FEM is delighted to confirm that Linda Kam, Manager of Global Mobility and Benefits, at Qantas will be joining us on our 'Achieving operational excellence and agility through effective vendor management' keynote panel at the FEM Sydney Global Mobility Conference 2017 on 27 June.
Linda kindly took some time to answer some of our most pressing questions...
FEM: How long have you been involved in the Global Mobility sector?
LK: My involvement with Global Mobility has stemmed from my experience as an expatriate tax manager for over 10 years. This led to a role directly managing the global mobility program for the Qantas Group across our dual brands – Qantas & Jetstar.
FEM: What changes have you seen in that time?
LK: The growth of technology has led to the creation of innovative tools such mobile device apps for assignees to track their move and data analytics software for companies to capture spend and measure many facets of an assignment. In terms of policies, there is an increasing move towards a flexible model rather than the traditional assignment types based on purpose.
FEM: What do you think are the 3 greatest challenges facing Global Mobility professionals today?
1) ‘Getting a seat at the table’ – trying to ensure the Global Mobility team are viewed as a strategic part of the business, to aid in the decision-making process to send the right person for the role rather than serving a transactional function of moving that person from Location A to Location B
2) Cost restrictions – managing business cost restrictions against employee expectations
3) Global compliance – balancing tax and immigration risks
FEM: Why do you think (this issue) is such a challenge for Global Mobility and why is it important that the audience understand more about the debate?
Effective Vendor Management
With the rise of technology, assignees seem to expect real time (or close to it) responses and a one stop shop for their moves. Effective vendor management is integral to a successful relocation. Streamlining vendors can reduce costs and administration and enable the Global Mobility team to re-focus on more strategic parts of their roles.
To Equalise or Not to Equalise
Lack of understanding is the greatest challenge in this debate. It may lead to employees feeling resentful and cheated if they believe that equalisation swings against them. It may also lead to unnecessary costs and global compliance risks if companies don’t understand the mechanics of equalisation.
FEM: What is the one message you hope delegates take away from your sessions?
LK: One size does not fit all! For effective vendor management, find the right ‘in-source v outsource’ mix for your organisation to allow you to devise strategies to “get a seat at the table”. For the tax equalization debate, once again, engage early with the business so an informed decision can be made with the Global Mobility team prior to any promises conveyed to the assignee.
Linda began her career in Corporate Tax at PwC, but after six years she ventured to the other side – that of a client – with Qantas, where she remains today. At Qantas, Linda soon moved out of Corporate Tax and into Employment Taxes including Expatriate Tax Advisory. With over ten years’ experience in providing advice on expatriate and employment taxes, this led to a natural progression into the world of global mobility. She is currently responsible for global mobility advisory, expat tax structuring and policy across the Qantas Group dual brand structure – Qantas and Jetstar.