First of all, welcome, Arne Riis. If you were to give a short presentation of yourself, what would it sound like?
Arne Riis: Good question. Professionally, I have a law degree and have been working as a lawyer and advisor for… let us say many years.
My focus areas include national and international tax aspects of mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, refinancing, and corporate tax issues.
I have worked with everything from start-up businesses and industrial manufacturers to banks, private equity and venture funds, real estate investment funds, pension funds and publicly listed companies.
In my private life, family and friends take up a lot of my time, as do exercise, music and cooking.
What made you join BDO Denmark?
Arne Riis: One of the core appeals is BDO’s strong professional profile and position in the market. BDO works with many very interesting customers and consults on ditto areas of expertise. Furthermore, the high ambition level speaks to me. It is also attractive to become part of an organisation with offices in more than 160 territories around the globe. One quickly senses the 'Globally Local' DNA of BDO, which fits perfectly with my professional core areas and interests.
What will be your main areas of responsibility with BDO?
Arne Riis: I will be working with clients within three main areas.
The first area is transactions, which includes M&A-related structuring, financing and tax elements, as well as other types of transaction-related tax and financial advisory work.
The second is international tax, where, among other things, we advise international companies on relevant tax matters in Denmark and Danish companies on international tax matters.
The third area is general businesses and corporate tax.
If we were to tell our customers - and potential customers - more about what those areas cover, what would you say?
Arne Riis: Transactions deal with how a business transaction, such as a company merger or acquisition, is structured so that the parties get the optimal result. The details vary from transaction to transaction but will most often include working on the financing model, how the transaction is conducted, what tax-related guarantees, risks, limitations and opportunities exist, and how key employees can be retained.
International tax covers, among other things, advisory services for companies that set up a branch or subsidiary in Denmark, or alternatively invest in Danish companies. This also applies to companies that choose to move to – or out of - Denmark. In addition, it covers international tax matters associated with international trade and business activity for Danish companies. In particular, how to avoid double taxation and how to help companies navigate multiple national tax systems that are often both complex and require companies to ensure simultaneous compliance with many, different rule sets. These aspects of business management can cause issues both when running local operations and when capital, labour and corporate activities cross national borders.
Ordinary business and corporate taxation relate to Danish tax matters for business operations. Like the previous two areas, it deals with the opportunities and challenges that applicable tax laws lead to for each individual company.
What are some examples of areas that are likely to fill a lot for companies in the coming years?
Arne Riis: First of all, many companies will probably be uncertain about what the drastic measures we have seen to curb Covid-19 will mean for their businesses in the longer term. This also applies to the areas, I focus on. Here I - and we - are ready to ensure that the companies are as prepared as possible for – and resilient against – the challenges that likely lay ahead.
In addition, there are many indications that taxing digital activities and securing a minimum tax on business activities will be a focus area, especially considering the substantial bills and losses that many countries will be facing in our post-Covid-19 reality. The ongoing initiatives and discussions in the OECD may lead to companies needing to carry out major, rapid adjustments to ensure compliance with coming tax initiatives.
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