MANILA, Philippines — “Success is when you are happy and have peace of mind,” this is what P&A Grant Thornton partner Olivier Aznar said when asked about his own definition of success.

“Some may say, that as consultants, it would be difficult to have peace of mind, because we bear not only our own problems, but also our clients’ numerous problems.  My response to that would be, peace of mind doesn’t mean the absence of problems, but it means the presence of God in the midst of problems,” Aznar said.

Aznar, a certified public accountant and lawyer, has been with P&A Grant Thornton for more than two decades now. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the top auditing and professional services firms in the country.

Through hard work and determination, Aznar proved that he made the right decision in pursuing accountancy in college.  He graduated cum laude from the University of the East. 

Despite his early accomplishments and position at a prestigious accounting company, Aznar’s ambition to do more, as well as his innate curiosity led him to pursue law.

“That helped me a lot too when I am dealing with lawyers in the firm and clients. Of course, I am in tax practice, so when I’m talking to lawyers, I know how to handle myself and my team – for the protection as well of the firm,” Aznar said.

As  partner  of the Tax   Advisory and Compliance division of P&A Grant Thornton, Aznar conducts tax compliance and due diligence reviews, handles Court of Tax Appeals litigation support services and provides advisory services on issues affecting individual and corporate taxpayers. 

He also assists clients in handling their tax assessments and other compliance requirements with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and other regulatory agencies.

Aznar also has extensive experience in the audit of local and multinational companies in a wide range of industries, as he worked in the company’s audit division for nine years, before his current post.

Asked what  are the major challenges of  working in the tax industry, Aznar cited the constantly changing tax and accounting rules.

“You have to be updated,” he said.

The CPA-lawyer shared that one of the common tax problems experienced by their clients is when they receive the dreaded notice of audit or Letter of Authority from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“Actually, the first advice we give our clients is to relax, because if you know the rule, you will know how to respond, you will know how to react,” Aznar said.

“Business owners normally fret about receiving an audit letter from the BIR. We tell them that we can help them analyze which are valid and which are contestable,” he said.

Looking back at his 20-year journey with P&A Grant Thornton, Aznar has definitely exceeded his personal goals. 

“My goal when I joined the firm was just to reach the highest level of employee position,meaning the director level. I really did not aim to be one of the partners back then,”Aznar said.

With so much achievements under his belt, Aznar said he no longer aims for personal recognition, but rather, he aims to be able to contribute to the welfare of others.

“Ten years from now, I hope that I would be able to say, that I contributed well to the growth of our firm, our people, and our clients,” Aznar said.

“My parents have always reminded us  that, you cannot bring with you your wealth and fame when you are in the afterlife; but what would matter would be how you have utilized what were entrusted to you in order to do good things for others. All these things and talents are never yours, you can never boast of them, they were just entrusted to you,” he shared.

Reflecting on Aznar’s personal definition of success – which to him means being happy and having peace of mind – one can say that Aznar has already achieved success in life.   
“On a personal note, I am very happy, because I married the prettiest woman in the world, I have my very sweet three-year old daughter, and I will have my baby boy soon,”Aznar said.

While Aznar regards himself as a budding father, noting that he has only been a father for not too long, he makes sure to spend as much time as he can with his daughter once he arrives home from work.

“When I go home, I really make sure that it’s quality time,” Aznar said.

As someone who has already established his presence in the country’s tax industry, Aznar has one piece of advice to aspiring CPA-laywers: “Remember that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” 
“So, if one really wants to achieve his goal to become a CPA-lawyer, focus your time and efforts toward achieving it. And don’t forget to pray and seek Divine guidance, as not everything is under our control,” he concluded.


As published in The Philippine Star, dated 09 March 2020