Tuesday 22 March 2016

Vivian Wang’s life two years after graduating

I began my interest in the accounting industry through my Bachelor of Commerce in 2010 at the University of Western Australia majoring in Financial Accounting and Management Accounting with a Business Law minor. My passion for accounting picked up during the second year of my degree when I began working part-time at the R E Ledger. I was able to relate what I have learned on paper to real life situations, which was challenging yet interesting to me. I undertook an Honours year following my Bachelor degree at UWA and commenced full-time work at R E Ledger in 2014. I have completed my study with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2015 and am embarking on the CTA3 Advisory program with The Tax Institute in 2016.
My current role at R E Ledger is quite diverse. It varies from client meetings to tax research to preparation and review of financial statements and tax returns to supervising our junior and intermediate staff. I have had the opportunity to work closely with our director on ATO Tax Audits and company liquidations which were most fascinating.
I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and work with leading tax advisors while working on a diverse and fascinating group of clients, allowing me to gain valuable knowledge and skills on various aspects of our industry. Using these skills to help and work with clients to achieve their objectives is very rewarding for me. Another highlight would be finishing my CA study and achieving merit results for both Taxation and Financial Reporting.
I was encouraged by my mentor to join The Tax Institute to further enhance my tax skills. The Institute’s seminars and publications provide me with an excellent opportunity to enhance my tax knowledge and skills.  In addition, joining The Tax Institute provides great opportunities to meet other like-minded tax professionals.
Whether it is learning new knowledge or keeping up to date with changes within the industry, study in our profession never ends. Being proactive and never being afraid to ask questions are the key to gaining knowledge and experience. 

Want to expand your education, visit taxinstitute.com.au/education for further information.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

7 tips to leverage your training strategy

Are you looking to create a strong training strategy in your team?

We have provided seven tips to help you prepare and implement a successful training strategy.
1. Listen to your team
In order to determine your teams training needs, talk with your team, get their feedback and try to work out from a practical sense any trends that are happening that need addressing.

2. Reward and encourage post-training
To have a successful training strategy you need to ensure that the team implements their learning. It is always good to recognise those who show initiative in implementing the training and reward them in various ways.

3. Conduct a skills-gap analysis
If the organisation is going to spend money on training, they will need to identify the return on their investment. Write down how the training will impact the team productivity and that it would be a worthwhile exercise.

4. Keep your program regular and fresh
With the changes in the profession and technology, training is best implemented on a regular basis rather than annually. This will provide the team with up-to-date knowledge and career satisfaction that they know their job and capabilities are growing. If you do not have the resources internally, it is always good to look externally such as monthly tax update webinars [hyperlink].

5. Create the right mix of technical and non-technical training
Having a right mix is crucial. If you provide too much technical training, you will not provide your team with the time to absorb all the details and more importantly, they will not have the time to implement this in the workplace.

6. Customise training via feedback and suggestions
To identify this, it is always good to have a meeting with the team, whether it be a few weeks or a few months in.

7. Collaborate and keep training consistent
By providing consistency, this will reinforce the training and ensure that the team absorbs the information. This can be done in break out training or team meetings which are dedicated to discussing the weeks training topic.

To find out more about how you can utilise The Tax Institute’s applied tax training for your company, please contact Anil Fernandez via email anilfernandez@taxinstitute.com.au or call (02) 8223 0069.

Otherwise, jump onto the website for further information taxinstitute.com.au/education or call 1300 TAX EDU (1300 829 338).

Tuesday 8 March 2016

2016 training trends

In order to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving tax and accounting landscape, it’s critical for professionals to keep both their knowledge and skills timely and relevant. From a firm’s perspective, an ongoing commitment to implementing the right learning and development strategy is essential to nurture and manage the internal talent pool.

We have identified three key trends in 2016:

Leverage the training mix
Experts agree when it comes to training, there is no one size-fits-all approach. Getting the training mix right is about ensuring teams remain updated on both soft and hard skill sets. National director at Grant Thornton Stacey Smith says its program includes a mix of soft skills and non-technical training, regular tax updates concentrating on specialised topics, as well as programs nurturing commercial skills.

Putting knowledge into practice
Meanwhile, with the rapid changes in digital capabilities, cloud-based accounting software and rapidly evolving client expectations, experts highlight the importance of ensuring tax and accounting professionals have regular technological updates. At Perks for instance, Oakes says training includes technology-driven value-add skills, particularly from junior level upwards.

The test-and-learn method
When it comes to tailoring the training within a firm, experts agree a customised approach can be achieved through measuring testing and learning. At Perks, Oakes says the firm runs an annual skills gap analysis, which involves getting feedback from staff to be able to tailor the training program accordingly.

