Friday, 25 September 2015

How to build your resume while you study

These days, achieving a high-distinction average or mastering your taxation law units aren’t enough to land the job of your dreams. Recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly looking for candidates who combine academic rigour and industry passion with focus, drive and initiative. If you’re still studying for your degree, there are countless ways to prove to your potential employer that your contribution to their business will go well beyond balancing the books.

Here are four strategies for building your resume while you study – because it's never too early to start making a mark on your career.

Volunteer at a not-for-profit

If you’re a third-year accounting student, you could be a valuable asset to a business that couldn’t otherwise pay for your skills. From under-resourced charities that grapple with financial administration to not-for-profits that could benefit from simple bookkeeping, offering pro-bono services can seriously bolster your resume. It can also show employers that your social conscience matches your commercial instincts.

Start a side project

Extracurricular passions aren’t a distraction from your career – they can make you more attractive in an employer’s eyes. Companies are seeking out well-rounded individuals with a range of interests and passions, rather than workers who live for the daily grind. Whether you’ve always dreamt of designing a mobile app, starting a fundraising initiative to help disadvantaged students or planting a community garden, a side project can show your future boss that you’re equipped to put plans into action.

Land an internship

Yes, it may be the obvious, well-trodden avenue, but for good reason. Finding an internship with a company in your industry can accelerate your path to employment and help your resume land at the top of the pile. By working with professionals in your sector, you don’t just gain valuable industry experience and a network of contacts – you’re also better placed to pursue a path that interests you once it’s time to start applying for jobs.

Learn something new

Although future tax professionals are often meticulous and numbers oriented, this doesn’t mean you can’t explore the other side of your brain. Learning a new language, taking a writing class or enrolling in a professional communication course can make you valuable for employers looking for candidates that can connect with their clients – while proving that you’re committed to your personal growth. Alternatively, it’s just as useful to train yourself in an up-and-coming accounting program, take advanced Excel tutorials or brush up on a much-hyped piece of software that businesses are planning to adopt.

From taking a short course to launching a side project, there’s no shortage of steps you can take to build a sparkling CV. What steps did you take to make your resume stand out?


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

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Career options for tax professionals

The assumption often made about students pursuing a degree in tax is that they’re on the fast track to a certain career in accountancy. Considering, however, that there’s only a finite number of graduate positions available in accountancy firms each year, it’s clear that not every tax graduate will follow suit. So what are some other career options?

Tax-based education grants you a unique skill set: the ability to be a team player, the ability to not be a team player, communication skills and commercial awareness. The junction of these skills means you’re equally well versed in a numerical, analytical or communication-heavy role. In reality, after completing your postgraduate tax training, you are spoilt with a unique spread of career options. Here are five paths you may consider conquering.

Accountancy

There is no denying that the most well-trodden career avenue for recent tax graduates is a role in an accountancy firm. The most attractive roles being those in the ‘Big Four’ firms: Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Ernst & Young. Large and mid-tier accountancy firms offer roles that cover a large range of tax areas and an opportunity to specialise from an early point in your career. Your tax specialty could lie in financial services, corporate tax, employment tax or tax for private clients, so it’s within reason that this is by and large one of the most alluring prospects for a tax graduate.

Law

Law and tax are often considered to be complementary degrees; many tax lawyers pursue tax qualifications, and tax accountants a law degree. Obviously, this career path is only available to experienced tax professionals, however an additional education resource for the law-inclined is the CTA2A Advanced subject. This postgraduate qualification can be undertaken while working full-time, and works to explain the rationale behind tax laws.

Government financial advising

With a qualification in tax, it’s safe to say that you’re proficient in numbers. Government financial advising merges your analytical and communicative skills to ensure you can best mentor people through financial decisions. For success in this field, work experience as a registered tax agent or tax financial advisory are looked upon favourably.

