Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Understanding the roles in the tax profession

What role within the tax profession could be right for you?

The profession in Australia is broad. Its members work to ensure the tax system serves the needs of individuals, businesses and governments.

Although many tax professionals wear more than one hat, there are five main roles:

  1. Accountants
  2. Lawyers (solicitors)
  3. Analysts/economists
  4. Policy developers/advisers
  5. Tax agents/advisers.

Of these, accountants are the biggest group with 188,100 registered in Australia in 2015, according the Australian Government’s Job Outlook.

Are you a future tax accountant?

Accountants work with clients to plan and develop financial systems, and advise on record keeping and compliance, including tax obligations.

The skills you need to be a good accountant are active listening to best serve your clients, an ability to use systems and maths to solve problems, and critical thinking to evaluate issues and propose solutions.

Are you a future tax lawyer/solicitor?

Solicitors are legal advisors who prepare legal documents and negotiate on behalf of clients in matters related to the law.

In addition to the skills required of accountants, solicitors are expected to have complex problem-solving skills and the ability to exercise a high level of judgement and decision-making.

Are you a future tax policy analyst?

Government policy analysts and advisers collect and analyse information to inform and develop policy that will, in turn, affect government/commercial operations and programs.

To do well at this role, you’ll need to have solid research and critical thinking skills, and the ability to solve complex problems, evaluate systems and communicate findings and recommendations.

This role is generally not for graduates; most graduates will support the activities in these professionals in an administrative capacity before moving into this position.

If you’re intelligent and can solve complex problems, are comfortable performing technical calculations and keeping up with legislation changes, the tax industry wants you for a stable, well-paid career.

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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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