RD: What has caught your attention the most about Auxadi now that you are part of the Group?
MB: Auxadi wants to talk! And they deliver what they say they can.
It really is a one-stop-shop, and every country and region in the Group is working the same way, producing the same kind and quality and service.
Auxadi are also transparent with staff about how things are doing in the business. Staff are aware exactly how the company is doing. Victor as CEO lets the whole Group know what the company’s plans are and what is expected. Building alignment and commitment is very powerful in Auxadi.
RD: What opportunities do you think Costa Rica offers for companies considering LATAM?
MB: There is a reason why the biggest companies bring part of their service to Central America, whether it be manufacturing or service. Costa Rica, for instance, has more than 88 companies producing and exporting medical equipment right now. We have robust regime to grant incentives and benefits to FDI, including free trade zones that operate tax free. But, most importantly, we have the talent!
Costa Rica is not the cheapest option, but companies still invest here for the location [Costa Rica has direct access to both the Pacific and the Caribbean] and the talent. Though it’s important to note that Costa Rica is not a tax shelter; there have been several changes in the free trade zone to avoid tax shelter status.
Also, Costa Rica was 2nd country to sign the FATCA agreement, and one of the first to implement CRS. We are working to be part of OECD and have been implementing lots of changes to be more transparent.
RD: What do you think Auxadi can bring to companies?
MB: Global structure and a one-stop-shop for accounting, payroll and tax, internationally. –.
We are the extension of the accounting depts of our clients in their expansion abroad.
Auxadi can help clients understand how Central America works – the mindset, the systems, the culture – but more importantly provide a unique global service leveraging on our online multicountry platform.
RD: How do you think LATAM will move forward post-COVID?
MB: LATAM has many different regions and different countries. It all depends on how the governments have responded and it’s not the same response throughout the region.
In Costa Rica, the vaccination programme is underway – covering everyone 60 years and over. Our economy was hit fairly hard with lockdowns and unemployment peaked some points above 20%, but the economy is now open, and unemployment has dropped. We also big tax reforms a couple of years ago which also affected the economy, but all through it the FDI’s keep coming!
We are seeing a recent trend of businesses returning operations from Asia to LATAM, due to Asia’s regional restrictions and lockdowns. Nearshoring will be a good concept for the region to promote.
If they are smart in what they need to do, Central America can seize the day. But LATAM depends on each individual government response to COVID.
RD: Finally, what do you like to do when you’re not working?
MB: I started my career as an attorney, first working in the corporate sector and then, felt in love with taxation and decided to focus my energies on this area.
I’m a professor in the University in my spare time, teaching tax law. This is a way by which I try to spread my love for the subject, and really feel accomplished when one of my students decides to also dedicate its professional life to taxes and compliance.
At home I have 3 kids, so there is lots of Peppa Pig as background noise! I’ve been married for 9 years with an extraordinary life partner and, as a family, all of us love heading into the wild, walking in the rainforests. We don’t go camping yet, the kids are a little young and my wife isn’t enthusiastic, but we’ll get there, I think.
But I find walking in the forest is the best way to recharge my energies. Last long weekend we went to a cabin in the middle of nowhere with waterfalls and animals – close to nature. All my kids are crazy about animals. Even snakes!
RD: Thanks for speaking with me, Manrique – and it’s a pleasure to have you and Resolve as part of Auxadi!