Teaching

Moving between industries doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your hard-earned skills, clocked hours and valuable industry connections. In fact, you could strengthen your industry ties and reputation by returning to academia. For experienced tax accountants, there are often opportunities for positions from educational bodies, as well as in corporate training companies or specially designed educational roles in large-tier companies.

Entrepreneurial

For the tax graduates who dream of running their own business, the opportunities are endless. Beyond running your own firm, there is also an opportunity to marry two unique specialties into one business venture: environmental accounting, international accounting and entertainment accounting are all niche self-employment routes that offer you a market difference.

But if this still seems too vanilla, consider taking career inspiration from accountant-turned-comedian Greg Kyte.

Taxation knowledge can be your golden ticket to any number of roles that cross traditional industry barriers. To stay abreast of the career options available to you, sign up to The Tax Institute’s Careers Guide.

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 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Member profile: Christine Palmer

Employer: KPMG

Position: Lawyer

I completed the dual degrees of Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Laws at the Queensland University of Technology (“QUT”) in 2009. 
In 2010 I completed the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at QUT and was subsequently admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland. In 2013 I completed the Graduate Diploma in Chartered Accounting and the CTA3 Advisory course in 2014 with The Tax Institute. I'm currently completing a Master of Laws with the University of New South Wales.
I have previously worked at BDO in the Corporate and International Tax team and the KPMG Corporate Tax team before moving to my current role in the KPMG Legal team.

Describe your current role

As a lawyer in the KPMG legal team in Brisbane I am involved in providing specialist tax dispute assistance, legal tax advisory and drafting tax legal related documentation as well as trust deed reviews.

Describe your involvement in The Tax Institute’s committees

I have been a member of the Graduate Diploma Committee since late 2014.  I have lectured for The Tax Institute.

What are your career highlights?

I have enjoyed every opportunity that has been provided to me.  No one particular highlight stands out but I was particularly excited to join the KPMG Legal team this year.

Why did you join The Tax Institute?

I joined The Tax Institute as a way to get involved in the tax community here in Brisbane and to enhance my tax technical knowledge.

What inspires you?

I have always found tax law fascinating as I see it as one of the foundations of a society and is politically driven. Tax law is technically and intellectually challenging and requires you to be continually learning. Every transaction will have a tax implication and being able to help clients manage their taxation obligations in a commercially realistic manner is professionally rewarding and is why I enjoy coming into work every day.

What advice would you give to graduates?

There are no silly questions but always take an issue as far as you can and have your views on it before asking the question. Have a go at the solution before you ask your question.

What do I do to unwind?

I like to play trivia, read, watch tv, go to the movies, shop and spend time with my family and friends.

Favourite holiday destination?

I love Scotland. It is so beautiful.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Are you ready for the proposed GST changes?

The topic of GST reform has sparked widespread debate with NSW Premier Mike Baird’s recent announcement he is backing a proposed lift to the GST from 10 to 15 per cent. So are you ready for the changes possibly headed your way? And why is it important that you, as a budding tax professional, keep abreast of any new tax developments, however initial they may appear?

In his proposal at the recent tax summit, Premier Baird suggested the spike would help fund the public health system, as well as stopping the federal-state financial system from “tumbling over a fiscal cliff”.

Since its introduction 15 years ago, the GST rate has remained untouched. But Baird claimed a rise is now the only viable way to overcome the federal and state struggle to fund health services and provide the required revenue stream of $20 billion before 2020.

He suggested income tax concessions and a new welfare strategy could help lessen the blow to low-income families and the vulnerable. The expectation is that a revised GST package could be created so that households earning up to $100,000 are not put at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, the proposed rise is not set to impact fresh food, health, childcare or education.

