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Grant Thornton

  • #5 in Accounting & advisory
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Lillian Poh

I really enjoy being able to take a deep dive into the companies and industries that our clients operate in. I work with clients who develop all types of innovative products and services which I never even knew existed prior to working.

What's your job about?

I am a graduate of the Transfer Pricing (TP) team, a specialist team of the firm’s Tax division. More specifically, TP is an area of tax which focuses on the tax outcomes that arise from dealings between related companies in multinational enterprise groups.

I assist with writing reports which quantitatively and qualitatively establish whether our client’s related party transactions are ‘arm’s length’. That is, I help establish if the transactions are comparable to commercial dealings between independent companies.

I perform economic analyses for a wide range of transactions. This might range from determining appropriate interest rates for the provision of debt funding, licence fees for the grant of intellectual property rights or mark-ups to be applied to the provision of back-office services. In order to complete these analyses, this involves researching into comparable companies and comparing key profitability metrics. I also undertake qualitative analyses by assessing and documenting our client’s supply chain. This typically involves attending client meetings to gain a deeper understanding of their business operations, sometimes at our client’s site if possible.

Another part of my role involves assisting companies with their transfer pricing compliance obligations. Companies that exceed a certain value of international related party transactions are required to make additional disclosures in their income tax return. I liaise with clients and other teams in the firm to gather the necessary information, work with the client ensure their disclosures are accurate, and finally assist with lodgement of these documents.

What's your background?

I was born and raised in Melbourne. During my final years of high school, I enrolled in an economics class and found that I really enjoyed the application of the knowledge I gained in the classroom to the world around me. This inspired me to enter into an economics and finance degree at the University of Melbourne, where I was able to further my studies in this area.

Alongside my university studies, I took the opportunity to work in numerous part-time jobs and participate in university student societies. I tutored high school students, worked as an assistant accountant, and even worked as a retail assistant at the Australian Open during the summer. To explore my interests in fields outside my chosen area of study, I also undertook several internships in accounting and marketing, as well as held the position of President of a student marketing society.

Upon graduating, I focused on finding a role that would suit my academic background and one that would allow me to build upon my broad range of interests in different business industries. This led me to apply for the Transfer Pricing graduate position at Grant Thornton. I have now been working here for six months and am really enjoying it! I have had exposure to a wide range of interesting client issues and find that I’m constantly learning something new every day.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

This role is one that someone with a different background could take on! Having a strong quantitative background would be useful for this role due to the quantitative analyses we undertake in my role. Having said that, this role is suited towards anyone who likes to solve complex problems and is naturally curious, especially in relation to understanding how businesses work.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I really enjoy being able to take a deep dive into the companies and industries that our clients operate in. I work with clients who develop all types of innovative products and services which I never even knew existed prior to working. As part of undertaking detailed business analyses for these companies, I have had the opportunity to meet with CEOs and CFOs to hear directly from them about the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of their businesses. Our clients have extensive knowledge regarding their businesses and market environment, and it’s always really interesting to hear about what makes their business tick!

What are the limitations of your job?

It can become quite demanding during busy periods. There are times where I will be required to work late hours to meet reporting deadlines.  Whilst it can be difficult to maintain work-life balance during these periods, these are balanced out with quieter periods during other times of the year. In addition, our team members are all very supportive of one another, where everyone contributes to help others out when required.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Seize each opportunity to learn as much as possible about different career paths that may appeal to you while you’re still a student. This can be done through applying for internships, volunteering, or participating in university events.
  2. Learning about what you don’t like in a job is equally as important as knowing about what you do like.
  3. Take the time to cultivate interests and hobbies outside of your academic pursuits.