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Amar Parmar

DNA of a Tax Leader

DNA Tax: Amar Parmar headshotAmar Parmar is a Chartered Professional Accountant with 14 years of public company tax, accounting, finance and corporate governance experience. He has been First Majestic’s Tax Director since November 2012 and has been responsible for the company’s global tax function with a focus on financial reporting, group financing, reorganizations, deal structuring, transfer pricing, and audit defence. Prior to joining the Company, he spent 4 years as Tax Manager with two Vancouver based mining companies. Mr. Parmar also brings public company taxation, auditing and assurance experience with PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”) LLP and KPMG LLP.  

Tax Director
First Majestic Silver Corp.

DNA Tax: Amar Parmar, First Majestic LogoHow long have you been a leader in Tax?
I have worked with tax in some capacity over the past 10 years but it became more of a focus when I moved to New Gold in 2008 when I assisted in bringing their tax function in-house. I reported directly to the CFO and was responsible for everything tax related; from the compliance and provisions projects to the tax planning initiatives across multi-jurisdictions.

Have you always aspired to achieving a senior leadership role in Tax?
When I first started my career it was in Audit and I didn’t have an aspiration to specifically take on a senior leadership role in Tax specifically, that started later on in my career. In every job I pursued I have always had the ambition to excel in my role and to learn all aspects of my role and beyond so when I moved into tax it was exactly the same mentality.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced along your career path?
Working within industry is an ever changing landscape which requires you to have a good degree of adaptability. In the tax environment if you don’t adapt to changes, it will expose your company to risk. I’ve learned that you must evolve with the needs of the organization to keep it moving forward.

What technical skills do you think are integral to role?
I think strong communications skills, both written and verbal, is integral because you will need to explain technical tax information to non-tax specialists, such as Senior Leadership and the Board of Directors, so that they can make informed decisions. It’s also important when dealing with colleagues and/or clients so that you are able to clearly explain what information is needed, why and when it is needed by. Having proper communication skills can also ensure you provide constructive feedback to your team members which will help them develop and be more productive.

What is your advice to someone who is moving up the ranks in the field and wants to pursue a management/executive career?
Find areas you enjoy and excel at them. Whether that may be a tax niche or a company you really value, this will bring the best out of you. I didn’t expect to be in Tax but was exposed to some tax work while working within Audit and found that I really enjoyed it so I was keen to expand on that skill-set. On that note I find it’s best to keep your technical skills up to date, this may be anything from continuous technical sessions to keeping up communications with your peer group.

How important is it to be exposed to all areas of the business?
Very important. You should be able to understand the numbers and what makes them different but having a good grasp on what’s happening in the business ensures you’re involved with the inner workings of it and will provide a more rounded view of where those numbers are coming. With this more detailed view you can make better informed decisions.

What’s your favourite part of your job?
I like the people I work with. This always makes the environment in which you’re working much more enjoyable and counts towards a large part of job satisfaction. It’s important to find a company and culture you feel comfortable with.

In your opinion, how important is networking?
Critical. My last two positions came to me as a result of my professional network. It expands your knowledge by keeping up to date with what’s happening in the market and allows you to share complex technical issues to work through with other experts in your field. I am on LinkedIn for social networking and I find it’s helpful, however, it’s definitely not a substitute for personal relationships; my personal network has assisted me much more than the extended social networking.  

Compared to 5 or 10 years ago, in your opinion how would you say your role has evolved?
In the past Tax was viewed solely as compliance- and returns-focused. However, now it is recognized as a higher profile within business and is more integrated with other functions. We’re now looking at improving efficiencies, management and planning exercises, and restructuring work.

What advice would you give to the next generation of professionals aspiring to become a Tax leader?
Keep sight of what it is you’re looking for and be focused on what you need to do to achieve those goals. Work your way up and get as much experience and exposure as you can to make yourself a more well-rounded technical professional. If your position doesn’t naturally expose you to new things then ask for new projects, be proactive in expanding your skills because if you’re not willing to grow yourself, how can you expect an organization to look to you to contribute to their growth?