Yes, you read right. You may not think about your career in terms of savings homes, livelihoods and yes, marriages, but Robert Campbell, CTA, and Director at McCleod, Campbell & Associates has given us a glimpse into how a tax professional does exactly that.
Robert started his career in an undergraduate position at a small suburban accounting firm in Parramatta, which gave him a broad introduction to many aspects of the accounting practice.
He then gravitated towards tax and went on to work with EY in their tax consulting division.
“I loved learning about the tax rules and understanding more about them, and I would teach myself through the master tax guide,” he says.
When Robert set up his own practice from scratch, working with clients to find effective solutions was forged into a true passion.
“It's about working with clients and solving their problems, helping them through the tax system, and helping them, even if they're non-tax issues. That's where my passion lies, it's helping people.”
“I'll never be able to do something incredible like saving a life, but I could help someone save their house when they're in trouble,” he says.
“And I have done that, and that in itself can save marriages and keep families together. So, in my own way, I perform my role in helping people.”
Why continuous learning in tax is “vital”
Sometimes in life and career, what goes around really does come around. Robert says he was very lucky to have an incredible teacher at EY, in Scott Treatt (currently Acting Deputy Commissioner, Review & Dispute Resolution, at the Australian Taxation Office).
“He was my manager when I started working in tax, and he taught me how to read legislation, how to analyse and how to think outside the box,” he says.
“And that's where I see tax education as being vital. It's really hard to learn yourself, you need guidance and education to fill that void.”
Robert now passes on that generosity of experience and knowledge, teaching cohorts of tax professionals as a lecturer at The Tax Institute.
“The Tax Institute provides a structured system with high-quality materials, but also high-quality presenters and teachers.”
“Not just understanding the legislative regime and the administrative regime, but bringing it together into real-life practical scenarios, and going through brainstorming thinking outside-the-box process to actually deliver a solution for your client.”
Listen to Robert talk about what he teaches in his CTA3 classes below.
No such thing as no solution
Tax professionals are solving complex tax issues on a daily basis. So what is Robert’s take on tough topics?
“The first thing is, there's no such thing as 'no', in my opinion. The door is never shut, there's always an option there, we just mightn't have thought of it yet,” he says.
“So working in tax is really about delving through and thinking objectively and thinking outside the box to work out, what can we do?”
Although rules and legislation sometimes limit the solutions tax practitioners can provide to clients, Robert says there is never a problem that can’t be solved in some way.“Next thing would be; never accept that there's only ever one way to do something,” he continues.
“There's always going to be an alternative, there's no one perfect structure. There are lots of different alternatives with structuring and we have to decide which one is best in one particular circumstance over another.”
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