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  • Name: Sian O'Mahony
  • Job Title: Personal Tax Adviser
  • Location: Newcastle
  • University: Durham
  • Degree: BSc (Hons) Mathematics
  • Areas of Specialism: Tax

After finishing my degree I had absolutely no idea which career path I wanted to pursue! The obvious choice seemed to be accountancy but I wanted to review other options. I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers and logic and I was keen to pursue a profession that gave me the opportunity to continue this in addition to further qualifications.
I was about to start applying for graduate schemes when I was offered my current job at Ernst & Young’s Personal Tax Centre. Rather than an official graduate scheme it was a graduate entry job starting as a tax assistant. Since starting with Ernst & Young (EY) I have had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients and colleagues within the firm.
I began studying for the ATT exams shortly after starting and it was a brilliant way of improving my technical knowledge that I could then apply in my everyday work. I attended several courses for each module and then revision sessions just before the final exams.
All the hard work thankfully paid off and being qualified has given me a renewed confidence in dealing with more complex tax issues and areas outside of my everyday work. I look forward to commencing my CTA training next year.
After setting up my computer and getting a much needed coffee, I usually start my day by checking through my emails and any new post; dealing with anything urgent or adding any new tasks to my ‘to-do’ list.
My current role at EY is on one of our teams that deal with the tax affairs of the private banking clients of Lloyds TSB. As a client executive I have my own allocation of over 600 clients whose tax affairs are my responsibility. The clients enjoy knowing there is a dedicated person who will be dealing with their taxes and that they can contact me at any time. Subsequently, this new role involves a lot of direct client contact, which is challenging but can also be very rewarding.
Whilst dealing with any client queries throughout the day I normally also have to contact HM Revenue to discuss various clients’ tax records. This can range from submitting various forms by post or calling up to discuss tax payments and previous returns.
As most of our correspondence with our clients is through post or telephone, any post that arrives during the day needs to be reviewed and acknowledged with the client. I normally ask my assistant to review the information and check if we will require anything further from the client, we will then either write out to the client or call them.
I always find it’s nice to go outside at lunch to get some fresh air and if it’s anyone’s birthday we always try and organise a group lunch or coffee and cakes. A bit of a break from the office is a good way to prepare you for the afternoon.
After lunch I usually compile various statistics to show what stage we are at with the tax returns for all my clients. I then review these and see which clients might need to be contacted for further information or which returns are in a position to be finalised.
If I have any tax returns that have been prepared by my assistant I try to get these reviewed as soon as possible so that we can get the return to the client quickly. Once I have reviewed the information and made any necessary changes it would then get passed over to my manager to be signed off. Once the return is confirmed as complete and correct we would then prepare a copy to be sent out to the client for their approval.
From about 5 o’clock I would start winding things up for the evening; trying to organise my desk and reconcile my ‘to-do’ list ready for tomorrow. If there’s any urgent work that needs to be completed I may have to stay late to get this completed, especially when it’s getting closer to the 31 January deadline when our weekly hours increase. On the plus side we have reduced hours in the quieter time of year and we can work up time and take one day off per week.

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