Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Member profile: Juanita Sands

Name: Juanita Sands

Employer: Deloitte Private Pty Ltd

Position: Senior Analyst

Throughout my education I always had a passion for maths and not much else besides reading. My high school teachers loved telling me I should do something like accounting when I grew up, but being a teenager who did the opposite of what teachers said there was no way I was going to become something boring like an accountant. After starting a maths, psych and law degree, I ultimately ended up at TAFE doing an office administration certificate and loved the accounting subjects and have not looked back since.
I have now been in accounting for over 15 years and am a single mum to a gorgeous and smart college student and have worked full time since she was in primary school and part time while studying before that. Work and life balance can be a juggle but is very rewarding being a mum, while working full time.
I am currently completing The Tax Institute’s Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law and enrolled in the Advanced Superannuation, with Corporate Tax next semester being my last subject. The Graduate Diploma has been good to cement the knowledge that I already have.

Describe your current role:

I am currently a senior analyst with Deloitte, having moved to Deloitte in January 2014 after spending 12 years at another local accounting firm.
My current role is very broad and diverse. I work in the areas of
  • business advisory services – working with small to medium
  • tax review of large corporate clients for our audit team, some of whom are listed
  • tax provisions for large and listed corporations
  • provide advice for and oversee half of our local office’s self-managed superannuation funds tax advice for our office on a range of areas. To name a few
    • Small business CGT concessions – this and super are on of the greatest tax advantages for small business’
    • Employee benefits - eligible termination payments, fringe benefits, employee allowances
    • Research & Development
    • Accessibility of grant income
    • Taxation of trust income
    • Deceased Estates
Describe your involvement in The Tax Institute’s committees or contribution to the Institute:
  • Member of the Victorian Tax Technical Committee
  • Young Tax Professionals – Northern Tasmania tax discussion group
What are your career highlights?

My first career highlight would be completing a set of trust financial statements, many years ago, that operated a business and then working out the best way to distribute the income. A couple of years after that I lodged a private ruling application with the ATO in regards to life insurance proceeds and the accessibility of them. After much deliberation by the ATO, who found it hard to determine the answer they advised us that the proceeds would be non-assessable and they thought they should produce a ruling on life insurance proceeds.
My most satisfying moments are helping others with tax questions, whether small or large questions and helping them to grow their knowledge. Having people say ‘but how do you know that’ or ‘where do you know to look for the answer’ then showing them how they can get that knowledge. The Tax Institute is one of my favourite search websites.

Why did you join The Tax Institute?

I had attended a few state conventions and then attended a national convention in 2010, as a result I was able to get reduced membership fees. The resources that the Tax Institute have on their website are great for any sort of tax research and their books offer a great hands on approach to working through complex areas of practice, membership provides me with access to these and discounts to the many training sessions they offer.

What advice can you give to graduates?

Ask questions, especially the ones you feel are stupid ones. The only stupid one is the one you never ask – lecturers love that saying.
Take notes when asking questions and keep the notes, even if you never go back to them, you are more likely to remember that something was discussed and it will trigger you where/who to go to for the answer.
Talk to everybody in your office to find out their skill set. Use this knowledge to get a mentor or two in your areas of interest.

Who or what inspires you?

My daughter inspires me every day.  When starting college this year she was really nervous and concerned about the challenges that she would face.  She accepted the challenge and came out of the first day smiling and ready to take on the world. This is the way she deals with all challenges in her life. She has just written a 3,500 word essay for English Literature, I never had her focus and determination at her age.

What do you do to unwind?

Run. I am fortunate enough that I can run before work plus run in my lunch breaks with a work colleague. Running is a good way to zone out as I can’t think or listen to music while running.  Coming back to work after a run is a great way to refocus on work especially when doing research on complex tax matters.
I also enjoy riding my bike and scrapbooking – putting photos and memories on a pretty piece of paper with fancy embellishments.

Favourite holiday destination?

Somewhere with family and preferably with a mountain in sight.