Tuesday 24 February 2015

Member profile: Eve Starina

Name: Eve Starina

Employer: HLB Mann Judd

Position: Supervisor, Business Advisory Services

Eve is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Tax Adviser with 5 years’ experience in taxation and business advisory services. Having commenced her accounting career as a graduate in 2010, Eve has built up a wealth of knowledge and experience from working on a variety of clients of different sizes and across different industries. Eve is a results driven, passionate professional who is dedicated to meeting the needs of her clients, and mentoring junior staff.

Describe your current role

There’s never a dull moment in tax! While the majority of my time is spent preparing or reviewing financial statements, income tax returns, BAS or FBT returns, occasionally I also have the opportunity to assist clients with tax planning and other matters.

As a supervisor, I am also involved in training and mentoring junior staff members. At this time of year, I’m busy conducting induction training for our new staff members.

Describe your involvement in The Tax Institute’s committees or contribution to the Institute

I joined the WA State Membership Committee in 2014 and have thus far enjoyed supporting and promoting the events organised by this committee. I am also currently the firm champion at HLB Mann Judd.

What are your career highlights?

I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with a number of clients to assist them in meeting their taxation obligations. This is always very rewarding for me as I’m passionate about tax and about helping people.

Why did you join The Tax Institute?

I completed my CTA1 as a graduate, and after completing my CA studies I decided to move onto CTA3. I find that The Tax Institute offers some great courses, not to mention their CPD events.

What advice can you give to graduates?

You never stop learning in tax, so I would suggest embracing this and further developing yourself and your skillset wherever possible.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m fortunate enough to work with some incredibly knowledgeable people, who I think of as ‘walking talking tax encyclopaedias’.  I strive to be as informed as they are someday.

What do you do to unwind?

I enjoy spending time with my feathered and furry children.

Favourite holiday destination?

I love cold weather and I’m originally from Russia so I’m obliged to say there.

Monday 23 February 2015

The key to acing group assignments

A simple Google image search for “group assignment meme” reveals a deep-seated cynicism about the value of group work.

Indeed, an Australian study found that more than half of students had reservations about group assignments, citing “inequality in the contribution of members” as the top reason for frustration. Further, awarding marks without recognition of individual effort merely rubbed salt into a wound opened by weeks of conflict and broken promises.

But with many advanced postgraduate tax courses, such as The Tax Institute's Graduate Diploma of Applied Law, featuring group work as part of their assessment, how can you approach the task in a more relaxed manner – especially when it is perceived that a colleague or fellow student is not pulling their weight? Below are a few simple planning rules to make the path to group work smoother.

Appoint a leader

If the purpose of group work is to simulate real life, then start off on the right foot by appointing a leader. The leader should have a bird’s-eye view of the entire project, fairly dividing the tasks, the order of work and setting reasonable deadlines. If a broken deadline impacts on the work of another team member, this should be negotiated through the leader to minimise conflict.

Clearly define roles

Set clear, reasonable goals and timelines that are shared by the whole group. Be realistic about what can be achieved and be upfront about current commitments. Have clearly described, specific roles that address each part of the set criteria, and ensure everyone understands how their part fits into the overall project.

Meet regularly

Meet face to face at least one hour per week as a group. It is amazing what regular deadlines can do for progress, but the inverse is also true. Waiting until the final deadline to summon an emergency meeting often ends in unanswered calls, sudden illness and piles of frustration.

Dealing with the shirker

Inevitably, there will be someone who is just not pulling his or her weight. Resolving problems quickly is not easy, but it is important. Don’t get personal. Simply draw attention to the prior shared agreements and address problems of missed deadlines or quality as they arise. Listen carefully to the point of view of the other person and try to arrive at a reasonable agreement to move on.

The satisfaction of sharing ideas and achieving a collective goal far outweighs the despair felt by many at the announcement of a group assignment. By keeping these tips in mind when tackling such tasks, you'll enjoy an early taste of the teamwork and collaboration you'll experience once you've entered the workforce.

