Recruiters in the tax profession look for a range of skills in candidates that apply for entry-level positions.
Academic achievement in your taxation course at university is just a starting point. Companies are on the hunt for well-rounded, business-savvy practitioners who can see beyond just the technical information.
Here are five key qualities that tax employers value in their people.
1. Creative problem-solving
How would you design a phone for deaf people? How many piano tuners are there in Melbourne? How heavy is the Sydney Harbour Bridge?
These seemingly impossible questions have been asked in actual job interviews. They invite interviewees to demonstrate their creative ability to overcome workplace challenges and problems, and adapt to changing circumstances or the unexpected.
Thinking about instances in your life where you have been flexible in solving a problem can be a good starting point when it comes to showing employers you can think on your feet.
Effective organisational skills are key to managing projects. They are, therefore, fundamental for any new recruit to demonstrate.
The ability to break down a large project into separate stages, to estimate the work and time required, to delegate work and keep projects on track, on time and on budget is a core competency, especially in larger firms.
3. Digital savviness
A basic requirement among management recruits is proficiency in a range of core software.
Spreadsheets are fundamental to tax and accounting, and understanding shortcuts and being able to manipulate data quickly will help you stand out as a future high-flyer.
Database management and the ability to use data-visualisation tools have also emerged as important skill sets as data becomes more central to every organisation.
4. Commercial smarts
Understanding what makes the wider profession and business environment in which you work tick, and where the sector is going, demonstrates your ability to look beyond your tax training and can marks you out as someone capable of progressing in your chosen field.
It shows initiative, appreciation of the bigger picture and engagement with the tax and accounting world beyond just your taxation education.
A survey of 50,000 company recruiters revealed that communication skills were the most important factor in selecting people for management positions. Learning to work effectively by listening carefully and speaking and writing clearly is a skill you can consciously improve.
Mastering your ability to work with clients and colleagues is just as important as mastering your taxation education to ensure you enjoy a long, successful career.