Wednesday 2 April 2014

Lessons from high achievers in the tax profession

Lessons from high achievers in the tax profession
Last week, The Tax Institute celebrated three high achievers at the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards. What can you learn from them?

The Tax Adviser of the Year Awards honours three members of The Tax Institute at various stages of their careers. They exercise best practice and show excellence in their role as a tax professional. However, it’s not enough to be good at your job. These three winners go above and beyond in various ways. Here are some lessons to take on board for your career.

Emerging Tax Star: Matthew Andruchowycz, CTA, Wallmans Lawyers

It is unusual to have someone with less than five years’ experience reach senior associate level. The judges called Matthew “extremely proactive” and praised his “great range of independent and complex work ability”. The clincher, however, was his dedication to the industry outside his job, taking voluntary positions in various committees with The Tax Institute, showing “a strong commitment to professionalism and ethical standards”.

Lesson: Show commitment by getting involved with the industry outside your day job.

Tax Adviser of the Year: Wayne Plummer, ATI, PwC Australia

Wayne’s accolade came from his “leadership, collaboration, impressive technical work, technical excellence and impressive references,” according to the judges. As well as his top-level performance on the job, he also contributed to the development of tax law and administration through authoring and presenting a number of technical papers and “has continued to help and support others in their careers and the development of their tax knowledge”.

Lesson: Focus on your areas of strength and build a reputation on this foundation. Share your expertise where you think it will be of benefit to others.

Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year: David Russell, CTA AM RFD QC

David’s notable track record of contributing to the tax industry and having held leadership positions in many areas – including as president of the Asia-Oceania Tax Consultants’ Association, International Tax Specialist Group and The Tax Institute – impressed the judges. It was his commitment to listening and advising, however, that cemented the win. One reference stated, “David is a mentor for junior members of the bar, and a valuable sounding board for senior members.”

Lesson: Develop a reputation for consistent high performance. Hone your soft skills, including your leadership and mentorship skills.

While technical excellence is a key part of every tax professional’s skill set, it is what the professional offers in the way of giving back that distinguishes him or her from people who are merely ‘good at their job’. There are a number of ways to contribute to the tax industry, from volunteer work to authoring and presenting papers, from mentorship to leadership, with different opportunities available at different times in your career. If you want to excel, find these opportunities and pursue them.

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