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Praxity’s all set to make Chicago our kind of town

Praxity Chicago 2018

As Praxity’s North American International Tax Conference makes a welcome return to the windy ‘city in a garden’, we look at what makes these ever-expanding annual events so distinctive … and popular.

Praxity conferences are an opportunity to join fellow professionals from around the world, to share expertise, hear from top experts and get fit for future challenges. Great speakers, stimulating content, new ideas and different perspectives.

Although technology has made it easier to interact across great distances and time zones, face-to-face interaction has never been more valuable. Conferences are a chance to share and build new skills and insights, strengthen existing links, forge new ones, enhance client service and foster new business opportunities.

The number of delegates attending Praxity’s conferences swells year on year – the 250 attending this year’s Global Tax & Fiscal event in Barcelona represented a 15% increase in take-up.

But it’s the North American International Tax Conference that has always been particularly popular –with newcomers as much as seasoned industry professionals enjoying the chance to train and network with colleagues and clients from all over the world. Attendance grew by an unprecedented 25% last year (with 38% more clients attending) and this year looks set to surpass that. More than 400 people are expected to attend, over a quarter of whom will be clients.

Along with presentations on global tax issues from authoritative international leaders from across business and the accounting profession, and, like other Praxity conferences, this event offers learning and networking opportunities for accounting professionals who work with foreign subsidiaries, foreign parents or have employees abroad that are responsible for international taxation issues.

Courses for anyone keen to understand the concepts and challenges facing North American multinationals and those companies from elsewhere operating in North America, offer the chance to learn from examples drawn from real businesses operating in the US, Canada and across the globe.

So, as the conference makes a fitting return to Chicago where ‘only’ 200 delegates joined us last time, Plante Moran Partner Kellie Becker, chair of the steering committee, shared her thoughts – on what makes the NA International Tax event so distinctive, and what accounts for its ever-growing success.

Why does Praxity hold a North American International Tax Conference?
Professional development is very much at the heart of these events, which provide in-depth technical training on cross-border issues with a North American focus for Praxity Participants’ staff and their clients. There’s up to 15 hours of CPE available.

People ask how it differs from the Global Tax Conference. Although it’s not unusual for Participants from across the world to attend both our main annual tax conferences, a key difference is that we have clients attending this one, which is focused more specifically on technical training for handling the distinctive challenges of clients who have US international tax requirements. Out of 26 sessions offered, seven are delivered by our Praxity delegates from outside North America and are focused exclusively on specific country updates, including global audit and transaction services. All are designed to build our clients’ awareness and insight.

And it’s not just about NA International tax, as State and Local Taxes (SALT) also has a programme, integrated with the main conference, particularly addressing those issues of internal US rather than international NA tax for inward investors, and those expanding into USA from overseas.

Quite aside from the opportunities to network with experienced colleagues and clients from all over the world, the sessions are tailored to delegates’ experience and needs – whether they’re a newcomer to the profession or a senior industry professional.

Why do you think attendance has been growing year on year?
Every year we update the agenda to include the hottest international topics and emerging trends that our Praxity colleagues and clients want to hear about. We have thought-shaping, industry-leading speakers to provide critical insights that help us to develop creative responses to the challenges we all face.

Our clients find it very valuable to have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with their international teams. It gives us a rare opportunity to spend two whole days focussed on deepening our relationship with our clients and Praxity colleagues around the globe.

Any thoughts on why the Chicago event seems so popular?
Although the reputation of our conferences has been growing there are probably a few particular things driving popularity this year – Chicago is an attractive city with a wealth of historical sights, hospitality and culture to enjoy and it’s easy to fly into. But it will be a surprise if the hot topic of US tax reform isn’t one of the main reasons for people wanting to join us this year.

We must be doing something right!
Everyone is focused on providing a great experience for our clients, showcasing how Praxity really works and the benefits they enjoy from our membership of the Alliance. It makes it tangible for them – the fact that a client can hear directly from someone in China on what the latest pitfalls are can make all the difference.

But perhaps it’s best to leave the last word to the delegates who have joined us through time:

“Praxity provides an excellent opportunity to see and meet country and subject-matter experts in both formal and informal settings. The networking opportunities were excellent. I left with several great new connections.”

“A useful opportunity to train and network in international tax, an area often lacking in good opportunities to do so.”

“Having been to a number of these events over the years, I found both the organization of the conference and the quality of the venue excellent.”