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Sinead Lew, Senior Tax Manager
Accountancy & Taxation

Sinead Lew, Senior Tax Manager

Sinead Lew works as a Tax Manager in the Domestic & International Outbound Market group in PwC. She completed a Degree in Accounting and HR at the National College of Ireland (NCI). She then went on to study a Masters in Accounting at Smurfit Business School. Sinead is also a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA).

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What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

I think working in tax as part of a summer internship really showed me that I wanted to work in tax as a career. Personally, I think it is a really fulfilling career – every day is different and it is rewarding to work with clients to find solutions to issues they are facing and help them to make business decisions.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I had completed an internship in the summer of second year and I was lucky enough to be offered a job at the end of my internship! This can save you a lot of valuable time during your final year as you don’t have to fill out applications forms / attend interviews.

The recruitment and selection process gives you an opportunity to meet people from the various firms at career fairs, opening evenings etc. I found that this gave me a sense of what each firm is like and what a career in tax would entail. When I was lucky enough to get called for interviews and ultimately get job offers, I felt I was able to make a much more informed decision.

Describe a typical day?

The typical type of work I do includes working on group reorganisations, financing project and trade transfers. More recently, I have also been involved in a number of large property transactions. I am constantly in contact with other professional bodies, such as solicitors and banks. I would be in regular contact with Revenue, as part of my day to day work.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

I manage a really diverse client base ranging from large multinational companies and high-profile retailers to small indigenous and foreign companies. This client base crosses a number of industries, including media and entertainment, energy, retail and technology.

What are the main challenges?

I recently worked on a project where the scope of the project was constantly changing and we were under considerable pressure to complete the project by an agreed deadline. How I dealt with this is by working efficiently, being decisive and helping out the team in whatever way I could to ensure we met our commitment to our client.

What's cool?

The work I do is really diverse and there are constantly new projects and challenges so you are always learning and developing. What most appeals to me though is working with people- interacting with colleagues and clients on a regular basis, meeting different people from different backgrounds, industries, etc. You will typically never encounter the same two scenarios in tax; there are always different facts involved, different organisations and different desired outcomes. I like that the work is so varied.

What's not so cool?

Sometimes tight deadlines mean that it can be very fast paced and challenging, but working as part of a team really helps here!

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

Definitely communication skills and team work skills are really important skills that I use every day, alongside my tax technical skills.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I decided in second year in college that I was interested in Tax as a career. I really enjoyed the tax modules in college and I decided at that point, that I wanted to pursue a career in Tax (as opposed to Accountancy). We completed two tax modules in second year, which gave me a really good insight into what tax was all about!

What is your education to date?

I completed a degree in the National College of Ireland. My degree was a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Accounting and HR. After college, I completed a Masters of Accounting (Macc) in Smurfit Business School. I am also a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA).

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Without a doubt, communication skills. In tax, you are constantly dealing with people, be it clients, Revenue, other overseas offices or colleagues and it is crucial that you are effectively able to communicate. In tax, we are often dealing with quite technical issues and it is necessary to be able work through these issues and present them in a manner that is meaningful and appropriate for clients.

I also would have developed good teamwork skills through the various group projects that I completed as part of my degree. Being able to work as part of a team is really important and you will reap the benefits of it as you will learn so much from working with others. I also think I learnt good general business skills / a good level of business or commercial awareness.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

I was promoted to manager in July 2014 (having started in PwC in October 2009). Without a doubt, the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification has been key to my promotions since starting in PwC.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I am a people’s person – this is really important when working with a diverse group of colleagues and a large client base.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

In work, we are actively encouraged to ensure that we achieve a good career and personal life balance. I just try to ensure that I work as efficiently as I can when I am in the office which enables me to do activities in the evenings and weekends. I am a member of a number of clubs which also helps me to get a good balance.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

I thought the job would solely be to compute an individual’s / company’s tax liability but it extends to so much more beyond that. You are not just solely a person or organisation’s tax advisor; you are a general business adviser helping them to make key business/commercial decisions.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

People skills, research skills and good analytical skills are really important.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

I qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA). It really appealed to me that it is such a well-recognised qualification and I thought that it would give me a really good base from which to build by skills and ultimately my career.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

I think they should take time to research the career so they fully understand what it involves. Take any opportunity you can to talk to people in the profession at open evenings, as part of the milk round etc. to get an insight into what it means to be a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA).

What is your current job title?

I am a Senior Tax Manager with PwC.

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