I am currently studying towards the joint ACA/CTA qualification working as a corporate tax assistant at RSM. I joined RSM in 2015 after studying Politics at university. I enjoy the variety of work that tax offers, and while it is a complex area, I like the challenging nature of the role. Even working in the corporate tax team, there are a number of different areas of tax you are involved in on a day-to-day basis. There are also many opportunities within corporate tax to specialise in a particular sector or area of tax.
What are your main duties?
- Tax compliance – I assist in preparing corporation tax returns for my client portfolio. This involves speaking with clients directly and in some cases meeting with them to get the information I need. The compliance process also involves dealing with various deadlines and managing my client portfolio, as well as assisting clients with various queries.
- Tax advisory – I’m involved in a variety of ad-hoc advisory projects, ranging from research and development reports to share schemes and private client tax.
What skills are useful in this profession?
- Commitment – studying whilst working is definitely tough, so you need to be committed to your role and want to learn.
- Confidence – when speaking with clients and liaising with other departments confidence is important to ensure you get the right information and communicate effectively.
- Being a quick learner – there is a huge amount to learn on the job, so being a quick learner and being able to adapt to different situations definitely helps. This is particularly important in tax, as it is a constantly changing profession.
What challenges have you come across and how did you overcome these?
Studying towards the accountancy and tax qualifications whilst working is definitely a challenge, and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly as it can be very demanding, particularly during busy periods in the office. Having good time management and being strict with the number of hours of revision I do each week has definitely helped with this.
Do you have any advice for students wanting to get into the tax profession?
One thing I would say is that you don’t have to have a finance-related degree to succeed, so don’t be discouraged. My Politics degree has equipped me with a range of skills that have been very useful in my role, particularly being able to write reports in a professional format. Provided you have the desire to learn and the right skills for the job, you will succeed in your chosen role. I would also encourage undertaking some work experience to see if tax is right for you. There are so many placements and internships available to help you make the right choice.