Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Top tricks for nabbing your dream tax internship

There’s nothing like being able to refer to real-world experience on your CV when looking to kick-start your career. Here’s some advice about competing for – and nabbing – that dream work-placement position.
 
Try to score with the Big Four
 
When it comes to internships and graduate tax programs, there's no better place to start than Australia's Big Four: Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Ernst & Young.
 
All four have programs for graduates of taxation courses, as well as student programs you can tackle while you’re completing your undergraduate tax training. Check out each company's website for more details – PwC even has a Facebook page, if that's more your style.
 
But don’t overly narrow your options
 
Cast your net wider to include places like government organisations and big businesses that have large finance departments. If there’s a particular industry you’d like to go into after completing your taxation education, grab the chance to gather industry-specific work experience.
 
Have your elevator pitch ready
 
It’s a competitive world out there, so you won’t get far if you don’t master the art of effective self-promotion well before you start attending networking events or knocking on doors. According to PwC, being able to introduce yourself in a memorable fashion can make all the difference when it comes to securing an internship. They recommend asking yourself three questions to help define your personal brand:
 
1. Who are you?
2. What are your accomplishments, passions, unique skills and strengths?
3. What do you want, and where are you going?
 
Prepare for the internship interview
 
Strange as it may seem, it's your first unpaid job in the tax industry that may have the biggest impact on how your career unfolds. So treat it as seriously as you would a 'real' job interview and do the preparation required to ensure it's you – and not one of the many other applicants – who gets the chance to wedge their foot firmly in the door of a potential employer. KPMG recommends:
  • Spending some time researching the organisation you're applying to.
  • Identifying the top three skills or experiences you can bring to the table that other students can’t, and practising communicating them to a recruiter.
  • Preparing a few questions to ask your interviewer.
 
Build a network
 
Some of the best work placements are never actually advertised. Building a professional network early on in your student career, via social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, can be a clever way to hear about opportunities within the tax industry that you may not otherwise know about. Also, getting away from the computer and books and introducing yourself to professionals at industry events can be a great avenue to start forging relationships.
 
One last tip – consider investing in more vocationally focused tax courses. Having, for example, a Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law under your belt may provide you with a vital edge over the hordes of other internship-seekers. It's never too early to start shining!
 
 
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

Thursday, 21 May 2015

How to best represent your agency at networking events

Whether you’re a seasoned tax professional or a junior accountant hoping to accelerate your career, few things have such potential as the chance to network with your peers. Networking events can help you forge real-world connections with people you might only know via email or social media and allow you to represent your agency’s values to the industry at large.

However, making new contacts in a social setting can be challenging if you don’t take the time to prepare. Here’s how to best represent your employer at a networking event.

Reach out to fellow attendees on social media

If you’re representing your employer at a networking event, social media can be a powerful tool. Tweeting about the fact that you’ll be attending using the event’s hashtag or registering your interest in meeting new people on the relevant Facebook or LinkedIn page can encourage fellow attendees to seek you out. It also shows that your agency prioritises industry engagement and participation.

Put your best foot forward

Although networking functions can take place at informal venues, that doesn’t mean you should cast aside your professionalism. It’s important you dress for the occasion, ensure you have plenty of business cards and take the time to introduce yourself and thank your host.

Industry events can feel much more laid-back than a meeting in the office, but it’s also worth monitoring your alcohol consumption and reminding yourself that you’re still ‘on the job’. At the same time, don’t be afraid to relax when talking about yourself and your employer’s work. Letting your personality shine through is often your best shot at building relationships.

Have a clear strategy in mind


There’s no point attending a networking event if you’re clueless about what you plan to achieve. Are you hoping to find potential clients, promote a taxation service that’s new to your agency or simply expand your professional network? If you’re unsure about what your employer expects from you, it might be worth scheduling a meeting beforehand to talk it through. Networking events can provide powerful opportunities to grow a business, so it’s worth your while to use them to your advantage.

Once the event is over, ask yourself how well you represented your agency and if you’ve met your goals. And don’t forget to nurture the relationships you built by making the effort to connect with your new contacts on a regular basis.


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If you are a tertiary education student, The Tax Institute can help you progress in your career journey.

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Member profile: Matthew Gould

Employer: Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills Pty Ltd

Position: Associate

I completed a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Melbourne in 2010, and started as a graduate at Herbert Smith Freehills in 2011. Following three 8-month graduate rotations, one of which was in tax, I decided to settle at Greenwoods in 2012. I chose tax because I felt it offered a good variety of interesting work that was intellectually stimulating.

