With Amway’s stat and tax function run via global business services, PwC acts as its boots on the ground around the world and helps it stay futureproof.
In 2019, Amway, a multi-level marketing company, transformed its global shared services into a global business services (GBS) concept based in Kraków, Poland and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This concept enables the company to successfully centralise a number of functions, such as IT, human resources (HR), marketing and finance (including tax), thereby helping it drive efficiencies around the world.
“Up until then, we’d been organised in a very regional way. With regional directors having control over their functions. That meant that we lacked the ability to control or even influence the way we were meeting statutory filing requirements. It was mostly done ad hoc and we were simply informed that it was done,” explains Colin Seegmiller, Vice President Global Tax, Amway. He adds, “I wanted to have a standardised approach on certain key elements. When we looked, there were certain competencies that were consistent across all regions; statutory (STAT) transfer pricing (TP), corporate income tax (CIT), value-added tax (VAT), indirect tax (ITX), etc. So we organised according to those competencies.”
The concept proved to be so successful for the region that Amway is now introducing GBS for its global operations. In addition to GBS centres in Krakow and Kuala Lumpur, the company also established a GBS operation in Guangzhou, China. And it tasked PwC with supporting the transformation.
“We started our global GBS journey just over a year ago and we went out to find the right firm to help us. Even during the RFP (request for proposal) process, the PwC team was by far the most willing to really listen to our concerns and what we wanted to accomplish, and truly adapt their approach to what we’re trying to do. I’ve found that even since we chose them, they’re very willing and open to make changes, to alter course, to listen and to adapt. They’re just a fantastic group to work with,” Colin Seegmiller enthuses.
That PwC is part of a global network is also essential. “When you consider the transformation we’re trying to achieve at Amway, we have to have a firm that has the capacity to address our needs globally, that can be our ‘boots on the ground’ where we need them, as it were. PwC provides that. It means we don’t have to have our own tax professionals in every location around the world, but use PwC,” Colin Seegmiller explains.
“Would I recommend PwC to others looking to achieve something similar?” Colin Seegmiller muses, “Absolutely! It brings the technology, it’s our boots on the ground. There are going to be issues with any firm you work with. What’s important is to have a partner that you trust to work closely with you, that helps you deal with the challenges you face. If you’ve got an office that’s not performing as it should, your partner works together with you to identify the issue, make required changes and helps you move forward. That’s the key to success.”
And he adds, “That’s why PwC got the bid. The individuals are outstanding and are helping me use the tools PwC has available to accomplish what I’m trying to accomplish.”
"The PwC team was by far the most willing to really listen to our concerns and what we want to accomplish."
Technology also plays a huge role in the reason why Amway opts to work with PwC. One of Amway’s key competency areas is tax, technology and processes, the lead for which works closely with PwC to leverage our tax technology expertise.
“It’s essential to marry up what both are doing. With PwC’s Engagement Centre, we have easy access to tax technology trends and solutions which is very important,” Colin Seegmiller says. And it’s something that the client intends to call further on. He notes, “PwC brings in global technology that we can build around, that we can capitalise on. It knows what’s happening in the domains of STAT, TP, VAT, CIT and so on and helps us introduce new concepts to remain futureproof.”