What it takes to be the Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year

Stephen Carpenter is a senior partner in KPMG's national Deal Advisory - Tax business. He is the winner of the 2018 Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year award. Following his award, we spoke to Stephen about his journey, what the award means to him and how The Tax Institute has helped his career.

Tell us about your tax career 

I’ve worked at KPMG for most of my
career, and in pretty much every part of
corporate tax. It’s been a great privilege. In
the last several years, I’ve been asked to
focus on mergers and acquisitions (M&A),
which builds on the previous experience
I’ve gained.
That broad experience is especially
important in M&A because good advisers
look at each transaction from many different
angles — not just to identify risks, but also
to identify opportunities to do things more
efficiently. Often, it’s the simplest ideas that
create the most value for clients.

What does winning The Tax
Institute’s award mean to you? 

It’s wonderful to be recognised for the
investment I’ve made in the profession.
And because the award is based on client
feedback, it also reflects the quality of the
work that our team produces in the market.
That’s the most gratifying thing.
We’re a national team of about 12 partners
and 100 staff. We’re well integrated and
we really work as a team. I’m especially
proud of the culture that I’ve built here in
Melbourne. Apart from day-to-day servicing
of clients, building culture is the most
significant thing that I spend time on as
a leader. A strong team culture produces
pride and attention to detail that leads to
great service. And our clients see that.

How have your board roles in
the arts community benefited
you as a tax professional? 

I’ve been a passionate singer all my life and
have sung in choirs for many years. Being
involved in the arts, both at a grassroots
level and in governance and financial
roles, is wonderful for being connected
to the local business market and meeting
people outside of my normal client base.
For advisers looking for governance
experience, my recommendation is to look
for organisations that already match your
personal interests and passions.
My board roles have also given me
exposure to people in the business
community who have been more
experienced than me. That has
provided the opportunity to learn by
watching — how those people carry
themselves, chair meetings, interrogate
problems, and encourage the input of
others. It’s like being informally mentored,
and you’re able to bring those things back
into your day-to-day work life.

What do you see as the main
benefits of membership of
The Tax Institute? 

The Chartered Tax Adviser qualification is
fantastic because it credentialises the adviser
in the market as an elite professional adviser.
It really backs up the good judgment and
insight that the best advisers have.
Also, being a member of a profession is
really important. There is an extraordinary
array of job opportunities available to
younger people today, and they move
between roles fluidly. They might be
an adviser, then they might work in a
corporate setting, and so on. The Tax
Institute is important because it anchors
people’s career in the concept of being
a member of a profession. That means
that, as you move between roles, your
professional membership provides the
foundation of how you describe what you
do. Being involved with the Institute allows
you to identify as a “tax professional” and
that is deeply valuable.

Find out more about how membership to The Tax Institute can help your career. Call us on 1300 829 338 or contact and adviser here

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