Describe your current role

My current role involves both transactional and advisory work, with a particular focus on mergers and acquisitions and infrastructure and property projects. This work commonly involves advising on the tax aspects of transaction documents such as share sale agreements and loan documentation, as well as providing detailed opinions outlining the tax profile of major projects. At Greenwoods we get the opportunity to work closely with Directors from the outset to the completion of a matter.

What are your career highlights?

The highlights to date have been having the opportunity to work closely with, and learning from, leading tax advisors, as well as being able to work on a number of interesting public transactions.

Why did you join The Tax Institute?

I joined The Tax Institute so that I could regularly attend seminars on topics of interest, and have access to publications.

What advice can you give to graduates?

I think as a graduate it is important to be willing to learn, particularly in tax where the learning curve is so steep. Although at times as a graduate you may be given work that is less than exciting, being enthusiastic and focusing on being a contributing team member will ensure that when more interesting work is on offer you will be trusted to do it.

Who or what inspires you?

I wouldn’t say that I have a specific source of inspiration, but I find it a lot easier to work in an environment where I am surrounded by lots of smart, hard-working people.

What do you do to unwind?

I find running to be a good way to give my mind a break, either during the day or before and after work. I also enjoy catching up with friends, live music, reading (non-tax!) and my weekly TV fix.

Favourite holiday destination?

I can’t go past New York – there is so much to do, and the atmosphere is incredible.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Sample exam question 3 - May 2015

76 marks

The Woof Woof Family Trust was settled by a friend of the family Miss Kitty. The trust operates a business of manufacturing luxury dog beds for sale to owners of pampered pets. The trust has also invested in shares from which it derives dividend income.
For the current year ended 30 June 2014, the trust derived the following income:

Net trading income (after expenses) from sale of dog beds - $250,000

Dividends franked to 100% with attached franking credits of $21,429 - $50,000

Capital gain on the sale of the goodwill of a branch of the business
(after applying both the general and active asset discount) - $55,000

Capital gain on the sale of some shares that have been owned
for more than 12 months (after applying the general discount) - $5,250

Interest received on bank term deposits - $3,500

At the annual meeting the trustee of the trust resolved to distribute the net income of the trust for the year ended 30 June 2014 as follows:

1. Hooch who is 41 years old is specifically entitled to all the capital gains. Hooch has a carried forward capital loss of $14,000.  He has no other income and no CGT events for the current year.

2. Lassie who is 17 years old is specifically entitled to all the franked dividend income and attached franking credits. Lassie is also to receive 20% of the other income. Lassie had left school in December 2013 and had started working full- time since February 2014 as an intern veterinary nurse whilst studying for her veterinary degree at the University. Her salary from her employer was $27,500 (PAYG withheld of $2,200).  Lassie also received interest of $2,000 from monies she invested from a legacy left to her from her grandmother’s deceased estate.

3. 15% of the other income is to be accumulated for Benji who is 10 years old until he reached the age of 21. However, if he dies before attaining that age, his share would be given to charity.  During the year the trustee paid $10,500 towards Benji’s school fees.

4. Snoopy who is 16 years old is to receive 20% of the other income. Snoopy had a part-time job from which he earned wages of $7,000 during the year. No PAYG withholding tax had been deducted from his wages. Snoopy also received dividends of $2,200 with franking credits of $943 attached.  The dividends were from shares bought for Snoopy by his grandfather when he won a scholarship to a prestigious high school.

5. Scooby Doo who is 45 years old is to receive 45% of the other income. He has no other income.

Required:

1. Calculate the net income of the trust, the Division 6E net income of the trust, setting out the income excluded from the Division 6E net income.
(11 marks)

2. Calculate the taxable income and net tax payable for each of the beneficiaries and/or the trustee. Explain and state under which sections of the legislation the beneficiaries and/or the trustee will be assessed.
(65 marks)

Click here to view the answer.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Future-proofing your education

Future-proofing your education and career, and actioning your plan before your competitors, are not mutually exclusive. Having a knack for both will help strengthen your appeal as an attractive tax candidate in both the long and short term.

