Student Spotlight: It is never too late to realise the importance of having strong tax knowledge in your career


This month we talked to the dux of CommLaw 1 for Study Period 2 2021, Erin Clark, about her key takeaways from the subject and how they apply to her job role, despite tax never being the primary focus of her career.

Please tell us a bit about your tax career.

I have around 15 years of accounting experience across a wide range of disciplines, mostly working in roles across South-East Queensland. I have achieved a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) Degree, Chartered Accountant qualification, Certificate of Public Practice, and I am also a Certified Chair.

I started my career in Corporate Recovery and Bankruptcy and then moved into Commercial Accounting working for a variety of industries and business types, including not-for-profit, SME’s, and ASX Listed. Earlier in my career, I worked for 12 months at a small Tax Accounting Practice in Mackay where I obtained the fundamentals across Personal and Corporate Tax as well as SMSF’s. Tax has never been the primary focus in my career but having worked in Senior Finance roles for the last 8-10 years, this has resulted in working closely with external accounting firms. My various roles have also pushed me to focus on internal tax services such as preparing depreciation schedules / fixed asset registers, corresponding with the tax office, reconciling and preparing activity statements, ascertaining withholding obligations and preparing and supervising payroll, etc.

Why did you choose to study the CommLaw 1 subject?

The CommLaw 1 subject is the first of the 3 Commercial Law subjects that I’ll be studying to apply to become a Registered Tax Agent.

What have you learned from the subject, and have you applied this to your role?

I now have increased knowledge of the Australian Legal System, Torts, Contracts, and Remedies to Contracts. The Contracts module was of particular importance as it forms such a large part of operating a business - knowing my rights and the other party’s rights in a contract is pertinent.

How did you juggle study, work and other commitments?

Juggling was not easy and, if I am being honest, I went into the exam thinking I hadn’t studied enough. However, during the weeks leading up to the exam, I was sure to spend a significant amount of time completing the practice exam and questions, and I believe this helped me to pass.

In preparation for the exam, I ensured I had both paper notes and electronic notes. I saved my electronic notes into one pdf file so that I could quickly search if I was unable to find the paper bookmark. I also provided as much relevant information as possible, to achieve part marks when answering questions.

Where to now for you when it comes to continuing tax education?

I need to undertake a review of my relevant work experience in tax, to identify any key gaps in knowledge. My aim is to register as my own Tax Agent soon.

What advice do you have for other tax professionals considering Higher Education?

It is never too late to study. It is never too late to realise the importance of having strong tax knowledge in your career, especially for Senior Finance Professionals working in the Commercial space.


The CommLaw subjects are part of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law Program which provides individuals of all levels - from recent graduates to experienced tax and financial specialists - with the expertise to provide superior professional tax advice, and undertake highly-skilled tax work across a range of contexts. 

Ready to continue your education in tax? Find out more here.

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