Posts Tagged ‘CPAs’

This week’s blog post is written by Withum’s International Services Group member, Phyllis Tsai.

Withum’s International Services Team recently welcomed one of our HLB International network firms from China, Baicheng Tax Consulting Services.

Beicheng has been operating as a professional tax service company since 2003. They mainly service large-scale companies and corporations in China. They are based in Shanghai and have braches in Beijing and Shandong Province. All of Baicheng’s five directors (plus one translator) came to visit Withum’s Princeton office to gain an understanding of the U.S. tax system and an introduction to Withum’s culture and various services we provide to our clients. Throughout this meeting, Baicheng also gave Withum some insight of the Chinese tax system and culture relating to marketing.

HLB baicheng

Since most of our visitors do not speak or understand English, May Du (senior tax accountant in Withum’s Princeton office) and I practiced our Chinese skills to try to translate Withum’s, culture, various industry and service niches, and social media involvement, etc. into Chinese terms our visitors would understand. Withum’s attendants also used this opportunity to practice correct business card exchange etiquette in China. The following are some points we learned from meeting our HLB friends:

  • China does not have many social media tools as we do for Baicheng to market their services. They do not have access to Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook. They have limited access to LinkedIn.
  • They have limited internet access so it is difficult for them to download HLB training materials or provide their clients training online. Therefore, they hold many conferences to provide the training to their employees and tax updates to their clients.
  • China does not have individual tax returns currently. Chinese withhold taxes from their paychecks in lieu of filing tax returns (although this policy will change soon).
  • Less than 10% of companies hire accounting firms to prepare corporation tax returns.
  • China revised their transfer pricing rules recently which would be more in line with OECD rules (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
  • Some of Baicheng’s clients would like to invest abroad since Chinese government has been encouraging companies and individuals to do so.

During early 2016, it was reported by news media that due to China’s “Go Global” strategy, Chinese companies have invested more money in foreign locations in the first ten weeks of 2016, compared to all of 2015. Chinese companies invested $110 billion until mid-April 2016, compared to $108 billion in 2015.

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Business-CardIt has been several years since I last went back to Taiwan to visit my relatives. During my recent trip there, I felt more like a “foreigner” than before. I observed many differences between the Taiwanese and American culture etiquette. For example, during a so called, “family banquet,” where I did not know 95% of the people, I had an opportunity to reacquaint with one of my cousins whom I had not seen since he was in elementary school. I asked for his business card so we can keep in touch in the future. He presented me his business card with both hands and a slight bow. While he bowed to me, he also spoke a short phrase which meant to please provide him feedback to help him improve. I was intrigued since I saw this done during the business environment, but not during a social event. In addition, since we are closely related cousins, I did not realize that this etiquette also applied to us. After a long conversation with my cousin, the following are what I found out about the business card exchange etiquette in Taiwan, which is very similar to Japan:

  • When presenting your business card, you hold the card with both hands. Make sure you hold the card facing your contact so he/she can read it.
  • A small quick bow to show your respect.
  • It is best to stand up when exchanging cards.
  • Exchange cards one-on-one, so don’t distribute your cards like dealing cards in a casino.
  • Don’t put your cards in a stack on a table and offer others to take your cards.
  • When receiving a business card, take the time to read the card in front of your contact. Don’t just shove the card into your pocket, especially NOT into your back trouser pocket.

And yes, in any event, regardless social or business, always bow back if someone bows to you to express their thanks. Don’t just nod and say, “you are welcome,” thinking you did good.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact your WithumSmith+Brown professional, a member of WS+B’s International Services Group or email us at international@withum.com.

By Phyllis Tsai, CPA, MBA, CGMA | 609.520.1188 | ptsai@withum.com

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