Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Career alternatives for tax graduates

An assumption often made about students pursuing a degree in tax is that they’re on the fast track to a certain career in accountancy. However, not every tax graduate follows suit. So what are some of the other career options available?

Tax-based education gives you a unique combination of skills, including the ability to be a team player, the ability to not be a team player, communication skills, research skills, maths skills, analytical skills and commercial awareness. The combination of these means you’re equally well prepared for a numerical, analytical or communication-based role. After completing postgraduate tax training, you are spoilt with a unique spread of career options.

Here are five paths you might consider.


There’s no denying that the most well-trodden career path for tax graduates is a role in an accountancy firm.

The most attractive roles to many are those in the ‘big four’ firms: Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Ernst & Young. However, a number of large and mid-tier accountancy firms offer roles that cover a variety of tax disciplines 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 accounting is, by and large, one of the most alluring opportunities for a tax graduate to consider.


Law and tax are often considered to be complementary degrees. Many tax lawyers pursue tax qualifications, and it’s not uncommon for tax accountants to undertake a law degree.

For law-inclined practitioners who don’t wish to complete a full degree, an additional education resource is The Tax Institute’s CTA2A Advanced subject. This postgraduate qualification can be undertaken while working full-time. It helps explain the rationale behind tax laws.

Government financial advice

With a qualification in tax, it should be safe to say that you’re proficient with numbers. As a government financial adviser you can merge your analytical and communication skills to mentor people through financial decisions.

For success in this field, work experience as a registered tax agent or tax adviser are looked upon favourably.


Moving between industries doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your hard-earned skills, your clocked hours or your valuable industry connections. In fact, returning to academia could help you strengthen your industry ties and reputation.

Opportunities in educational institutions and corporate training companies are regularly available for experienced tax accountants. A number of large companies also have specially designed educational roles.

Entrepreneurial options

For tax graduates who dream of running their own business, the opportunities are potentially endless. You can run your own firm, and even marry two distinct specialties into one business venture – e.g. environmental accounting, international tax advisory services and entertainment business consulting are niche self-employment routes that can be stimulating and give you a competitive edge.

Taxation knowledge can be your ticket to any number of roles that cross traditional industry barriers.

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