Harmonising profits: Transfer pricing policies in Zim firms

Zimra should strengthen its oversight and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with transfer pricing regulations.

IN the context of Zimbabwe's divisionalised companies, transfer pricing presents a unique set of challenges that require careful navigation.

With the goal of aligning divisional objectives, measuring performance accurately, and managing tax liabilities efficiently, transfer pricing policies play a crucial role in driving sustainable growth in these organisations.

Zimbabwe's divisionalised companies rely on transfer pricing to ensure goal congruence among their divisions. Divisional managers are entrusted with the responsibility of driving their division's performance, and transfer pricing policies serve as the tool to align their objectives with the company's overall goals.

By setting fair transfer prices that reflect the true value of goods and services exchanged between divisions, companies can foster a sense of unity and ensure that the success of one division benefits the entire organisation.

Accurate performance measurement is paramount in Zimbabwe's divisionalised companies.

The transfer pricing system provides divisional managers with a transparent and reliable measure of their performance. By evaluating divisional profits based on fair transfer prices, companies can effectively incentivise managers and reward their contributions.

Striking the right balance between motivating divisional managers and preserving divisional autonomy is crucial, as it allows managers to make independent decisions while ensuring the overall success of the company.

Maintaining divisional autonomy is a fundamental aspect of Zimbabwe's decentralised business environment.

Divisional managers are empowered to make decisions tailored to their division's unique circumstances.

Transfer pricing policies should respect this autonomy by avoiding transfer prices that excessively impact divisional profitability.

By finding the equilibrium between autonomy and central control, companies can foster an environment that encourages innovation, accountability, and divisional success.

However, Zimbabwean divisionalised companies must also navigate the intricate landscape of tax liabilities.

While operating within a single tax regime minimises the impact of transfer pricing on corporate tax bills, multinational companies face the challenge of managing tax liabilities across different jurisdictions.

By strategically allocating profits through transfer pricing policies, these organisations can optimise their global tax positions.

Nevertheless, adherence to regulatory compliance and ethical considerations is crucial to ensure transparency and responsible practices.

In addition to aligning goals and managing tax liabilities, the transfer pricing system serves as a vital mechanism for recording the movement of goods and services within Zimbabwean divisionalised companies.

Accurate recording facilitates proper accounting and financial reporting, enabling transparency and compliance with regulatory standards. It enhances the credibility of financial statements and contributes to a robust business environment.

Moreover, the fair allocation of profits between divisions is essential for maintaining motivation and perceived fairness among divisional managers.

While the advantages of divisionalisation extend beyond financial considerations, the impact of transfer pricing on divisional profit must be perceived as fair to sustain the motivational benefits.

Successfully navigating the complex dynamics of transfer pricing in Zimbabwe's divisionalised companies requires a proactive approach. Staying abreast of regulatory developments, local tax regulations, and industry trends is crucial.

By continuously adapting transfer pricing policies to the changing business landscape, Zimbabwean companies can optimise their potential for sustainable growth and contribute to the overall economic development of the nation.

In conclusion, transfer pricing in Zimbabwe's divisionalised companies plays a pivotal role in harmonising divisional goals, measuring performance accurately, and managing tax liabilities.

By striking the right balance between these objectives, Zimbabwean companies can foster a conducive environment for growth and success.

As the business landscape evolves, companies must remain adaptable and proactive in their approach to transfer pricing, ensuring compliance, fairness, and sustainable practices for the benefit of their divisions and the nation as a whole.


Enhance transfer pricing guidelines: The Zimbabwean government should consider developing comprehensive transfer pricing guidelines specific to divisionalised companies. These guidelines should provide clear frameworks and methodologies for setting fair transfer prices, ensuring goal congruence, and promoting performance measurement.

Strengthen regulatory oversight: Regulatory bodies, such as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), should strengthen their oversight and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with transfer pricing regulations. Regular audits and evaluations can help identify any potential non-compliance issues and address them promptly.

Facilitate knowledge sharing: The government, in collaboration with industry associations and professional bodies, should organise workshops, seminars, and training programmes to enhance the understanding of transfer pricing concepts among divisional managers and finance professionals. This will enable them to make informed decisions and implement best practices.

Foster collaboration and dialogue: Encourage open communication and collaboration between divisional managers, finance departments, and tax authorities. Regular meetings and forums can provide a platform for sharing experiences, discussing challenges, and finding common solutions to transfer pricing issues.

Monitor international tax developments: Given the global nature of transfer pricing, it is essential for Zimbabwean companies to stay informed about international tax developments and emerging best practices. This will help them adapt their transfer pricing policies in line with global standards and minimize the risk of non-compliance.

Promote ethical considerations: Emphasise the importance of ethical conduct in transfer pricing practices. Companies should prioritise fair and responsible allocation of profits, considering not only legal compliance but also the ethical implications of their decisions.

Establish a dispute resolution mechanism: In cases where disagreements or disputes arise between divisions or with tax authorities regarding transfer pricing, a dedicated dispute resolution mechanism can offer a fair and timely resolution. This can help maintain harmonious relationships and ensure the smooth functioning of divisionalised companies.

Conduct regular internal audits: Companies should implement regular internal audits of their transfer pricing practices to identify any potential issues, ensure compliance, and improve overall transparency. Internal audit teams should have the necessary expertise and independence to provide unbiased assessments.

Engage external experts: When necessary, companies can seek assistance from external experts, such as transfer pricing consultants or tax advisors, to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of their transfer pricing policies. These experts can provide valuable insights, guidance, and support in navigating complex transfer pricing challenges.

Monitor and adjust policies: Finally, companies should continuously monitor the effectiveness of their transfer pricing policies and make adjustments as needed. Regular reviews can help identify areas for improvement, address emerging issues, and ensure that the transfer pricing system remains aligned with the company's evolving goals and objectives.

By implementing these recommendations, Zimbabwean divisionalised companies can enhance their transfer pricing practices, promote fairness and compliance, and contribute to a sustainable and thriving business environment in the country.

  • Munengami is a public accountant and registered public tax accountant. He is the managing partner at Pertonady Chartered Certified Accountants. These weekly New Perspectives articles, published in the Zimbabwe Independent, are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge, an independent consultant, managing consultant of Zawale Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, past president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society and past president of the Chartered Governance & Accountancy Institute in Zimbabwe (CGI Zimbabwe). — [email protected] or mobile: +263 772 382 852.


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