CTA dux graduate: “hard work pays off”

Rachel Vijayaraj, CTA, weighs in on the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) Program and how it’s supported her career.

Rachel is a Senior Associate at Brown Wright Stein Lawyers. She was also awarded Dux in CTA3 Advisory, the final subject in the CTA Program before becoming eligible for the CTA designation.

“I've been practising as a lawyer for the last 10 years,” she says.

“In the early part of my career, I practised in tax disputes (and that still forms a part of my practice) although my interests have led me to specialise in trusts, estates, and not-for-profits with a focus on tax.”

Rachel says the most valuable aspect of the CTA Program was the collaborative approach in learning with peers, and particularly in consolidating her tax knowledge in areas that she might not practice regularly.

“One of the key areas of new confidence for me was studying the elective corporate tax,” she says.

“I've practised in the SME and private client space, and I don't have much exposure in respect of large corporates. Studying the corporate tax elective helped me to get a better understanding of how the tax law applies to large corporates.”

Why CTA3 Advisory?

“I was attracted to the calibre of educators, and I was pleasantly surprised by the collegiate environment of studying with peers, both lawyers and accountants,” she says.

“And it's also very rewarding to be able to receive the CTA designation, which is recognised internationally.

“To be the Dux of the CTA Program is really quite exhilarating.

“Just shows that hard work pays off,” she adds.

How to juggle life and study

“I did one elective whilst I was on maternity leave, so I was actually juggling being a mum and studying, which I found marginally easier than juggling work and study,” she said.

“But I definitely think the key challenge is actually working out what is realistic as a goal for you.

“My advice for practitioners that are juggling work and study is to be realistic about the goals that you can achieve.

“I find that largely a lot of professionals are perfectionists, and it's just working out really what is achievable and what's acceptable.

“And it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect. We cannot be perfect in every aspect of our lives,” she adds.

Where to next for Rachel?

“For me, in continuing tax education, I find regular monthly tax updates helpful in keeping up with the key changes in the law,” she says.

“I also find attending tax forums like the National Convention particularly helpful in hearing from experts in their field about current topics.

Rachel says The Tax Institute membership has supported her career by “giving me an avenue to study, as well as network with peers and with experts in their field.”

She adds, “I've found it particularly valuable to be mentored by others, or to even just to benefit from different views that might not necessarily be the same as my own.”

Become a tax leader, become a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA). Stand out as the recognised expert with your CTA designation. Enhance your professional status, gain international recognition and learn from renowned tax experts. Enrolments close 29 July.


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