With connective technology improving, a growth in globally shared talent – which could see your tax skills take you to the other side of the world – as well as the changing expectations of employers, it’s important to be proactive about managing your career. Here are three long-term considerations that can help cement your career path in an upward trajectory.

Sustain your intellectual curiosity

10 years ago, what we considered ‘digital’ was very different to what we believe it to be today. In another decade, it will be something entirely different too. In this information age, best practice and skill sets are constantly being modified and improved.

To get the best handle on responding to and meeting the needs of a modern workplace, a commitment to further education is the first step to becoming a proactive, not reactive, learner. Courses such as a Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law are designed to meet this constantly changing gap in learning, with a skew towards providing higher-order tax-planning information.

Build your personal brand

As a tax professional, one of the most sought-after traits in a candidate is leadership and influence. Influence is not taught, but earned. Undertaking postgraduate taxation courses can give you access to an outstanding, ready-made community of tax leaders. Networking with professionals you aspire to be, and better yet, being liked and trusted by them, can be a key distinction in your employee appeal.

Having a reach beyond your workplace, which could include clients and prospective employers, as well as competitors to benchmark yourself against, is an advantageous move. Not only can it create future employment opportunities, but your current employer will appreciate your drive.

Be ready to move

Complacency is the weak link of all workplaces. Once this rot has set in, it can be difficult to motivate yourself again. Rather than having the mindset that you are happy in your place of employment (which you very well may be), keep agile and be ready to land on your feet should your circumstances change. Future-proofing your education is about being nimble and malleable to inevitable changes.

By keeping abreast of industry news and continuing to improve your skill set, you will be well on your way to future-proofing a long career in tax.


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

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Five resume red flags to avoid

According to a recruitment study, your resume has mere seconds in front of a senior associate, hiring manager or recruiter before they make a decision about your application.

HR staff are trained to look for disqualifying factors. With just seconds to impress, here are five glaring red flags that vex recruiters and see them weed out candidates at a glance.

Messy formatting

Little to no white space on the page, decorative or small type and the complete absence of page margins signal to HR that you may not be their ideal candidate. Beyond your apparent lack of organisation and overgenerous data selection, this may suggest that you don’t have a clear vision or, worse, that you’re imprudent.

Your resume needs to be reader-friendly, but it also needs to be deliberate. This isn’t the time to get experimental with font types or test your Microsoft Office artistry – and your resume certainly shouldn’t act as your memoir. Professionally prepared resumes are considered and highlight only the most esteemed aspects in a career history.

Steer clear of graphics, too many colours and too much information to create a resume that will speak clearly to your prospective employer.

Gaps in your employment history

While HR may anticipate that most resumes will show at least one substantial gap (i.e. over six months) in their employment history, unexplained periods of career inactivity are cause for concern. This is one of the times where things should not be left unsaid. It’s perfectly acceptable to include a short sentence that will explain any gaps of multiple years, such as “Left position to further my education by undertaking a course” or “Left position to travel for a set amount of time”.

In the same vein, too many short-term jobs to a scrutinising eye can suggest you lack the commitment or stamina to persevere in a position. In this instance, it’s worth explaining that your career movements instead reflect a desire for continued professional development.

Using time-worn phrases

It seems tired and clich├ęd that this particular red flag will always make the ‘do not’ list, however it’s still something job recruiters find in resumes. Such terms include “hard worker”, “forward-thinking”, “dedicated”, “detail orientated” and “driven”.

Hiding behind time-worn phrases can appear evasive and will encourage HR to question your talents, work ethic and your own viewpoint on what you can offer the company. Get creative with your resume and use language to frame your strengths.

Lacking results

One step towards making your resume easier to read for time-poor hiring managers is to convert your data from qualitative to quantitative. Numbers, metrics and percentages can often be more impactful than words. Without such data, your resume can appear haphazard or altogether too vague. Would you hire a candidate without seeing hard facts on their successes?

Unprofessional details

A resume is a package deal. While the content is critical, so too are the finer details such as the file name, your email address or your Skype handle. With hundreds of applications for any one job, make sure you include your name on the file to ensure you don’t get lost in the masses. Emails are free, so don’t let your sentimental attachment to an older email address hold you back in your career. Lead with your best professional foot forward.

For a fruitful career in tax, mastering the art of writing a professional resume is the first step to success.

Give yourself the edge with free Student Membership

If you are a tertiary education student, The Tax Institute can help you progress in your career journey.

Find out about Student Membership.