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  • Role: Indirect Tax Trainee
  • Location: Gatwick
  • University: UCL
  • Degree: Economics and Statistics
  • Organisation: BDO

Renaldo Gracias

Why did you choose to join a graduate scheme?

In the current market, it is very difficult to find work and graduate schemes are notoriously hard to join. They offer the best opportunities for both personal and career development. My graduate scheme involves working towards the CTA, a well-recognised professional qualification. The scheme gives you all the right tools to progress quickly through your career, so it really does tick all the boxes.

What attracted you to your industry?

Accountancy is a very respectable and prestigious career with great rewards. My university degree gave me a little taste of the corporate environment and I felt a career in accountancy gave me a great chance to work within this environment. The opportunity to work and liaise with clients on a regular basis was something that appealed to me as I like meeting new people and developing solid working relationships. There are also great personal rewards.

What attracted you to BDO?

BDO is a highly reputable firm which is very focused on people, both their staff and clients alike. Their commitment to developing talent is something that stood out to me when deciding to apply to BDO, as I am always keen to learn and develop myself. BDO work on a broad range of clients, from small family owned businesses to large multinational companies: the opportunity to gain experience from a variety of projects was a big factor for me.

What are your main duties?

Working in the Indirect Tax team, my main duty is providing VAT advice to a variety of clients, but I am also involved in some compliance as well. I work directly under a senior manager in the Gatwick office which has allowed me to get exposure to high level technical work from an early stage in my career.

What challenges have you come across and how did you overcome these?

For me, the biggest challenge was the long commute to work and back every day. Coming from the university lifestyle where it is a bit more relaxed, I found it hard to adapt initially, but in time you get used to it and I now use the time to my advantage by studying and developing my technical knowledge and commercial awareness of VAT.

Do you have any advice for someone seeking to join Indirect Tax/VAT?

Anyone interested in joining BDO should be comfortable within a team, and this can be no more relevant than in the Indirect Tax team I work in. Indirect Tax is a great place to work and we have a fantastic team in the southern region, headed up by partner Tom Kivlehan. There is a lot of mobility and regular correspondence across all the offices, so you should be flexible in terms of your work commitments. I would also say it is important that you are eager to learn and take on early responsibility. VAT is a lot about understanding the legislation and relevant case law when dealing with clients’ problems, so it is important that you are keen to continually develop your knowledge of VAT and stay on top of the on-going changes.

What skills have you acquired or improved during your training?

I have learned so much about Indirect Tax in such a short space of time, it is exciting to see what the future holds. I have developed my technical knowledge of how a business works and the importance of managing VAT correctly. Having always been involved in various sporting teams, I have further developed my communication and interpersonal skills working with a team in a different environment.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

The aim in the immediate future is to pass my exams and become CTA qualified within three years. After that I would like to progress within BDO and work towards becoming a pivotal member of a highly successful team.

How do you balance work/studying and personal life?

I always say ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. I organise my time so that I can satisfy all my duties and requirements. I know that the hard work I put in now will result in great rewards later on in my career, so I keep that in mind when I am trying to balance my studies. I am also aware that some sacrifices need to be made in order for me to progress in my career. BDO are fantastic in supporting a healthy work/life balance and always take your personal interests into account.

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