Position: Manager (Tax)
I am currently working as a tax Manager at Saffery Champness. I started as a tax trainee doing my ATT apprenticeship after studying Accounting, Maths, Business and Graphics at college. I later went on to study towards my CTA qualification and recently passed my final exams.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship in tax?
After studying accounting in college, I knew I wanted to work in an accounting and finance environment. When I found out it was possible to work full-time, gain experience and study towards a qualification at the same time, this made more sense for me than going back into full time education and personally felt a better career option.
Although I originally thought I needed a degree to get a good job, after speaking to different employers and people I knew who worked in accountancy firms, I realised the apprenticeship route was just as well respected.
What is your role as a tax Assistant Manager?
As a tax Manager I have huge variety in my role, working on personal and corporation tax, including:
- Tax compliance – I am involved with the preparation and submission of personal, trust, partnership and corporation tax returns, based on information provided by the client and in some cases, obtaining the information from a third party. My duties include calculating the tax liabilities, ensuring deadlines are met and that clients are advised in good time of their liabilities. As I have gained more experience in tax compliance, I carry out a first review of tax files that have been prepared by tax trainees in the office.
- Tax advisory – I assist with general queries that clients may have about tax implications of various transactions. This will usually involve me preparing draft tax calculations to get an idea of what the outcome may be and to allow the client to plan ahead, or answering more general queries clients may have on their affairs.
What are the most stressful parts of your role?
I found the most demanding part of my job to be balancing work with studying, especially close to exam times and work deadlines. It can be hard to focus on client work when exams are approaching, however my managers were very understanding when I was busy studying and realised my workload may need to be reduced. Now I am no longer studying, I find the most stressful parts of my role dealing with challenges and issues that you might not have expected.
What skills and personal qualities are useful in this profession?
- Being a quick learner and having the ability to adapt to changing situations and environments allows you to make quick rational decisions and deal with the outcome.
- Being able to think ahead and anticipating positive and negative outcomes allows you to be ready and prepared, which is something that happens quite often in tax.
- Being enthusiastic and motivated is important: goals and objectives will give you something to work towards and remind you of what you want to achieve.
- Confidence is important, as you will need to deal with colleagues, partners and clients.
There might be times where you need to use your own initiative to work independently as well as part of a team.
Do you have any advice for students wanting to get into the accountancy or tax industries?
- Be open minded. I didn’t originally plan to go into tax, however once I researched the tax profession and spoke to various people who had experience in this profession, I realised tax was more suited to me and was something I wanted to pursue.
- Do plenty of research into the area you are looking to go into. If you pick the right subject, an apprenticeship can give you a lot of experience for the future.