Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Your first years in tax

Your first years in tax
Once you've landed that sought after graduate position in tax, you will want to make the most of the opportunity. What you do in the first few years after graduation can make a remarkable difference for your career. Below are a few of the key areas that should be kept in mind.

Study

After finishing university, the last thing on your mind may be further study. It can beneficial to take a short break, however there are a lot of benefits to attacking your professional study with an aim to finish it as soon as possible. Taking an extending break can also be the end of motivation for a lot of people.

The material you will cover in your post‐graduate studies should help you a lot in your job. This is particularly the case for tax subjects or tax specialist studies.

Enthusiasm for further study is highly valued in the tax field. This may help with your performance reviews. Promotion to Senior Accountant/equivalent role is also often tied in closely with completion or nearing completion of your study.

Networking

Many young tax practitioners may find the thought of networking intimidating, or see it as something to do later.

At this early stage in your career, the focus should be on making and keeping contacts. This should be a worthwhile pursuit in any case, but can make the world of difference later on.

The people you meet at university, in your post‐graduate study, at work or elsewhere may be valuable contacts in the future. You may be able to help each other in a number of ways which you may not be able to anticipate now. Knowing someone can make a real difference, although you will only get back what you put in.

Experience

One of the quickest ways to progress in the tax field is to get your hands on as much work as possible. Practical experience with a technical topic or with any of the other valued skill sets is hard to beat. It is in your first few years that you will have the most freedom and time to broaden your knowledge and skill set.

The sheer depth and breadth of the tax law and other things you need to learn can be intimidating at first, and it is not unusual for graduates to find it tough going at the start. Applying yourself now and working towards a thorough understanding of the law will help you progress through this, and set you up for later success.

If you have a strong interest in any area, you should see whether your employer can support you with this in a mutually beneficial way.

As a final comment, a good work/life balance should always be kept in mind. You have a long career ahead of you and it is important to keep things in perspective.

Contributed by Andrew Simpson, Client Manager at Grant Thornton.

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