International Tax Manager
Visits from the Abominable Snowman and team pajama parties aren’t necessarily things you might enjoy while working in public accounting. But for Ashley, working at Groupon means you can work hard while enjoying all of the oddities that come along with working at a quirky, global company.
First off…can you write a Groupon haiku?
With so many deals – –
possibilities endless – –
what to do today?
So tell us about your job! What do you do and why do you love it?
I am part of the Tax department at Groupon, specifically the International Tax team. I mostly work in the area of transfer pricing, which encompasses all of the intercompany transactions that occur between our related party entities. We have to manage and report these transactions appropriately to foreign tax authorities and there are a lot of rules!
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here?
About six months after I started, I was asked to help out with the sale/divestiture of some of our foreign entities. I didn’t have prior experience in that sort of M&A work, and one of our Tax Senior Managers left Groupon for another opportunity before the sale was completed. It challenged me to get up to speed very quickly. There were a lot of non-tax consequences that had to be considered, so there was input from many teams: Accounting, Corporate Development, Legal, Communications, etc.
This experience gave me an opportunity to work with people from all over the Finance organization, in a way that someone at my level probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do working somewhere else. We all helped each other through the process and my relationships with those teams are stronger now as we continue to tackle new issues and projects.
How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?
By structuring our intercompany transactions in a specific way, we allow ourselves to position Groupon global operations for future success, which translates to more Groupon deals and more opportunities to make Groupon the daily local commerce habit.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
There is a huge assortment of random things I’ve witnessed at the office, from team pajama parties to someone walking around dressed in an Abominable Snowman costume on the first day of winter. Also, all manner of quirky signs and desk decorations mean you can witness something new every day.
What are your biggest accomplishments?
The personal accomplishments I’m most proud of are completing my CPA and running my first marathon. I studied and sat for my CPA while working in public accounting, which required a lot of working hours. I had to stay very focused and really dedicate a lot of my free time to studying. It was so gratifying when I finally passed all the tests. Also, last fall I ran my first marathon in Chicago! As someone who loves running, it was something I had been working toward for a long time. I hope to run another one in the next couple of years in my home city of NYC!
So how did you get to Groupon?
I worked in public accounting at KPMG for a few years in NYC before going to a smaller in-house tax role at a private company. When I decided to move to Chicago, I knew I wanted to stick with an in-house position. The fact that Groupon was publicly-traded, and had a large international footprint meant I would be exposed to a lot of new issues and likely be learning a lot. I was not wrong!
What’s unique about the culture at Groupon as opposed to public accounting?
The culture at Groupon is definitely what makes it unique. Groupon’s background as a start-up combined with its laidback culture makes for a fun work environment. Despite the challenges that sometimes come with a laidback environment (at least for type-A accountant types), there is much to learn at Groupon and I am not done learning yet!
What do your parents think you do?
Be part of a global team.
What do you enjoy about being a member of Women@Groupon?
There are a lot of women in leadership positions at Groupon. I want to get to know them, learn more about how they navigate their careers and be exposed to more of my peers who want the same!
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who are intelligent, hardworking, and collaborative. At the end of the day, I think most everyone is just trying to do a good job, at work and in life. It helps to help each other!
Where can we find you outside of work?
I love to run—with or without my dog, Hank—especially in Lincoln Park along the lakefront. I also enjoy cooking and have been trying to expand my skills with some cooking classes at Sur La Table. My fiance, Mike, indulges me by coming along, too!
If you could do any other job for a day, what would you do?
I’d love to do something creative for a day like photography or interior decorating. No spreadsheets necessary.
What’s your favorite local business?
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I took piano lessons from the time I was 6 until 19!