Take the next step in your tax career with the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

Find out more

Monday 16 February 2015

Lifelong learning is the key to healthy earning

After a decade and a half of primary, secondary and tertiary education, it can be tempting to call it quits when it comes to further tax training. But if you’re smart enough to make it to the end of a uni degree, you’re probably smart enough to realise that deciding to take it easy is a recipe for career and income stagnation.

Pay off that student debt quicker with more study

After a minimum of three years studying, you'll probably be keen to start making a dent in that student debt. Counterintuitive as it may seem, postgraduates, with a median salary in full-time work of $79,000, are likely to get their student debt paid off more quickly than those with only undergrad qualifications who, on average, earn noticeably less. Note that these are averages – a postgraduate qualification in tax is likely to be far more lucrative than one in, say, art history.

Power up the greasy pole

With around half of all high school students now proceeding to university, the brutal truth is that an undergraduate degree is an increasingly necessary but still insufficient qualification for a successful professional career.
A basic degree may get you in the door, but if you want to shimmy up that career ladder, you'll almost certainly need to undertake further study. The good news is you don’t necessarily need to commit to something as time-consuming as a Master of Taxation, as a practically focused qualification, such as a Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law from The Tax Institute, will provide you with the skill set you need to take on more challenging roles.

Make valuable connections

Career success at least partly comes down to who you know as well as what you know. The impressive thing about undertaking education after you’ve started a career is you get the double whammy. That is, you learn valuable new skills and get the opportunity to network with other postgraduate students in your industry – people who may be in a position to offer you that dream job later down the track.

Achieve life-study balance

One of the advantages of learning later in life is that the educational institution you attend will recognise you have a living to earn and possibly a family demanding your attention. This being the case, institutions such as The Tax Institute put a lot of effort into designing flexible courses that can be completed in a way that causes students the least amount of stress and disruption.
Like they say, you should never stop learning – especially if you want to see your career soar.

Take the next step in your tax career with the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

Find out more

Monday 9 February 2015

Tax can take you to the top

They say only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. But with a postgraduate tax qualification, such as a Graduate Diploma in Applied Tax Law from The Tax Institute, you can add a third to that second certainty: a range of diverse and interesting career options. Here are just a few.

Get political

A solid understanding of the tax system is a good grounding for aspiring politicians. Long before she was spending her days defending Medicare changes and fielding questions from journalists, Minister for Health Sussan Ley studied a Master of Taxation law. On the other side of the chamber, former Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury undertook postgraduate tax law – studies which led to a senior associate in taxation law position with the corporate law firm Blake Dawson before he entered parliament.

Join the Big Four

After a challenging period post-GFC, Australia's big four auditing firms – Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Ernst & Young – are eyeing growth in consulting services to drive revenue growth. No doubt they’ll be looking for go-getters with advanced tax training to help them hit their targets.

Scale the corporate ladder

Taxation knowledge can be your ticket to the top in the corporate world. A Master of Taxation helped Mark Weinberger become global chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young – and that's after he served as the Assistant Secretary for tax policy of the US Treasury.

Shape the economy

There are few things that have such an impact on a nation’s economy and its citizens as its taxation system. Granted, you may not get the respect or remuneration offered in other fields, but if you use your postgraduate tax course to get a job with the Australian Tax Office (which runs a graduate program), you will have the satisfaction of knowing you’re playing a vital role in shaping Australia’s economy.

One other thing to remember is that a postgraduate tax qualification could be your passport to travel the world. Harry Tonino, for example, worked on four continents after getting a Master of Taxation and ended up as International Tax Expert at the UN, where he spends his workdays undertaking tasks such as negotiating tax treaties.

So if you’re struggling to find the motivation to undertake further tax training, consider this: that tax course you complete might just be a stepping stone to the CEO suite, the Lodge or a top job at the UN.

http://taxinstitute.com.au/education/graduate-diploma-of-applied-tax-lawTake the next step in your tax career with the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law 

Find out more