A Global Company Providing a Personalised Service
Spanish VAT Services is a pioneering, independent firm in Spain, offering tax advisory services solely in the area of indirect taxation. Earlier this year, the firm’s Managing Director, Fernando Matesanz found success in AI’s Leading Adviser 2019 where he was selected as the Leading Tax Attorney of the Year, Spain. Recently, we spoke to Fernando who reveals more about the innovative firm’s successful career.
Founded in 2011, Spanish VAT Services is a pioneering, independent firm in Spain offering tax advisory services solely in the area of indirect taxation. Even though the company is fairly young, over these past few years they have quadrupled our size. With offices based in Madrid, Spain’s leading financial, business and logistics centre, and also one of the biggest in southern Europe.
Madrid is an international hub for many companies that see Spain as a bridge for their trade relations with South America. Madrid is also one of the leading European cities when it comes to business tourism and the hosting of congresses. All of this makes Spain a focal point for foreign investment, as well as being the ideal place for companies from different regions to trade in goods and services. Although Spanish VAT Services are based in Madrid, the company provides their services in the whole territory of Spain.
Since inception eight years ago, Spanish VAT Services has grown to become one of the main alternative in the Spanish market to the big international auditing firms, for all those companies who are seeking to find a different kind of advisory service, with high quality standards and highly specialised in the field of indirect taxation. For all this, Spanish VAT Services is currently the main independent provider of advisory services in indirect taxation in the Spanish market. Beginning this interview, Fernando starts by going into detail about the services the company provides to their clients and how they approach them.
“Here at Spanish VAT Services, effectively we are a port of entry into Spain for companies that have decided to operate in our country. We offer a wide range of solutions in relation to indirect taxation, for both local companies and major multinationals.
“By acting as their tax representative, we are able to manage their VAT obligations, coordinate their communications and all kinds of relations with the Tax Authority. Also, we are able to manage their VAT payments or refunds, not only in Spain but also in other countries, since we have a broad network of partners in all EU countries, all of whom are experts in indirect taxation. We are a global company, and as such we can provide global solutions.
“In view of the complexity of the topic, particularly when it comes to cross-border transactions involving various economic operators, we also provide our services to consultants and law firms that require our assistance as experts in indirect taxation. In such cases, we always have the utmost respect for the relationship between these consultants and attorneys and their clients. “The professionals employed by the firm include practising attorneys, duly certified by collegiate bodies to uphold the interests of our clients before the various bodies and tribunals, including the European Court of Justice.
“Our clients are primarily companies that conduct their activities in various jurisdictions, requiring expert and specialist advice regarding the potential impact of the various indirect taxes on these activities. Their portfolios include but are not limited to, logistics companies, major international retailers, financial institutions, organisers of events in Spain, automotive industry and e-commerce operators.”
Staying on topic about the services Spanish VAT Services provides to their clients, Fernando explains to us the company’s ongoing strategy, touching on the techniques employed to ensure they achieve their mission.
“All of our decisions are based upon the needs of our clients. Our strategy is to go where our clients want us to go, accompanying them if they want us to do so. Like any other company, we want to grow and expand our activities. However, this only happens if there is a true motive behind it, and this reason is based on the necessities of our clients. Our clients are corporations that have decided to leave a significant part of their business in our hands, this is a huge responsibility for us. All our strategy and future actions revolve around this idea.”
Enabling the firm to deliver these impeccable services, is the experienced, hard-working and passionate team which forms the backbone of Spanish VAT Services. When discussing the internal culture, Fernando is keen to highlight the significant role the team play in the overall success of the firm.
“The team are a key part of Spanish VAT Services and it is good that they keep this in mind. They must feel that they form part of an important project and that their role is unique and important for the rest of the team. Each person has a mission within the firm and they must be aware of this.”
Bringing the interview to a close, Fernando informs us of key developments within the industry that he foresees, highlighting the ways in which the company will adapt around them.
“The major development will be how to adapt to the needs of the new technologies, as well as to the digital economy. This digital economy is no longer the future, but instead our present and it is now here to stay.
“As a company, we must make sure that we adapt to the development of times. However, we cannot forget that we are lawyers and we work with individuals. Personally, I do not agree with the current obsession to automate all processes, I firmly believe that we cannot automate everything. This is, in my view, a wrong approach. Personal relationships will never be replaced and this applies to work as business advisors.”
Looking ahead to what the future holds, the team at Spanish VAT Services will continue to deliver an exceptional service, ensuring that they not only meet the requirements which have been set by their clients, but also surpasses their expectations. Bringing the interview to a close, Fernando signs off by sharing with us some of the exciting future plans that lie in the pipeline for the company in the upcoming years.
“Moving forward, we will continue to help our clients and carry on working hard to spread what I call the ‘VAT culture’ in my country. Conversely to what happens in other countries (e.g. UK, The Netherlands or Belgium), only a few Spanish Tax and Law firms have decided to set up an Indirect Tax department within their structure. VAT and Indirect Tax advisory industry is an area still to develop in Spain. Also, we are doing a very big effort for developing the Indirect Tax culture amongst tax advisory firms and other companies and industries within Spain. For this reason, this recognition is a big support to all these efforts, as well as a recognition of our idea that indirect tax is and must always be a key topic in the corporations´ tax strategies.
“Our firm is now a reference for VAT matters in Spain and we are considered as the foremost VAT experts in Spain. I humbly believe that we are a unique firm in Spain. We want this to be the same in the future. Lastly, we know it is challenging but, at the same time, we are sure that we will be able to achieve it.”
Web Address: www.spanishvat.es