Engaging the team in training helps to maintain currency of both technical and non-technical skill sets. At the same time, consistency in delivery, testing and learning, and being open to adapt and customise a program are critical in ensuring all individual learning needs are addressed across any organisation.

To read more about these key trends, download our white paper.

To find out more about how to achieve your chosen path, please visit taxinstitute.com.au/education or call 1300 TAX EDU (1300 829 338).

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Keeping up to date on the latest tax news

Keeping up to date with the latest industry news may seem like another item to add to your to-do list, but staying informed can have a number of positive benefits that can aid you in your career. For instance, when you are aware of the latest news and developments in the industry, you are able to make better decisions, and spot opportunities and threats early on. Additionally, you can develop expertise that will build trust and respect, which from a leadership perspective is invaluable. By utilising these industry resources, you can apply your knowledge to your everyday practice and client cases to become better in your role.

Here some handy resources that can keep you up to date with the latest developments in tax and accounting.

The Tax Institute Member Centre

Tax law and administration is continuously evolving, which means tax practitioners need to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with the changing landscape. The Tax Institute Member Centre is a community of highly knowledgeable practitioners, and offers access to powerful resources, progressive education and influential networks. The membership includes access to tax journals and newsletters, and research services such as tax libraries and alliance partners. 

Best for: Membership is a great way for tax professionals to equip themselves with the best advice, and it can enhance the careers of those just starting out in tax.

Government resources

The ATO website has recently gone through some drastic changes to improve usability, and it now has more resources, tools and calculators than ever before. The ATO is currently in the early development stage of building a central newsroom that will bring together a number of newsletters, media-release services and news articles. The ATO newsroom aims to provide tax and accounting professionals, as well as the general public, with a more streamlined resource containing relevant and timely news and information.

For general news and information, government sites can help you find useful data and assistance across all areas of taxation, including tax reform, tax returns, e-tax and myTax. For a more overarching resource, the Treasury publishes the Pocket Guide to the Australian Tax System. You can obtain various guidance notes on federal, state and local government tax revenue, major tax expenditures, as well as historical information relating to Australian tax instruments, income tax laws, and GST and excise policies. The Treasury site also contains media releases, with the latest announcements from areas such as fiscal policy, the budget and tax expenditures.

Best for: Utilising government resources is great for overarching resources across all areas of taxation, such as tax reform, tax returns, e-tax and so on.

TaxWise News

TaxWise News is a subscription-based newsletter containing recent news and information written by the professional team at The Tax Institute. From small business tax measures to GST changes and SMSF compliance, TaxWise News keeps you abreast of everything you need to know for providing timely and relevant advice to your clients.

TaxWise offers two streams of newsletters: Business News, which is published quarterly and is tailored to SME clients' requirements, and Individual News, which is published biannually and is customised for your clients needs.

Best for: Subscription to TaxWise News is great for the latest industry news, specifically around small business tax and compliance measures and requirements. 

Weekly Tax Bulletin

Thomson Reuters offers a comprehensive range of news services for tax and accounting professionals, including the Weekly Tax Bulletin, which provides a detailed and comprehensive weekly wrap-up of the latest tax developments. The Weekly Tax Bulletin is a subscription-based service, which publishes analytical reports plus expert commentary from practitioners on the latest tax and accounting developments, including the latest tax cases, rulings and ATO updates. Other news services include the Capital Gains Tax Bulletin, the Fringe Benefits Tax Bulletin, the GST News Alert, the International Tax Bulletin and the Super & Financial Services Bulletin.

Best for: Subscription to the Weekly Tax Bulletin is best for the latest tax cases and developments, and expert advice from trusted practitioners around industry developments. 

Law Council of Australia

The Law Council of Australia is the peak national representative body of the Australian legal profession. As a member of the Legal Council, you will have access to professional contacts in your field of practice, receive the latest journals and newsletters, information bulletins, as well as opportunities to attend professional education events. The membership can help your career in tax, as it is crucial to be aware of new developments in the law and how these changes could affect your clients. The membership is divided into five sections, suited to your area of expertise, and as a result you will be able to access the most relevant and timely information for your practice and clients.

Best for: Membership to the Law Council of Australia is great for access to journals and advice from accredited law practitioners. 

Lawyers Weekly

Lawyers Weekly is a leading online and independent news, analysis and opinion source. It is updated daily and delivers the latest news, business and market developments for corporate and in-house legal businesses and practitioners. The site allows you to customise preferences from breaking legal news to the latest in-house updates. The site has both free and pay-to-access content, depending on the type of resource.

Best for: Subscription to Lawyers Weekly is great for the latest law news and industry developments. 

It can be overwhelming and time-consuming to stay abreast of the latest relevant tax news, so utilise these resources for the most useful and up-to-date tax information.

If you are thinking about membership, contact us today on (02) 8223 0060 or visit taxinstitute.com.au/members