Tuesday 15 December 2015

Productivity secrets to success

Whether you’re punching deadlines or juggling coursework with an internship at a taxation firm, you’ll know that few things are as effective as squeezing the most out of your working hours.

Despite this, taking control of your time can often appear fraught with challenges of its own. Bad habits and disorganised work practices usually mean giving in to the urge to procrastinate. Luckily, there’s no shortage of secrets that can send your productivity levels sky-high. Here are a few foolproof tactics for getting more done.

The Pomodoro Technique

Invented in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is a much-loved productivity method designed to preserve clarity and minimise mental fatigue. The technique invites people to spend 25 minutes on work and then take a five-minute break. After four Pomodoro ‘rounds’, they enjoy a longer 20-minute rest. This strategy is based on the idea that constantly timing your activities drives you to complete tasks more quickly while avoiding the temptation to waste time. It also uses regular work-free intervals to keep motivation intact.


If you’re juggling multiple commitments, it’s easy to feel swamped by your tasks. That’s why Trello – an easy-to-use app that lets you create ‘boards’ for every project, track to-do items and collaborate with other team members – is a godsend if you’re serious about upping your productivity. Trello also offers total visibility of your projects and allows you to understand your progress at every stage. This makes it easier than ever to allocate your time.

The Cornell System

Ever found yourself sitting in an accounting class bombarded by information you need to record? The Cornell System can work wonders for your efficiency. The system invites you to jot down big-picture ideas, embrace abbreviations and use a ‘recall column’ to list specific words and phrases. It’s a powerful note-taking strategy that lets you capture essential information without needing to fill in the gaps in the future.

Schedule your most important tasks first

Few time-management tactics are as effective as getting your critical tasks accomplished first. If you schedule your most pressing responsibilities for the start of the day, there’s less chance of squandering time on admin and non-urgent work. It will also ensure your workday is in line with your priorities.

From project management apps to scheduling habits, there are countless ways to chase away distractions and optimise your hours. What are your tried-and-tested productivity secrets?

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 

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Tuesday 8 December 2015

A helping hand up the career ladder

Ralph Waldo Emerson once declared: “What I need is someone who will make me do what I can.” As it turns out, it’s not only poets who need a helpful push to reach their potential.

How a mentor can help you

"The first step to finding a good mentor is, of course, coming to terms with the fact that you actually can benefit from having one," says billionaire Richard Branson. Undertaking the right tax course is necessary to have a career in the tax industry, but a mentor can help that career become great.

A wise and experienced mentor can:

  • Prevent you from making rookie mistakes.
  • Let you tap into their network of contacts.
  • Reassure you and motivate you when you experience setbacks.
  • Provide advice on how to improve both your technical and people skills.
  • Act as a sounding board when you need to make big decisions, such as whether to invest in more tax training.
  • Diplomatically point out your weaknesses and show how to improve them.
  • Identify your strengths and suggest how you can better leverage them.
  • Provide the kind of perspective that only comes from age and experience.

Finding a mentor

The good news is that finding a mentor has never been easier. Many companies – including all the 'Big Four' firms – have mentoring programs, and you can also find a mentoring match through the Small Business Mentoring Service or the Australian Businesswomen's Network.

If you want to identify and approach someone without going through a middleman, you can always attend the networking events featured on The Tax Institute's calendar and see if you run into anyone inspiring.

It can even be as simple as picking up the phone, reaching out via LinkedIn or sending an email to someone you admire to ask them to mentor you – they're likely to be flattered you even asked.

How to be good a mentee

Unless they are retired, your mentor is probably going to be someone in a senior position with lots of demands on their time. Respect the time they are selflessly giving to you by turning up to appointments and arriving well prepared with a list of issues you want to discuss. Mentor–mentee relationships can take many different forms, but keep in mind that it is meant to be a business-focused relationship and your mentor may not wish to hear about, or provide advice on, your personal life.

Finally, always show your mentor gratitude and respect, especially when bringing the relationship to a close.

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 1 December 2015

How LinkedIn can boost your career opportunities

There are now nearly 400 million LinkedIn users across the world. Today's employers are moving to LinkedIn – instead of job boards – to find and recruit top talent. This means that having an optimised and up-to-date LinkedIn profile can help tax students with career prospects now and in the future.

Social professional networks are now considered an essential tool to reach out to potential employers. According to LinkedIn’s Australia & New Zealand Recruiting Trends 2016 report, 40 per cent of surveyed talent leaders say using social professional networks is an essential and long-lasting trend for employer brands to guarantee quality hires. So if top-tier employers are looking to LinkedIn for their next round of hires, it’s important your profile meets the grade.

While LinkedIn may be the online equivalent of traditional networking, the tactics you employ to guarantee success apply in a different way. Here’s how you can attract the eyes of higher-ups from top-tier tax firms with your LinkedIn profile.

Show off your skill set

As with a traditional CV, the skills portion of your LinkedIn profile is an important area that demonstrates your industry expertise. While on a CV the skills may appear as standalone claims, LinkedIn allows your connections to endorse your attributes, showcasing your top 10 skills based on endorsements on your profile. 38 per cent of employer recruiters consider sourcing highly skilled talent as their top priority as we move into 2016. Having active connections offering real-time accolades for your skill set will prove to be a valuable feature on your profile.

Feature any industry-specific memberships

If you belong to accredited organisations in the tax industry – such as The Tax Institute – use the organisations section to highlight your membership and status. LinkedIn is a keyword-rich site, so any opportunity to optimise your profile with relevant search terms will increase the odds of it being viewed by a recruiter or HR manager.

Include tax-specific coursework

As a recent tax graduate or current student, one of the most attractive traits you possess is your education. While a degree is an achievement in itself, it is also worthwhile to highlight any industry-related coursework that could impress potential employers. This might include any on-the-job training or work offered by organisations while you were studying. This section can prove to be particularly valuable if you see yourself entering a niche area of tax.

Join relevant groups

There are thousands of LinkedIn groups you can join. They range from general interest to industry specific and can be a great place to find out about news and changes in the tax industry. Join The Tax Institute LinkedIn group to build your tax knowledge and engage with industry peers.

Being active in groups can also make you more attractive to potential employers who are members. Keep in mind that if you start a conversation, it's important to follow up on comments and questions.

An active LinkedIn profile can improve the odds of your name being seen by potential employers, creating opportunities that have long-term benefits for your tax career.