Toby Ryland leads the corporate tax and VAT division at HW Fisher. With over 20 years’ experience Toby works with a wide range of clients across the technology, property, and retail sectors. In this Q&A Toby discusses what he enjoys most about his role at HW Fisher, how businesses should embrace a hybrid work policy and the potential implications of these policies for tax.
How would you describe your role in three words?
Helping clients prosper.
Favourite thing about your role?
The sheer variety of the work and the client base – no day is ever the same.
What is your career highlight?
Given the number of clients I work with and the numerous areas of tax I deal with, it is difficult to pick one specific highlight. However, I tend to think that the biggest achievements are when a transaction completes successfully and everything goes so smoothly that no-one notices all of the tax structuring that has been done in the background.
What area do you currently specialise in? Tell us what your work involves.
I am one of the unusual breed of tax specialists who is something of an all-rounder. I work with almost all of our clients so it is impossible to specialise in only one area – the advice needed by clients could be on mergers and acquisitions, share incentive schemes, R&D claims, capital allowances, EIS…pretty much anything tax related falls on my desk!
However, I would say that my overriding specialism is giving complex tax advice in plain English.
Tell us about some of the top trends you have been following in the past year – is there something that businesses should be aware of?
The pandemic has forced a new way of working on most businesses – the days of 9-5 sat at a desk in the office are gone. This is something that successful businesses will embrace, providing new opportunities for engagement and motivation of the workforce – staff can work remotely in many instances and can be located anywhere in the world, opening up the opportunity to attract talent that was previously inconceivable. However, this does raise tax risks – perhaps having to operate an overseas payroll or the risk of creating a tax presence overseas. There are many traps for the unwary in this new world.
What is one piece of advice you would give to clients at the moment?
Embrace the new way of working – going back to the “old days” of presenteeism in the office is not going to be sustainable. The businesses that will be successful in future are those that can attract the best talent – and we can be fairly certain that flexible and hybrid working policies will be essential to attract and retain the best people.
What are your goals for your area of the business over the next 12 months?
To consolidate our hybrid working policy such that the team are happy and motivated whilst ensuring that clients receive the same high quality and responsive service that they expect from us.
We are also continuing to grow rapidly and we want to cement our position as the tax advisor of choice for entrepreneurial businesses.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Look at the bigger picture and remember that commercial considerations outweigh tax considerations.
Outside of work, what would you be doing?
Ideally, I would be on a golf course or relaxing on the banks of a beautiful lake whilst carp fishing. In reality, I would be playing with or walking my new puppy to stop her tearing the house to pieces!
Get in touch with Toby for any queries or if there is anything we can do to support you and your own circumstances.