and board members.

“My wife Deborah has also always been such a great support to me during my time at DFK and plays an important role in keeping the DFK family spirit alive.

“Finally, I’d like to thank all of the DFK members worldwide for the tremendous hospitality that I’ve received when visiting their offices.

“I’ve had so many highlights over the years – too many to mention – and I have thoroughly enjoyed ensuring that our members have the opportunity to build relationships, remain knowledgeable about the global market and do business internationally with like-minded firms.

“The regional meetings and the national group meetings have been an especially positive opportunity to gain insights into how people work together and share best practice.

“I have been lucky enough to enjoy an incredible amount of travel during my role, and one of my favourite places to visit has been the Latin American region which was a revelation for me.

“The warmth and spirit of our firms in Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Chile, Argentina and Brazil was fabulous and I could not have been made to feel more welcome, and even though I struggled with my terrible Spanish and salsa moves, I drank plenty of their tequila and pisco!

“Although I will officially hand over to Bill on May 1, he and the board have kindly welcomed me to attend the 60th anniversary conference which I’m thoroughly looking forward to, and it will be nice to see the event through the eyes of a delegate rather than one of the organisers.

“I wish Bill every success in the position. He has a very strong background in the profession and is already well-known in the DFK community both in the US and internationally, and I’m sure his knowledge and skillset will be of huge benefit to the association as a whole as well as the DFK member firms.”

Harriet Greenberg, President of DFK International, said: “I would like to personally, and on behalf of all the DFK firms, express our profound gratitude to Martin for his diligent work as our executive director.

“His hard work, cooperative spirit and general kindness, as well as his joy of helping facilitate the good work of DFK, has left a mark on all of us lucky enough to have worked with him. We wish him every happiness in his retirement.

27 04 2022

Would a subsidiary create a PE for VAT purposes?

On April 7, 2022, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) provided guidance on the interpretation of the term “Fixed Establishment” for VAT purposes (case C-333/20 Berlin Chemie A. Menarini SRL). The ECJ considered that a subsidiary cannot create a fixed establishment for a parent company registered in another country even if the subsidiary operates exclusively for the benefit of the parent company. We present the case in details below.

Berlin Chemie, a German company (“BC”) sells goods in Romania. BC is registered in Romania for VAT purposes. BC’s Romanian subsidiary, BCAM provides BC with marketing, advertising and regulatory support services. BCAM considered these services as intra-Community supplied services subject to reverse charged VAT in Germany. The Romanian tax authorities considered that BC has sufficient human and technical resources at its disposal in Romania to create a PE there by the virtue of BCAM. This would mean that BCAM’s services to BC are subject to Romanian VAT instead of German reverse charged VAT.

The question submitted to the ECJ was in essence whether a subsidiary of a company can create a fixed establishment for a parent company, or other legal entity within the group. The referring court asked the ECJ for a more detailed interpretation of the concept of fixed establishment to clarify whether BCAM, as the subsidiary of BC, can qualify as a fixed establishment of BC. BC does not have the personnel and technical resources itself, but BCAM does have and BCAM uses these personnel and resources entirely for the business purposes of BC. What seems to be particularly important here is that BCAM operates under the control of BC and BCAM performs its activities entirely for BC.

The court made the following decision: BC does not have a fixed establishment in Romania on the ground that BC owns a subsidiary in Romania that makes available to BC its human and technical resources. BC does not have a fixed establishment in Romania even if BCAM provides marketing, regulatory and advertising services exclusively to BC regardless whether such services are capable of having a direct influence on the volume of BC’s sales.

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