Making a move around the world: A CA’s view from Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia
By Simon Parsons CA

20 July 2016

Simon Parsons CA talks to CA magazine about his life and work with a Big Four firm in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Having studied Russian, German and international relations at university, I always wanted to have a global career. 

With the help of ICAS, my ambition has become a reality: I am now a CA working in Tbilisi, Georgia, a country at the crossroads between Europe and Asia.

I started training to be a CA with a Big Four firm in London in 2010. My career – and that of my wife Olga – has taken me to Germany, Singapore and now Tbilisi, where I am a Tax Manager with PwC.

Georgia is a country I have been interested in since my university studies. A couple of years ago I got to know it’s delicious food and stunning mountain scenery on holiday, so when I had the opportunity to move to Tbilisi permanently, I jumped on the plane.

Moving to PwC Georgia, I could step out of my specialism in indirect tax and broaden my knowledge more generally.

When I had the opportunity to move to Tbilisi permanently, I jumped on the plane.

The variety of the work pushes my boundaries and makes my job a rewarding challenge. I get to work in a smaller office of around 70 people, where there is a real community atmosphere.

Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU, and related trade reforms, keep us and our clients busy. Georgia is looking towards Europe for its future, more than to its neighbour, Russia.

I have just had my first corporate tax 'busy season', helping clients file their annual returns. But the next one could be my last.

The Georgian parliament has now followed Estonia’s example and abolished traditional corporate income tax on profits. Instead, a 15% tax will be levied on dividend distributions and non-business expenditure on a monthly basis so, in effect, retained earnings will not be taxed

It will certainly be interesting to help clients with the transition, and the impact of the new tax regime.

Without being a CA, I don’t think I would have been able to move and work abroad so easily.

My past and present employers see the CA as a robust professional qualification, and ICAS was very flexible when I needed to continue my training outside the UK.

I have also made the most of the ICAS mentoring scheme, which has been really helpful, and the CA Today daily emails have helped me keep up to date.

Without being a CA, I don’t think I would have been able to move and work abroad so easily

If you would like to move abroad as a CA, you have to be active. Speak to colleagues, mentors and specialist recruiters to find out what opportunities are available.

You should be clear in your own mind why you would like to make the move and what experience and ideas you can bring

Moving internationally can be daunting. Look for advice and support from within your company, and make the most of online forums and networks such as InterNations.

Most importantly, think about your destination. What do you know about the country? Will you and your family enjoy the different climate, cuisine and culture?

If you are ready to throw yourself into life in your new home, and even pick up the language, working in another country as a CA can be an enjoyable and enriching experience at any stage of your career.

Simon Parsons CA is a Manager, Tax and Legal Services, with PwC Central, Asia and Caucasus B.V Georgia Branch. 

The full version of this article appears in the July/August 2016 edition of CA magazine.


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