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.
Anna Holohan works in the Corporate Tax department of Deloitte as a Tax Trainee. She holds a Business and Law Degree from UCD, along with a Masters of Accounting from UCD Smurfit. Within her role, she is responsible, among other things, for the corporation tax compliance for a portfolio of clients.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
I found the summer internship route to be a really beneficial milestone. It gave me the opportunity to see what a role in tax involved on a day to day basis. I was therefore able to make more of an informed decision about my future career. I also went back to my final year in college with more direction and focus as I knew what I wanted to do.
During the internship I found corporation tax to be a diverse, challenging and interesting area to work in. I discovered the wide ranging impact tax can have on businesses and the decisions they take and found this appealing. I also found that there was the potential for constant learning due to the ever changing nature of tax legislation. I knew if there was always something to learn I would be kept interested.
How did you go about getting your current job?
I began to think a career in tax would suit me so I decided to apply for a summer internship. I attended a talk about Deloitte in UCD and I was struck with the enthusiasm the speakers had for their jobs so I applied for an internship there. Both the application and interview processes were handled smoothly and professionally.
While the interviews for the professional services firms can be quite competitive, I really felt that every effort was made to make my interview less daunting, the staff in Deloitte really put me at ease. I have since discovered that this friendliness and helpful attitude exists throughout Deloitte.
Describe a typical day?
Apart from managing the compliance work for my clients, my day also generally involves some ad-hoc work such as assisting with a project, proposal or piece of advice. This work is normally undertaken as part of a team with a partner, director, manager and trainees. Most businesses differ therefore the tax advice we prepare for these businesses differs. This ensures that every day brings a new challenge and a new learning experience.
Before joining Deloitte I did wonder if I would spend my days photocopying and filing however, I have found that even as a trainee I have been given plenty of responsibility. There is no shortage of interesting work to get involved in and there is excellent support with someone always available to answer any queries or concerns I have.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
What are the main challenges?
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?
Studying a broad degree like I did meant that there were lots of different options available once I finished college. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do until I took a Revenue Law lecture. Studying Revenue Law, I found that tax had a good mixture of both business and law and therefore it appealed to me.
What is your education to date?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
My college degree offered me the skills to work in tax. The law aspect of my degree equipped me with the ability to read and interpret legislation – a key skill in tax, and also developed an analytical and questioning mind which allows me to think about solutions to problems clients have.
While I often complained about the level of group projects we undertook in the Quinn Business School in UCD, I have found the team work skills I learned to be an asset in working in a large corporate tax group where teamwork is part of my daily job.
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
Personally, I found that my own personal qualities benefitted greatly from the Professional Skills Workshops I attend as part of the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification. They are based on a real-life scenario whereby we have to apply tax knowledge to answer a client’s concerns. This skill is invaluable for my day to day job. My research skills and business writing skills were also enhanced through this process.
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
I have found that it is so important to balance my job, my study and my personal life. Deloitte encourage a healthy work life balance and I have realised this is important to me doing a good job at work. I find that by taking part in events and activities I am much more productive in work, efficient and attentive in my study and happier in general.
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
I would advise any college student considering a career in tax to undertake a summer internship or placement in a firm offering tax services. I found this an excellent way to understand what a job in tax would actually involve. Researching careers in tax online also shows the endless and exciting opportunities that a tax qualification can offer. I have found the more I have learned about tax, the more I understand how varied roles in tax can be.
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?
I decided to pursue the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification on joining Deloitte. I had undertaken some lectures with the Irish Tax Institute as part of my Masters in Smurfit and found them to be extremely well organised and professional. I knew that I would have excellent support pursuing my tax qualification.
Deloitte have really supported me in pursuing the CTA qualification. They offered me paid study leave for my exams and in house training sessions which made the experience of sitting my first set of exams as stress free as possible.
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?