Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Career options for tax professionals

The assumption often made about students pursuing a degree in tax is that they’re on the fast track to a certain career in accountancy. Considering, however, that there’s only a finite number of graduate positions available in accountancy firms each year, it’s clear that not every tax graduate will follow suit. So what are some other career options?

Tax-based education grants you a unique skill set: the ability to be a team player, the ability to not be a team player, communication skills and commercial awareness. The junction of these skills means you’re equally well versed in a numerical, analytical or communication-heavy role. In reality, after completing your postgraduate tax training, you are spoilt with a unique spread of career options. Here are five paths you may consider conquering.

Accountancy

There is no denying that the most well-trodden career avenue for recent tax graduates is a role in an accountancy firm. The most attractive roles being those in the ‘Big Four’ firms: Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Ernst & Young. Large and mid-tier accountancy firms offer roles that cover a large range of tax areas 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 it’s within reason that this is by and large one of the most alluring prospects for a tax graduate.

Law

Law and tax are often considered to be complementary degrees; many tax lawyers pursue tax qualifications, and tax accountants a law degree. Obviously, this career path is only available to experienced tax professionals, however an additional education resource for the law-inclined is the CTA2A Advanced subject. This postgraduate qualification can be undertaken while working full-time, and works to explain the rationale behind tax laws.

Government financial advising

With a qualification in tax, it’s safe to say that you’re proficient in numbers. Government financial advising merges your analytical and communicative skills to ensure you can best mentor people through financial decisions. For success in this field, work experience as a registered tax agent or tax financial advisory are looked upon favourably.

Teaching

Moving between industries doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your hard-earned skills, clocked hours and valuable industry connections. In fact, you could strengthen your industry ties and reputation by returning to academia. For experienced tax accountants, there are often opportunities for positions from educational bodies, as well as in corporate training companies or specially designed educational roles in large-tier companies.

Entrepreneurial

For the tax graduates who dream of running their own business, the opportunities are endless. Beyond running your own firm, there is also an opportunity to marry two unique specialties into one business venture: environmental accounting, international accounting and entertainment accounting are all niche self-employment routes that offer you a market difference.

Taxation knowledge can be your golden ticket to any number of roles that cross traditional industry barriers. Browse our range of programs and subjects to get qualified for a career in tax.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Which area of tax is right for you?

A career in tax can be dynamic, versatile and open up rewarding opportunities both locally and abroad. A multifaceted profession, there are many areas in the industry you can choose to specialise in when you've finished your further tax education.

But how do you know which is the perfect fit for your natural abilities? Here are four areas you can focus your tax training in, the skills and experience you’ll need to get there and the type of personalities primed to excel in them.

1. SMEs

With the growing number of small-medium businesses in Australia, a business tax specialist will always be in high demand.

As a business tax specialist, you’ll need to be abreast of capital gains implications, the latest GST changes and depreciation schedules, as well as the special exemptions and deductions relevant to each business structure and industry.

Many tax specialists find this work rewarding, as it helps local businesses grow and remain sustainable. Keeping up with the constant federal regulatory changes impacting SMEs also means working in an area that is dynamic and always evolving.

2. SMSFs

An increasing number of people are choosing a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) to provide their retirement benefits because it offers more control over investments. Consequently, this has opened up a complex new arena for tax agents to specialise in, providing superannuation advice.

SMSFs are a legal tax structure regulated by the ATO and with strict reporting and compliance obligations. So as a superannuation specialist, you’ll need to stay abreast of any new developments in order to provide your clients with timely advice on the right structure and planning.

With severe penalties for non-compliance, an SMSF tax specialist has considerable responsibility and therefore needs to have good attention to detail and outstanding communication skills, along with a comprehensive understanding of superannuation law and practice.

3. Property investment


A property tax specialist provides advice for investors about asset protection while minimising tax liabilities. You will need to consider issues such as various tax structures, capital gains implications, deciding between holding and selling, renting, cash flow issues, renovations, transferring property and international tax implications as well as tax minimisation.


Property tax can be a highly complex area and laws and regulations can vary widely from state to state. One of the rewarding challenges of providing specialist property tax advice is helping clients find viable and sustainable solutions to maximise their opportunities and return on their investment. Specialists in this area will enjoy liaising with people who are interested in asset and wealth creation, including high-net-worth individuals and wealth-creation institutions.

4. Corporate advice

The corporate tax path may be well trodden, but for good reason – there are many rewarding specialisations in the larger corporate arena, including audit, compliance, consultancy and advisory work, which can open up exciting opportunities for specialists working in this sector.

If you’re one to thrive when given the opportunity to share ideas and collaborate with your colleagues, large-scale corporate advisory work will often have you working cohesively in a team environment, often across multinational channels.

You’ll need an understanding of international corporate tax implications, as well as great time management and effective communication skills, as you’ll be communicating across different time zones with your firm’s offices around the globe. But be warned: late nights and early mornings may be required!

Stand out from the crowd

Tax is a dynamic profession and in order to provide great specialist advice, practitioners must remain up to date with the changing landscape. As a member of The Tax Institute you will be equipped to provide the timeliest practical and sound advice in the area of specialisation of your choice.

