Dear ADIT students,
We invite you to join preparatory ADIT classes that will happen in Almaty, Kazakhstan from 13-19 April 2017.
For more information: email us at: email@example.com or call +7 707 860 5340
Zhanar Baigenzhenova is one of the first ADIT graduates in Kazakhstan and she has studied and prepared for ADIT exams and also wrote her ADIT thesis under guidance of Dr. Tomas Balco. We have conducted this interview with both Zhanar and Tomas to learn more about ADIT qualification.
Reporter (R): Zhanar, Tomas, thank you very much for taking part in this interview. I believe it is an important achievement for both of You and also a great inspiration to other professional in Kazakhstan to pursue the ADIT qualification. Zhanar, please accept my congratulation on your achievement. Can you please tell me more about yourself and how did you come to study ADIT?
Zhanar Baigenzhenova (ZhB): Thank you! I work as a tax manager at Baker Hughes for 11 years by now. When I knew about ADIT, I got immediately interested since I didn’t have any international qualification and was thinking to obtain one and, since I am in taxation, rather than spending time to obtain any of the accounting qualifications, I have decided to concentrate on tax.
R: Tomas, can you please explain a bit more about ADIT qualification and how is it relevant for tax professionals in Kazakhstan and Central Asia?
Tomas Balco (TB): ADIT qualification is a unique professional qualification designed especially for tax professionals who deal with International Taxation in their careers. By International Taxation I mean the in-depth knowledge of domestic tax law provisions dealing with cross-border situations and tax treaty provisions as well as transfer pricing and cross-border aspects of Extractive Industry and O&G Taxation. This is indeed how the ADIT qualification is composed – 3 exams or 2 exams and thesis on these topics. It is awarded by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (UK professional body) as an advanced qualification in international taxation, which is supposed to complement a local/domestic tax qualification or in absence of such a qualification provide a global benchmark – certifying that the person meets a Global Standard of in-depth International tax knowledge. It provides credibility on the global professional services market both to the individual who qualifies as ADIT graduate and also to the employer who employs such a professional.
R: Zhanar, what motivated you in studying ADIT and would you recommend the qualification to others?
ZhB: Being an International Tax Manager is important to understand in depth the principles and specifics of International Taxation, moreover, I am interested in personal development and for sure, will recommend the qualification to everyone engaged in taxation. It is a good way to receive knowledge and challenge yourself. I would recommend ADIT for those who deal with international tax and transfer pricing matters as well as O&G Industry as one of the special exams is focused on the cross-border aspects of Upstream O&G activities.
R: Zhanar, How do you feel upon completion of ADIT and does the qualification mean anything for your employer?
ZhB: First of all, ADIT is a recognition of my international tax technical skills. That’s my achievement in the area where I am currently in and my manager has given me every support toward ADIT. So, I think that my management is interested in having more professionals in the team to strengthen the organization.
R: Tomas, you are the person who introduced the ADIT qualification to Kazakhstan tax community and started the first preparatory courses and clearly despite relocating in 2014, you persist in preparing Kazakh and Central Asian tax professionals for successfully passing the exams and achieving this qualification. What made you do it and why you continue your efforts?
TB: I have indeed spent 8 years of my professional career in Kazakhstan and I must say that I have enjoyed every single day of it. My very first visit was already an international tax training mission with International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) when I came here in 2006 to teach an intensive International Tax course for PricewaterhouseCoopers. I was fascinated by the country, its nature and the people. One thing that was clear from the beginning was that like other countries in the region, Kazakhstan has been lacking in-depth tax education and training both in the area of domestic and international taxation. Finding well train tax experts was and is until today a major challenge for both domestic and multinational companies. So next to working as tax consultant, I found it important that I contribute to the development of tax education and training as well as tax policy and professional tax qualification through my work at KIMEP and other Universities, working with Amcham Tax Working Group on improving the tax policy and the investment climate and also through introducing the local experts to ADIT – the only global international tax professional qualification. Despite moving out due to my career move, I do feel that my input can still ad value here and I am happy to keep returning and adding value to the people and their country.
