Cormac Doyle tax partner Crowe Ireland

Cormac Doyle – my first six months with Crowe

Cormac Doyle tax partner Crowe Ireland
Cormac joined the firm as a tax partner at the beginning of May this year, bringing with him his considerable experience providing tax solutions to clients across a range of sectors. 

Just over six months into his journey with the firm, we sat down with him to find out about his experience onboarding during a pandemic, and to discuss his new role and how he has been able to expanding his client offering. 

You started in very challenging circumstances, how have you found it?

It is fair to say I never expected that my first day with the firm would be spent at home in Wicklow. Except for a handful of days, my first seven months have been spent working from home. 

When I joined the practice, we were about six weeks into the pandemic and the remote way of working, which is now so familiar. At the time I, like most people I would imagine, probably didn’t appreciate the impact it would have for the rest of the year. I was guilty of being caught up in the “sure it will be back to normal in a few weeks” mindset. 

That quickly changed once I understood the extent of the pandemic and I came to realise that not being in the office every day was going to be normal – not just for the duration of this pandemic, or until we get an effective vaccine, but I think for good. It has been well-documented that there is a growing realisation that remote working or a hybrid model is likely going to be a long-term factor in the working arrangements for our industry. 

In a recent article I wrote about this in more detail and outlined some of the tax changes the government should consider to better facilitate a hybrid model of working.  Read article.

How has working from home impacted your ability to “hit the ground running”?

Thankfully the firm has excellent IT infrastructure and had already implemented a robust remote working system before I joined. I was one the first people to experience the firm’s remote induction process and it went very smoothly. 

Our remote access systems mean we have full access to all client files and systems that we need to service our clients, and like most businesses we have learned along the way and improving how we communicate and interact with clients with each passing week. The mixed use of available channels, including email, phone, video, and even meeting in person when restrictions allow, ensured that I could be introduced to all clients and also keep in touch with my own contacts and team. 

Of course there are challenges in terms of getting to know new colleagues and clients, but with the firms focus on collaboration, any disruption has been minimal. In a way the nature of the start has given me additional time to plan with the other partners and take a fresh look at how the firm is operating to see how we can best serve our clients. 

Where do you feel Crowe is particularly strong?

One thing that immediately stands out about Crowe is the partner-led approach to client relationships. The partner and senior management team are at the very forefront of client relationships and project work, while still encouraging all staff members to take ownership of client service delivery. It is a balancing act sometimes between facilitating team development for client ownership and ensuring that the firm holds true to the partner-led ethos, but I have found that my colleagues in the partner group achieve this very well. 

Another stand-out factor has been the depth of tax expertise in the practice. All across the tax team, and through the accounting and audit team, there is an appreciation for the complexities of the various tax challenges facing our clients, both in terms of planning but also saving costs by ensuring compliance with an ever growing number of regulations and requirements.

Over the past decade, and even over the past 12 months, there has been a significant number of changes in both international tax and domestic tax legislation and related requirements for individuals and businesses. 

Tax has never been as topical and in focus both domestically and internationally. Changes in domestic legislation have arisen from the OECD BEPs initiative and the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) which introduce more technical considerations for companies operating in Ireland and more administrative reporting and filings. Brexit has resulted in even more technical issues for businesses trading with the UK and Northern Ireland around VAT and customs issues.  COVID-19 has also resulted in new legislation throughout 2020 including the TWSS, EWSS and CRSS all within a matter of months.

Such a dynamic environment requires us as a firm to ensure we are up to date with all developments in a timely manner. We achieve this by dedicating time and resources to ensuring we examine all new legislation domestically and use our Crowe Global network to liaise with colleagues around the world to discuss international developments. The firm is active in publishing a range of insights and commentary on our website.

Just recently, my colleague John Byrne, tax partner, with the help of Michael O’Scathaill, a director in the tax team, authored the first edition of the Irish Tax Institute’s Practical Corporation Tax – The Professional’s Guide, which provides technical and practical guidance on corporate tax matters. This kind of industry participation gives the team here invaluable insight and resources. 

Another area that has stood out to me is the industry knowledge. A specific sector of expertise is the hospitality and hotel sectors, an area that is very much challenged currently. Our specialist expertise across tax, corporate recovery and corporate finance has been a huge benefit to our clients during the last number of months specifically. 

Another area that Crowe has exceptionally strong offering in is the area of global mobility and the tax impact of the movement of individuals / employees in and out of Ireland. There has been a lot of activity in this area with people coming back home to Ireland in particular. Combining with specialist teams in Crowe offices around the world we can provide clients with a truly global offering which is a significant advantage. Find out more about our global mobility services.

What areas are you focusing on in your role?

One of the main areas that I will be focusing on is our international tax offering, working with Irish businesses operating in international markets, and international businesses looking to either trade or invest in Ireland

I work closely with IDA Ireland, assisting them in trying to secure investment projects from businesses located around the world. Crowe’s extensive domestic and international tax resources of the firm is a huge benefit to those clients. I typically act as the primary point of contact to help these companies ensure their structure can achieve tax efficiencies but also stay compliant with the ever-growing number of regulations around filing and compliance. 

At the moment, a particular focus has been working with businesses based in the UK that are looking at using Ireland as a means to continue servicing their EU customers in a tax and cost-effective manner, taking into account changes to VAT and customs treatment post-Brexit. I am closely with our colleagues in the UK and the offering from our UK team, particularly around customs, is a huge benefit to such clients. I have also been working with my Irish client base, structuring their businesses for cross border trade with the UK, whether in goods or services, and making sure that all international tax aspects are planned through

Another key area is working M&A transactions with our corporate finance team for Irish and international clients. Ensuring that the deal is properly structured, and tax is appropriately dealt with as well as performing tax due diligence review and reporting, are important aspects to closing a successful deal for our clients.

I am also continuing my work with Irish owner-managed businesses, using my experience to guide them through their ongoing tax requirements and regulatory obligations.

Contact Cormac to find out more about the wide range of services and specialist expertise Crowe Ireland and the Crowe Global network can offer you.

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