Walter helps poor African farmers with his knowledge of international transactions

  • Walter Govers
  • 27 March 2020

Walter Govers started at Deloitte as a working student. He is now a consultant at Transfer Pricing. He helped make an impact in Africa and Asia by participating in a project for the Deloitte Impact Foundation.

“I studied fiscal economics in Tilburg and have been working at Deloitte for two and a half years now. After following Tax & Legal’s TOP program, in which you work at different departments according to a rotation schedule, I now work as a consultant in the Transfer Pricing team. I had already been a working student at Deloitte during my studies. Studying and working at the same time allowed me to gain practical experience and I got to know Deloitte. I enjoyed myself so much that I decided to stay.

Transfer Pricing is about cross-border transactions between affiliated entities within a group. Such transactions should be at arm's length, as if the entities were dealing with each other as independent third parties. The resulting projects are interesting because the transactions directly affect the tax revenues of different countries. You deal with the relevant tax authorities and other Deloitte offices abroad and you work with international regulations. All of this makes for a dynamic mix. You really join the clients’ thoughts processes about how to arrange things as efficiently as possible.

In addition to my daily work I worked for the One Acre Stichting through the Deloitte Impact Foundation, together with two colleagues. This Dutch foundation is part of the umbrella One Acre Fund, which operates in Africa and Asia. Smallholder farmers who tend small fields – “one acre” - are helped with fertilizer, seeds and training. As they are very poor, they are unable to pay for this themselves. One Acre provides them with small loans so they can produce better harvests. This significantly increases their income and they find a way out of poverty to support their family or village community. The foundation is helping over a million farmers are by now.

The project partly related to my previous work at Deloitte, I was able to involve an expert colleague with ease, tt makes you aware of how useful the Deloitte network is.

The father-in-law of one of my colleagues is a board member of the foundation in the Netherlands. He asked us whether we could look into possible transfer pricing issues and whether the foundation runs any risk because of donors often directly transferring their donations to the foundation in Africa. I picked up on this, while the Deloitte Impact Foundation soon gave us the go-ahead and made available hours. We had calls with one of the foundation’s contact persons in Africa, responsible for compliance work in the countries where the foundation is active. We had calls with the responsible persons in the US and in the Netherlands too. We wanted to exclude any transfer pricing issues, so we first assessed whether the foundation is exempt from corporate income tax in the Netherlands and whether it has a PBO status. It indeed has this status, which reassured them that everything is properly arranged in the Netherlands, mitigating any transfer pricing issues. It allowed us to provide them with positive answers to all the questions they had.

It was easy to combine the project with our regular work. I was positively surprised about the ease with which the Impact Foundation made available hours, which you can genuinely use and communicate to the client at the same time. Because the project partly related to my previous work at Deloitte, I was also able to involve an expert colleague I had worked with before. It makes you aware of how useful the Deloitte network is. And of the importance to be able to quickly find the right people within Deloitte. We also had some questions about how donations were being recorded, but they were more Audit than Tax related. So, we engaged someone from the Audit practice and were able to immediately provide the foundation with feedback.

It was a very nice experience, running a project like this. Usually you work on large projects where it’s mostly the responsible partner who interacts with the client, while your own role is more supportive. We learned a lot about how such a foundation operates and about the impact they make in all those countries, often the work of volunteers. The energy they display in their work is infectious, it was an immensely positive experience for all of us. I think it's very good that Deloitte stimulates and facilitates this, thus providing for another way to make an impact that matters.

Walter Govers

Consultant Transfer Pricing

Momenteel ben ik 2,5 jaar werkzaam bij Deloitte waarvan 14 maanden binnen het Transfer Pricing team in Rotterdam. Als onderdeel van het TOP-programma binnen Tax&Legal ben ik werkzaam geweest op de Business Tax en Tax Management Consulting afdeling. Naast werken bij Deloitte ben ik in mijn vrijetijd graag aan het sporten (hardlopen, bootcamp, fietsen en skiën) en kan ik erg genieten van heerlijk eten/drinken met vrienden en familie.

When shared goals and different cultures come together

  • Pieter van Dusseldorp
  • 12 March 2020
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