R: Zhanar, what role has played Tomas Balco in the process of your preparation?
ZhB.: I know Tomas since 2007 as a great lecturer. While I was practicing international taxation in my job I have got more theoretical knowledge from Tomas on the seminars. Tomas’s teaching talent helped me to learn more in international taxation and gather a valuable technical experience and exam technique required for passing the ADIT exams and writing of the thesis. Without Tomas’s guidelines on working on the thesis I am in doubt I would get “a pass” from the 1st try.
R: Tomas, can you explain us please, what does it take to prepare for ADIT exam or to write ADIT thesis?
TB: The ADIT qualification – being an international qualification with high reputation and standard is not an easy qualification. It is not a leisure and relaxed walk but an uphill struggle with a lot of sweat and hard work even for people who have worked for many years in the field of international taxation. It requires a true and serious commitment on the side of the candidate and also the teacher as well as self-sacrifice, because most of the preparation for the exam does not happen during the working hours, but it is the free time in the evenings, nights and weekends which goes into the preparation as is the case with other professional qualifications. The person who achieves graduation stage is a type of person who you may want to employ – because it indicates not only superb knowledge but also commitment and preparedness of the person to walk the extra several miles up a very steep mountain. The exams are indeed designed to make the candidate go in the depth of the international tax rules and underlying principles and then to reverse and explain these concepts and principles through the answer to the exam question, which is often a case study or reflection on some of the very recent global tax policy development. Zhanar is indeed one of the very few ADIT graduates in Central Asia and CIS region and her successful completion demonstrates her superb knowledge and commitment to her professional career and self-development.
R: Zhanar, What was the hardest part for you in ADIT study?
ZhB.: The hardest was to find a balance between my job, family and working on ADIT. That is also about time and energy.
R: Zhanar, as one of the very few ADIT graduates within several thousands of kilometres around here, tell us what makes the difference of making one to become a successful ADIT graduate?
ZhB.: To be honest, I assume that the students are professionals, so they already know how to effectively use time management techniques. Somebody may not agree with me, but a half an hour of study in the morning (if we wake up earlier than usual) and the same in the evening during working days would really help in addition to weekend time spending for preparation. Also I have used small notebooks with technical abbreviations, table with court practice and other notes which could be reviewed at any place, when you are waiting for somebody/something or even in taxi. Do not ignore reading about BEPS news although there are no so many developments happening now. Quickly switching off from business trips or work projects back to schedule with ADIT is really challenging. Other important things are the review of the course materials, then attempting to write mock exams and verifying your answers with suggested solution. Make sure to find the time for OECD MTC Commentaries as well as Transfer Pricing detailed reading. Write down all your questions to discuss them with Tomas or other peer students.
R: Tomas, how can one become ADIT candidate and how do you support your students in preparation for ADIT exams?
TB: To become an ADIT candidate – you need to register with Chartered Institute of Taxation, but it is an easy and straight forward process – you can do it online – please see the ADIT website – www.adit.org.uk. Similarly, on the website of ADIT you can find the information about the different course providers in different locations. Together with my ToMiVer team – www.tomiver.com, we have developed comprehensive study materials and resource library as monthly ADIT Alert, which brings the recent international tax developments to our students and makes them think and be fully up to date with what is happening outside of Kazakhstan in international taxation. I bring to the classroom also the first hand information from OECD, EU and United Nations as my current role take me through the OECD and EU BEPS meetings and developments and I am also part of the United Nations Committee of Experts on International Taxation, where I actively contribute to the global policy developments. I support my students with the preparatory ADIT courses taking place in Kazakhstan and elsewhere in the form of open in-class sessions, but also in-house training and as my group of students gradually includes tax professionals from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, I have also started with online courses, which very well supplements the in-class tuition and also allows my ADIT students around the world to meet in one classroom and exchange their views and discuss the complex international tax issues.
R: Thank you both. Please accept my congratulation and let me wish you further success in your efforts.
The part of this interview was published in the magazine “IV Investors’ Voice”, April 2016, by the American Chamber of Commerce in Kazakhstan