When I was asked to write this piece for a careers guide I thought, ‘why me?’ I am not a high flying senior partner in one of the ‘Big Four’, but I guess I qualify to contribute, having had a rewarding and fulfilling career in the tax profession for over 20 years.
When I left school to go college, I was uncertain about what I wanted to do. Although I was interested in business and commerce, I was very ignorant of all the different careers available within the business sector.
I decided to study Economics and I also decided I would like to study in London having spent the first 18 years of my life on a farm in rural Wales and wanted to broaden my horizons!
After gaining an upper second BA (Hons), I was delighted to be immediately offered a job with an accountancy practice in Cardiff. My role there involved accounts preparation for sole traders and small companies, which provided an excellent grounding in accounts preparation and understanding accounts but I decided I wanted to specialise in tax.
I moved to Ernst &Young to specialise in tax while studying for my CTA. It was hard work studying while working, but I was delighted to pass the CTA exams first time.
At EY, my client portfolio varied from large international groups to owner-managed companies and a handful of individuals and partnerships all of which helped me to gain a breadth of experience to assist with my studies.
I later specialised in corporation tax doing compliance work and tax planning for companies. I enjoyed the diversity of the job, with the different types of businesses creating and offering different tax challenges and opportunities.
I moved to Kilsby & Williams in 2004 as the firm had an excellent reputation as tax specialists and I wanted to experience working in a small firm again. My portfolio of clients is largely owner-managed business for which I undertake compliance work and tax planning.
Business owners are often ‘the movers and the shakers’ in the business community and are always needing tax advice for their next project. Working in a smaller firm also means that the work can be more interesting and often challenging, as you have to consider all the taxes in a transaction rather than just being a specialist in one area.
My role also involves marketing the firm by attending business network events. Although we get a lot of work through reputation, we like to maintain a high profile in the business community and a good network of business contacts is important to generate business.
The first time I attended a business breakfast it was very daunting, but it soon gets easier as you build a network of business relationships.
Now, when I attend events I am much more confident and outgoing than I thought I could ever be. To promote women in business, I also co-founded a business networking club for women in business. The club has gone from strength to strength with over 600 members.
A work/life balance
One of the major benefits of my current role, is the flexibility afforded by my firm and the nature of my work portfolio. It can be managed successfully on a part-time basis and I have therefore worked part-time while my children have been growing up. I have been able to be there to see the school play, go to sports day and be there when they get home from school whenever possible.
It also means that I can have a life outside my career. I have just agreed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. It will be a difficult challenge but hopefully a rewarding and fulfilling experience. I guess a bit like a career in Tax!