While these GST reforms were still very much in the pipeline at the time of the summit, leaders in attendance including various premiers, chief ministers and PM Tony Abbott reached an “in-principle agreement to lower the threshold below which GST is charged on online purchases from overseas from the current $1000”, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Whether or not these changes will be accepted and implemented still remains to be seen. However, as a tax student or junior tax professional, it is important to understand the short-term and long-term implications of the potential rise for your clients. Tax is a dynamic and ever-evolving profession. Equipping yourself with up-to-date specialist tax information, training tools and resources early in this reform process is essential to ensure you are prepared to provide timely, practical and relevant advice to your clients.

As a member of The Tax Institute, you'll gain exclusive access to a comprehensive range of tax courses to ensure you keep abreast of the latest in tax reforms. Led by tax experts to benefit rising tax stars, our professional development program offers intensive and cutting-edge workshops designed to ensure your knowledge as a tax professional is as up to date as possible.

Find out more about joining the 13,000-member community and gain access to powerful resources, progressive education and influential networks.


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

Find out about Student Membership.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Which area of tax is right for you?

A career in tax can be dynamic, versatile and open up rewarding opportunities both locally and abroad. A multifaceted profession, there are many areas in the industry you can choose to specialise in when you've finished your further tax education.

But how do you know which is the perfect fit for your natural abilities? Here are four areas you can focus your tax training in, the skills and experience you’ll need to get there and the type of personalities primed to excel in them.

1. SMEs

With the growing number of small-medium businesses in Australia, a business tax specialist will always be in high demand.

As a business tax specialist, you’ll need to be abreast of capital gains implications, the latest GST changes and depreciation schedules, as well as the special exemptions and deductions relevant to each business structure and industry.

Many tax specialists find this work rewarding, as it helps local businesses grow and remain sustainable. Keeping up with the constant federal regulatory changes impacting SMEs also means working in an area that is dynamic and always evolving.

2. SMSFs

An increasing number of people are choosing a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) to provide their retirement benefits because it offers more control over investments. Consequently, this has opened up a complex new arena for tax agents to specialise in, providing superannuation advice.

SMSFs are a legal tax structure regulated by the ATO and with strict reporting and compliance obligations. So as a superannuation specialist, you’ll need to stay abreast of any new developments in order to provide your clients with timely advice on the right structure and planning.

With severe penalties for non-compliance, an SMSF tax specialist has considerable responsibility and therefore needs to have good attention to detail and outstanding communication skills, along with a comprehensive understanding of superannuation law and practice.

3. Property investment

A property tax specialist provides advice for investors about asset protection while minimising tax liabilities. You will need to consider issues such as various tax structures, capital gains implications, deciding between holding and selling, renting, cash flow issues, renovations, transferring property and international tax implications as well as tax minimisation.

Property tax can be a highly complex area and laws and regulations can vary widely from state to state. One of the rewarding challenges of providing specialist property tax advice is helping clients find viable and sustainable solutions to maximise their opportunities and return on their investment. Specialists in this area will enjoy liaising with people who are interested in asset and wealth creation, including high-net-worth individuals and wealth-creation institutions.

4. Corporate advice

The corporate tax path may be well trodden, but for good reason – there are many rewarding specialisations in the larger corporate arena, including audit, compliance, consultancy and advisory work, which can open up exciting opportunities for specialists working in this sector.

If you’re one to thrive when given the opportunity to share ideas and collaborate with your colleagues, large-scale corporate advisory work will often have you working cohesively in a team environment, often across multinational channels.

You’ll need an understanding of international corporate tax implications, as well as great time management and effective communication skills, as you’ll be communicating across different time zones with your firm’s offices around the globe. But be warned: late nights and early mornings may be required!

Stand out from the crowd

Tax is a dynamic profession and in order to provide great specialist advice, practitioners must remain up to date with the changing landscape. As a member of The Tax Institute you will be equipped to provide the timeliest practical and sound advice in the area of specialisation of your choice.

Led by tax experts to benefit tax experts, The Tax Institute is the only body in Australia devoted exclusively to tax, and when you join its 13,000-strong community of the most knowledgeable practitioners, you’ll gain access to powerful resources, progressive education and influential networks.


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