The Interview

An interview with the two personally liable partners Mathias Böger and Philipp Knittel talking about motivation as well as the contents and challenges of an often misconceived occupation.

What inspired you to become a tax consultant?

MB: Already at school it became evident that there were certain topics that I preferred: numbers, calculations as well as reading. As a result I chose this occupation.

PK: Financing has always fascinated me. Even today I am still enthralled by the fact that – contrary to the general opinion – tax consultancy is an extremely diverse job. An occupation in which one is confronted with a variety of different people and in which communication plays an important role. Furthermore, a good consultant should be creative and open to lateral thinking.

Have your expectations of the job been confirmed?

MB: Yes, absolutely, I agree with my colleague. I definitely enjoy my job because it means working with exciting topics and with people with whom I can build relationships based on trust. On top of that one gets to know a variety of different companies which I think is very interesting, too. Being self-employed also gives me a lot of scope when it comes to making decisions and requires me to take responsibility for the work I do for my clients – both aspects I enjoy.

What are your main guidelines?

MB: What mainly affects my activities is the aim to represent the interests of my clients in the best possible way by finding an optimal way to implement German tax law.

PK: Of course I agree absolutely with my colleague on this point. Additionally, it is important for us to start a dialogue with our clients to allow us to truly consult rather than simply fill in numbers in forms. In many cases we consider ourselves to be the external tax department of our clients’ companies which they can rely on and which thinks and acts in their best interest as a matter of course. In particular, this has a formative aspect and, most importantly, it happens in advance.

When does it become important that lawyers and tax consultants cooperate?

MB: Whenever issues under company law are concerned. This includes changes to the company structure, acquisitions as well as disposals or changes in the composition of partners. In such instances there is a large area of overlap between civil law and tax law and as a consequence it is important to cooperate on an interdisciplinary level. This is not only important because responsibilities are regulated by law but also because an optimal solution can only be identified and implemented if lawyers and tax consultants work together as a team.

PK: In view of the increasing complexity of the legal situation we consider ourselves very lucky to also be able to resort to the expertise of a lawyer.By cooperating with Ralf Harder, lawyer and tax consultant, we are able to offer our clients holistic solutions in our “one-stop shop”.

In the future what aspects do you think will gain importance in the field of tax consultancy?

PK: The ability to take complex and not always straight-forward regulations and structures and apply them in a way that the client can be offered clear, understandable and feasible solutions. Tax consultants will also be required to think in a wider context and – for example – take international aspects into account when advising a client. It will no longer be sufficient to consider a problem as an isolated issue. In order to achieve a good result it will be necessary to consider the entire context – thinking outside the famous “box”.

If I hadn’t become a tax consultant I would be a …

MB: … musician – guitar and vocals. Because of the Beatles.

PK: … captain on a harbourtugboat.

Thank you very much for the interview!

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