Led by tax experts to benefit tax experts, The Tax Institute is the only body in Australia devoted exclusively to tax, and when you join its 13,000-strong community of the most knowledgeable practitioners, you’ll gain access to powerful resources, progressive education and influential networks.


http://taxinstitute.com.au/education/graduate-diploma-of-applied-tax-lawTake the next step in your tax career with the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law 

Find out more

Monday, 14 May 2018

Building rapport with your colleagues

Having the ability to get along with your colleagues – and create long-lasting professional relationships with them – is essential for any tax professional.

Whether you are new to the numbers game or a seasoned accountant, fostering positive relationships with co-workers creates a richer work environment and can help your future within the industry. While it's par for the course that some personalities may clash, garnering the skills to cope in such situations is key for any career-driven individual. Here are four great ways to build rapport with your colleagues and show your team your good side.



1. Communicate effectively

Things can go awry when there is miscommunication, especially when office stress and multiple deadlines are added to the mix. Learning to be clear when communicating with colleagues about collaborative projects, your workload or the expectations of your role will help you avoid any unnecessary conflict. If you are ever in doubt about a task or project, following up with questions is the best way to side-step confusion. Professional relationships thrive on open and honest communication.

2. Be positive

No one likes a Negative Nancy. So even if you think you are innocently venting about problems, if you do so too often people will peg you as a pessimist.

Having a positive, can-do attitude puts other people at ease and also shows that you are capable and interested in your work. Next time you feel the urge to complain about something work related, take a step back and look on the bright side. Positivity is infectious, so your vibe will rub off on your colleagues, leading to a more positive work environment for everyone.

3. Learn to listen

Often when we have conversations with colleagues, our minds are focused on the long list of other things we need to get done, meaning you miss important information. Making a conscious effort to focus on what the other person is saying is called active listening.

To be successful with active listening:
  • Pay attention to what the other person is saying.
  • Show them you are engaged in the conversation with signals like nodding and eye contact.
  • Provide feedback on what they have said by paraphrasing.
  • Try not to interrupt them while they are speaking.

Practising this type of listening can really help you understand your co-worker's needs and build trust with them.

4. Be reliable

To make your colleagues trust and admire your work, make sure you are a reliable employee. Get to the office on time, produce high-quality work and be there for your team when they need you. Later down the track when your superiors are determining who best to promote or entrust with the next big project, your hard work will pay off.

These four tips are great ways to improve rapport with your co-workers, but they work best when combined. Create a positive work attitude built on effective skills and you will be the go-to worker in the office.

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Read more about the communication skills you need to succeed in tax by downloading our free ebook.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Five resume red flags to avoid

According to a recruitment study, your resume has mere seconds in front of a senior associate, hiring manager or recruiter before they make a decision about your application.

HR staff are trained to look for disqualifying factors. With just seconds to impress, here are five glaring red flags that vex recruiters and see them weed out candidates at a glance.

Messy formatting

Little to no white space on the page, decorative or small type and the complete absence of page margins signal to HR that you may not be their ideal candidate. Beyond your apparent lack of organisation and overgenerous data selection, this may suggest that you don’t have a clear vision or, worse, that you’re imprudent.

Your resume needs to be reader-friendly, but it also needs to be deliberate. This isn’t the time to get experimental with font types or test your Microsoft Office artistry – and your resume certainly shouldn’t act as your memoir. Professionally prepared resumes are considered and highlight only the most esteemed aspects in a career history.

Steer clear of graphics, too many colours and too much information to create a resume that will speak clearly to your prospective employer.

Gaps in your employment history

While HR may anticipate that most resumes will show at least one substantial gap (i.e. over six months) in their employment history, unexplained periods of career inactivity are cause for concern. This is one of the times where things should not be left unsaid. It’s perfectly acceptable to include a short sentence that will explain any gaps of multiple years, such as “Left position to further my education by undertaking a course” or “Left position to travel for a set amount of time”.

In the same vein, too many short-term jobs to a scrutinising eye can suggest you lack the commitment or stamina to persevere in a position. In this instance, it’s worth explaining that your career movements instead reflect a desire for continued professional development.

Using time-worn phrases

It seems tired and clich├ęd that this particular red flag will always make the ‘do not’ list, however it’s still something job recruiters find in resumes. Such terms include “hard worker”, “forward-thinking”, “dedicated”, “detail orientated” and “driven”.

Hiding behind time-worn phrases can appear evasive and will encourage HR to question your talents, work ethic and your own viewpoint on what you can offer the company. Get creative with your resume and use language to frame your strengths.

Lacking results

One step towards making your resume easier to read for time-poor hiring managers is to convert your data from qualitative to quantitative. Numbers, metrics and percentages can often be more impactful than words. Without such data, your resume can appear haphazard or altogether too vague. Would you hire a candidate without seeing hard facts on their successes?

Unprofessional details

A resume is a package deal. While the content is critical, so too are the finer details such as the file name, your email address or your Skype handle. With hundreds of applications for any one job, make sure you include your name on the file to ensure you don’t get lost in the masses. Emails are free, so don’t let your sentimental attachment to an older email address hold you back in your career. Lead with your best professional foot forward.

For a fruitful career in tax, mastering the art of writing a professional resume is the first step to success.

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