Mark Lowis CTA is Special Counsel in the Private Advisory division of Mills Oakley in Brisbane. His areas of specialty include income tax, stamp duty, trusts and succession. He has been a member of The Tax Institute since 2014.
We asked Mark about his life and career.
How did you start in tax?
I started my career as a chartered accountant in a regional North Queensland firm. I was inspired by a number of very ‘hands-on’ accountants who worked hard to ensure that their clients obtained practical outcomes. I got a sense quite early on that taxation was a critical issue for all private businesses, and that they relied heavily on their advisers.
What’s your most memorable career moment to date?
I can’t single out one particular moment as being more memorable than another. I am most satisfied when I know the right outcome has been reached and my clients are well serviced. I would be quite happy for my career to contain a series of these satisfactions!
What do you see as the main challenges for tax practitioners this year?
For private business advisers, I think one of our challenges will be coming to terms with how the newly introduced superannuation measures will practically affect the structuring of small business for overall wealth maximisation. It will be interesting to see how the school of thought evolves and whether there will be a shift in basic structuring preferences throughout the business lifecycle.
For the broader profession, I believe that our challenge continues to be understanding our place and relevance in the market and the nature of the value we provide, particularly as technology continues to encroach on knowledge-based industries.
What do you like about being a member of The Tax Institute?
The Tax Institute delivers excellent industry insights and thought leadership. It is obvious to me that the content is built by practitioners for practitioners. And while I enjoy rigorous technical delivery, I draw particular value from the members who offer up the benefit of their experience.
On a more personal level, The Tax Institute gives me an opportunity to socialise with like-minded people who are facing the same challenges — which is energising.
How does your membership benefit your practice and clients?
The Tax Institute is a major source for my ongoing education. It helps me to stay up to speed with the latest technical developments, as well as the observations and experiences of other experts in my field.
Given that my clients are private business owners, my work always involves understanding their objectives and helping them make the right decisions. I need to have a strong command of the technical issues at play in any scenario in order to inform their decision-making. In a sense, I would say that my clients benefit mostly from the collective knowledge of The Tax Institute, given that I employ this knowledge to continually assess and enhance my ‘advisory toolbelt’.
How do you relax?
I like to play guitar, ride my motorcycle and ski.
Do you have advice to someone entering the profession?
A career in tax is hard work. Commitment to continuous education and improvement is a daunting prospect for most. However, reward accompanies application and there are many opportunities to make meaningful impacts on the lives of your clients.
I would challenge those entering the profession to always work hard to understand what their clients truly want and deliver it!
This profile was originally published in the April 2017 issue of The Tax Institute's member-only journal, Taxation in Australia.