One of the great things about a career in tax is that it gives you choice.
For tax advisors, there is only one option - the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification. The Irish Tax Institue's Tax Technician qualification is a practical, flexible, modular programme covering the fundamentals of all areas of tax.
This is a sector where you never stop learning - legislation changes such as the Budget each year, to changes in EU law, can change key aspects of tax system affecting different clients in various ways. A CTA must always be up to speed on such changes.
Once you have decided that you are interested in a career in tax, you can still successfully qualify with our Tax Technician, Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) or our Diploma in Tax qualifications.
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).
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?
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.
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?
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
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?
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?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
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?
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?