Tuesday 14 June 2016

Learning beyond university: Taking your degree to the next level

You’ve spent years taking undergraduate tax courses and finally scored yourself a graduate position. You’re ready to hit the ground running, right?

Well, no actually. Most firms want their new recruits to complete further studies within their first year, such as the Tax Institute’s CTA1Foundations, to bridge the significant gap between academic principles and workplace practice.

We asked four senior staff members from leading accounting and financial services firms, such as Barringtons, DKM Group, Moore Stephens and Westcourt, to explain why they expect their early-career staff members to undertake a tax course with a vocational focus.

Plugging the gaps
The taxation education provided at Australia’s tertiary institutions is of a high standard, but no matter how prestigious the university you went to or what grades you achieved, there is still plenty you need to learn.

“Universities touch on many aspects of tax in their degree courses,” says Anne Goode, associate director at Moore Stephens. “Within a six-month study period the level of detail that can be taught is limited. That’s why we enroll all our tax and business service graduates in CTA1 Foundations. It’s a way to refresh the university course material and complement the in-house training.”

More training equals faster advancement
If the thought of hitting the books five minutes after graduating has you rolling your eyes, consider the fact that undertaking a tax training course will allow you to take on challenging projects sooner than might otherwise be possible.

“Getting graduates to do the Tax Institute’s CTA1 Foundations gives them a general overview – or refresher – in Australian tax law and reduces their write-offs and the consumption of existing staff resources [in supervision] during their first six months on the job,” says Ross Forrester, director at Westcourt. “Once they they’ve completed the course they can move on from just the fundamental professional work to doing simple research tasks.”

Leigh Dyson, senior manager at Barringtons, echoes Forrester’s remarks. “Staff who have completed CTA1 Foundations have a much better understanding of the tax framework and key provisions and don’t require as much supervision or to have basic concepts explained to them. Once staff are enrolled in the course we can get them to start doing compliance-based work, such as tax returns and BAS, which require an understanding of key concepts.”

Boost your soft skills
“I can remember the days when a textbook had so much value – now you can Google everything,” says Daleen Van der Merwe, HR manager at DKM Group. “How do you differentiate yourself in that environment? It’s about having skills.”

Van Der Merwe believes a tax training course such as CTA1 Foundations can teach those skills, creating savvy, sure-footed operators rather than uncertain newbies who are going to cause “other team members’ time to be wasted fixing errors”.   

Read about the importance of soft and hard skills.

Still need convincing about the wisdom of signing up for a post-university Australian tax course? We’ll give the final word to Ross Forrester: “CTA1 Foundations is not an intimidating course for younger staff, but it is an effective one, allowing them to better operate in a professional firm. And it sets them on a pathway to the CTA2A and CTA2B Advanced, which gives them the knowledge needed for a professional advice firm.”

 Studying with The Tax Institute
Looking for that competitive edge? Look into completing The Tax Institute’s Programs, Single Subjects or Short-Courses.


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  12. Leigh Dyson, senior manager of Barringtons, agrees with Forrester. "Staff who have completed CTA1 Foundations have a much better understanding of the tax framework and key provisions and require less supervision or explanation of basic concepts." Once employees have completed the course, we may have them begin doing compliance-related work, such as tax returns and BAS, which need a comprehension of essential concepts."You must have done a lot of research and distillation to develop your work. The information examples and facts are quite useful. I'm convinced that many readers will find this content beneficial.
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  13. Great blog post! "Learning beyond university: Taking your degree to the next level" truly resonates with me. As a recent graduate, I understand the importance of continuous learning and expanding our knowledge beyond the confines of the university.
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    Furthermore, networking is highlighted as a vital aspect of post-graduate success. Building connections within our industry can open doors to exciting job opportunities, mentorship, and collaboration on innovative projects.
    Overall, this blog post has motivated me to keep pushing myself and seek out opportunities that will allow me to take my degree to the next level. Learning is a lifelong journey, and I'm excited to continue growing beyond the university walls. Thank you for this insightful piece!

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