3 ways to keep up with the changing tax landscape

Change is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean you need
to stand still (or fall behind).

The rapid evolution of technology, the influence of
globalisation and the increased complexity of the tax and accounting landscape
means today’s tax professionals need skills that extend beyond the traditional
mathematical and analytical requirements.

Tax professionals will be challenged by issues not
limited to disruptive technology, borderless trade and an increasingly informed

So how can you make sure to keep up?
1. Sharpen your
analytical ability

Having a solid understanding of tax law and accounting is
essential to surviving the changing tides of tax.
It’s a fact - tax today is more complex than ever, with the
biggest opportunities now in advisory work that requires nuanced
problem-solving skills. Practitioners today need deep technical skills and to
be adaptable to technical disruption and complex legislative change.
According to The Tax Institute’s former Tax Counsel, Thilini
Wickramasuriya, tax professionals need a solid understanding of the interaction
of tax law and accounting, and where the discrepancies might arise.
“It is about being able to analyse accounts, applying a
critical eye, using your tax knowledge and adapting to ATO changes,” she

2. Gain a commercial
understanding of business

In an era of increased complexity and demands for being more
agile, Thilini stresses the right training and education is critical to ensure
tax professionals have the capacity to provide broader and more general
business advice.
“Your skills also have to be more transferable globally, and
there is demand to advise on international issues as well,” she continued.
“You need to have a much broader understanding of the client’s
business and tax implications across multiple jurisdictions.”
Professionals need to broaden their skills and have a solid
commercial understanding, as well as, of course, learning about the
international issues moving forward.
“You not only need to then be able to communicate your
solutions across different parts of a business, you also need to be very
pragmatic in your advice and make it digestible to business people who may not
be from tax backgrounds – or have an Australian tax background,” she adds.
3. Develop your technical
and soft skills

The reality of today’s tax world is that many practitioners
have accepted and welcomed technological advances, and believe that automation
has allowed them to deliver services beyond the traditional tax practitioner
services at reduced cost and risk. Tax professionals need technical skills as
well as a diverse range of soft skills to adapt to the new ways of working and
develop strengths that can’t be automated. They must demonstrate skills such as
leadership, being a team player, presenting and providing client advice, and
great customer service.

Looking back at her own career, which began over 10 years
ago, Thilini agrees the soft skills aspect of her profession was something she
needed to adapt and grow consistently in order to succeed.

“As you progress, it becomes more and more about soft
skills,” she said.
“For instance, I’m now finding I’m dealing a lot more with
tax software and digital issues, and I need to communicate effectively both
with clients and technology staff in languages they understand.”
Change is here to stay, but sharpening your analytical
skills, widening your skill set, and understanding emerging technologies could
be your key to becoming a tax star.
It’s not to late to
hit your career goals in 2018. Find out more about The Tax Institute’s
education programs.


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