Why did you choose a job in tax?
I graduated from university with an accounting degree, but I didn’t think audit would suit me, so I decided to go into tax. The tax module was my favourite at university, even though it was also the most difficult! I liked the idea of the challenging and ever-changing nature of tax, and how it affects everybody in different ways.
Tax investigations seemed like a really interesting part of tax – and it hasn’t disappointed. It is hugely varied as we don’t cover just one aspect of tax. As a team, we work with various different types of client including individuals, partnerships and companies, who might have problems such as undisclosed offshore bank accounts or rental property.
The field of tax investigations doesn’t stand still. With HMRC cracking down on tax avoidance more than ever, we have to keep up-to-date with changes in the legislation and how they will affect our clients.
What was the application process like?
I’d heard really good things about the application process at Grant Thornton and in my experience it was a lot friendlier than some of the other applications I went through. I really felt like I was valued throughout the whole process.
The assessment centre was tough, but fair. I liked the fact that I was given a tour of the office that I would actually be working in. I also met the tax investigations team – this made me feel like Grant Thornton wanted to ensure that I would enjoy working there, as well as making sure I was the right fit for them.
Any advice about the application process?
I know everyone says it, but just be yourself. Be happy and friendly and really show the recruiter how much you want to work for the firm. Have loads of examples ready for the competency based questions, as you never know how much the interviewer will throw at you!
Also, do your research about the firm and in particular what it offers to the industry. Cross-selling between departments is important in big firms, so show the interviewer you know about the different service lines they offer.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
At the moment, I am concentrating on completing the CTA. I will start the training in June and will hopefully be finished (if I pass everything first time) next May. I really enjoy working in tax investigations so I will continue to do so once I qualify, improving my experience and knowledge as I progress with Grant Thornton.
What are the most stressful parts of the job?
Trying to study alongside your day job can be difficult. Sometimes you just want to relax in the evening and not think about tax! But putting yourself through professional training and exams gives a huge sense of achievement, as well as kick-starting your career.
I’m lucky: at Grant Thornton, we do all of our ATT and CTA training at our national training centre, Bradenham Manor. We work really hard during the day and get to enjoy ourselves by the bar at night. We have the same trainer throughout both qualifications so it’s consistent as well as being top quality training.
I feel like this training contributed to my success in my ATT results. I received three awards, two for receiving the highest overall results nationally and one for receiving the highest mark in the Business Compliance module.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
I get to meet with clients and HMRC fairly regularly, which is my favourite part of the job. It’s really interesting and as you can imagine you get to meet all sorts of characters! We are a national team so we travel all over the UK.
Often we don’t know who the client is, or what they have done before we meet them, so you’ve got to be prepared for anything.
What are your main duties?
My day-to-day role varies as it is dependent on what kind of client I am currently working with. Typical duties include:
- Working with offshore banks to calculate undeclared income and gains.
- Drafting reports to be submitted to HMRC.
- Liaising with clients on a daily basis.
- Tax computations.
- Review of business accounts and profits.
- Technical research.
- Drafting eflashes and blogs for the website.
Is it a 9-5 job?
Pretty much. I’m generally in the office from 8.30am and have left by 6pm. Obviously if there is a deadline looming or something similar, I might have to stay later, but it’s not as often as you might think!
Evenings and weekends can be taken up with study and revision, which obviously increases around exam time, but it is really important to have regular breaks and still have a social life so you don’t overdo it!