What do you want from your career? A new challenge every day? The opportunity to travel the world? To make a difference? Financial security? Whatever your reasons, it's important to give the question some genuine thought, especially if you have your eye on working in a competitive field like tax and accounting.
As industry experts at the recent Tax Institute webinar on working as a tax professional revealed, tax is alluring to today's graduates for many reasons. Here we examine several of their suggested benefits of entering the numbers game.
According to Stephen Holmes, CTA and partner at WMS Chartered Accountants, professional services firms are expanding knowledge so they can provide advisory in addition to tax compliance services.
“You need extra skills to ensure clients stay with you and have confidence in your abilities,” he says. For you, this means more exciting and challenging work, as well as opportunities to develop your potential.
Holmes added that a major challenge facing new entrants is how to become an indispensable expert. While you can specialise in an industry or technical area that interests you, he emphasised the importance of getting to know your niche really well.
The transferable skills you develop as a tax professional will give you confidence to pursue global opportunities. Speaking during the webinar, James Collacott, CTA and senior manager at DFK Crosbie, shared his experience in becoming a successful local tax professional after migrating from the UK.
“[The] tax systems are different,” he says. “You need to swallow your pride, knuckle down and work hard.”
If you're seeking variety in your career (as well as in life), the tax and accounting path is for you. As Holmes reveals, there is really no ‘typical day’ once you reach partner level.
“Early on, your days are similar, but doing the same thing over and over is a good thing for your future career.” Your days will become more varied as you climb the ranks, although the repetition you experience at a junior level is still necessary – and extremely valuable, as it will help build your technical and client skills.
How can you kick-start your tax career today?
Collacott encourages budding tax agents to stand out from the crowd by demonstrating their abilities in all facets of the industry. You can undertake the Chartered Tax Adviser program, which increases your knowledge and bridges the gap between the theoretical and practical aspects of practice, or become a member of The Tax Institute. He also suggests gaining education in areas like marketing, management and communication.