I joined Deloitte in August 2009 after completing my PhD in Maths. I chose a career in tax as it offered so many aspects I was looking for in my career: problem solving, working in a team, the opportunity to learn specialist skills/knowledge as well as gain professional qualifications.
Tax also has the added advantage that the rules are constantly changing so there will always be new things to learn and keep me on my toes!
My first ten weeks were spent at college studying for the ATT exams that I sat and passed in November.
This was a fantastic introduction to both technical tax knowledge and working life in general; it allowed me to get to know my peers really well before we all started in the office together.
Since starting in the office, I can honestly say that no two days have been the same. I usually arrive between 08.00 and 09.30 and my day starts with a quick check of my email and the latest tax updates, to ensure I’m up to speed with all the latest developments (HMRC policy changes, relevant case decisions etc.).
The following gives a brief insight into a recent working week of mine:
I arrive at the office around 09.00 and by 10.00 I’ve been asked to go along to see a client on Tuesday. It turns out that this client meeting will actually be a training event where I’ll be involved in teaching the basics of VAT; very exciting indeed!
Over lunch I dial into a technical seminar online. During the rest of the day I compile figures for a VAT return and leave almost on time at around 18.00.
I start the day by sending a few emails, before heading off to give the client training. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to practice explaining some basic VAT rules and concepts.
Thankfully, the manager who I was with did jump in to assist with some of the trickier questions. The client had a few other VAT issues that they asked for our assistance with, which I knew would keep me busy later in the week, and was on a train home by 17.00.
Today, I completed the VAT return calculations I’d started on Monday and sent them off to be reviewed by the manager.
I met with another manager, who I’m assisting to compile the calculations for a client’s claim for overpaid tax. The manager explained some changes that we need to make to our method and I spent the rest of the day making these changes to the (almost) automated spreadsheet I’ve created to do the calculations.
Today I researched and drafted answers to the queries the client had following Tuesday’s training workshop. Again, these are reviewed before being sent out, meaning that whilst I get the experience of trying to answer trickier questions, there’s no risk of me sending incorrect advice to a client.
I meet with the manager who was reviewing my VAT return calculations and learnt which bits I’d done correctly and which bits needed some amendments.
It’s disappointing not to be able to get things right first time, but the managers have been really good at helping me to understand my mistakes so that I can get things right next time.
It’s possible that I’ve learnt more in the office like this than I have on the formal courses (both external and internal).
Another week of exciting tax comes to an end around 18.00 and I head out to a local pub for drinks to celebrate one of the team’s birthdays, before getting home late.
During the next year I’ll be sitting the CTA exams and am really looking forward to learning even more about tax, specifically the indirect ones.
Once I’ve completed my CTA, I hope to continue building on my tax knowledge and I might even be tempted by some of the international tax exams; after all, business isn’t constrained by our borders so why should our tax expertise!