'Abstract science' proves taxing for E&Y director

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 July, 2012, 12:00am


Jonathan Thompson (left), director for financial services - transfer pricing at Ernst & Young (E&Y), started off as a graduate trainee in the firm's London branch. After becoming a chartered accountant, he was moved to the E&Y UK financial services transfer pricing (FSTP) team. In 2008, he moved to Japan to build E&Y Tokyo's FSTP team, before coming to Hong Kong to do the same for E&Y Asia-Pacific. He talks to Wong Yat-hei

What does your job entail?

Our team works with multinational financial services organisations to develop transfer pricing policies for international transactions. We also benchmark and document existing pricing policies and help clients defend challenges from tax authorities.

What are the major job challenges?

Transfer pricing is an interesting challenge as it is an abstract science. Multinational groups often structure their operations with a goal of operating seamlessly as one international business. As a result, these groups tend to be reviewed based on collective performance, regardless of the location of the individuals providing those services.

Transfer pricing views things slightly differently as it is primarily focused on legal-entity compensation to tax-return filing purposes. This can create an interesting challenge.

What skills do you need?

Apart from basic technical skills and being numerate, you really must have good people skills. Much of what I have been doing is built on good teamwork.