Gerd Feldmann, originally from Germany, leaves Accru Felsers soon after four months as an international tax assistant with us. When Glenda, our managing partner, interviewed Gerd via Skype, she thought he’d be a great addition to our German desk and transfer pricing team. Gerd shares his experiences here which include climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and being bitten by a koala!
What experience did you have to get the job?
I have a degree in International Taxation & Law and a Master’s in Tax Economics underway. I’d also been working with a Dutch tax advisory firm specializing in international taxation and German cross-border trade issues for a number of years.
Why did you want to work in Australia?
I came to Australia with my girlfriend who worked at a renowned research institute in North Sydney during our time here. Australia had always appealed to us because of its stunning nature and wildlife, great weather and easy-going lifestyle.
I also knew that Australia has a well-designed tax system and is often at the forefront of international tax developments, so it was an interesting destination from a professional perspective.
Sydney is also a hub for international commerce and usually the first city that foreign investors have in mind when they think about Australia. Combining travel with working at an Australian accounting firm like Accru Felsers seemed the perfect way to develop my professional skills.
What sort of work did you do at Accru Felsers?
Due to its German history, Accru Felsers has many clients from Germany, Austria and many other countries as well as Australia, which made it the perfect firm for me. The teams are internationally minded and specialise in assisting foreign companies with setting up and managing their Australian investments and businesses. My international background and English-taught tax degree enabled me to assist with a wide range of international tax problems.
My work included transfer pricing benchmarking studies, drafting Local Files for multinational companies that have a presence in Australia, and drafting international tax advice. I also did tax research and helped colleagues with translating German legal documents and correspondence.
What are some of the differences in business or social culture?
I immediately noticed that the Australian social and business culture is less formal compared to German culture. For example, clients in Germany are addressed by their surname, whereas in Australia people immediately use first names (or even ‘mate’). Australians in general are kind and approachable, even to strangers, which genuinely surprised me in a large city like Sydney. The Dutch are more similar to the Australians, being less formal in doing business. They are however greater risk-takers and quicker to make business decisions than Australians and Germans.
What are some experiences you’ve enjoyed in Australia?
I had wonderful experiences while traveling across Tasmania, diving at the Great Barrier Reef and enjoying Sydney’s food culture. I also will not forget that I was bitten by a Koala in Victoria! As a departing gift, Accru Felsers made it possible for my girlfriend and I to climb Sydney’s Harbor Bridge (pictured above), which was amazing!
What’s your advice to other young professionals thinking of working in Australia?
The working holiday visa has always been a perfect way to combine travel and work in Australia. But if you can find work that lies within your career path, even better! Australia is a small economy compared to other countries and welcomes experienced workers in certain industries.
I would advise working holiday makers to look out for jobs that suit their specific skills. That way, you will not only have a good time traveling through Australia, but also further your career and gain valuable professional experiences in the process.