Claire, what did you study at college?
I studied Accounting & Finance in Dublin City University (DCU).
Although my degree covered a lot of areas from audit and accounting to maths, tax and law; the tax subjects were always my favourite. I was first introduced to tax in the second year of my degree by way of a Personal Tax module. In my final year, I also studied Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax. I really enjoyed studying tax and found it fascinating and diverse. I quickly decided that I was interested in pursuing a career in tax.
I trained in the tax department of a Big 4 company having successfully gained a traineeship through the graduate recruitment process. During the “milk round”, I applied to a number of firms and completed the lengthy application forms! It was clear to me at this stage that I wanted to work in tax and I only applied for tax positions.
At the end of this process, I was lucky enough to have been offered a tax traineeship. As I wasn’t ready to enter the “real world” just yet, I deferred my entry and spent an amazing year travelling the world after college!
Having joined Mazars as a Tax Senior, I was promoted to Assistant Manager within a year and then to Manager and Director in quick succession. In Mazars, being a fully qualified Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) is a requirement for promotion. As the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification is so highly regarded, it is felt that being fully qualified provides you with the technical knowledge required to progress within your career.
I have to say that in tax no two days are the same. As a Director, I am responsible for a diverse portfolio of clients from a wide range of industries that I manage on a daily basis. I would typically be working on consultancy projects including research and development tax credits, withholding tax issues, group reorganisations, expansion into new jurisdictions and revenue audits. My work would also typically involve meetings with the tax team and our clients, conference calls and e-mails. I love the range and diversity of the work I am involved in.
It is the dynamic nature of tax that appeals to me. The fact that tax legislation is constantly changing and that there are a variety of different tax heads means that working in tax offers a varied, exciting and challenging career. I enjoy interpreting and applying tax legislation to different client scenarios in order to develop specific strategies and solutions to achieve their desired outcomes.
What is also important to me is the interaction with people. I really enjoy working as part of a team, and have made some wonderful friends since I started my career.
I chose to sit the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) exams as it is the most recognised tax qualification in Ireland and I knew that this qualification would open up a number of career opportunities for me.
Although balancing work, study and my personal life was difficult, the Irish Tax Institute and Mazars provided the support and assistance necessary to ensure that I was adequately prepared for each set of exams. As part of a large intake, a number of my colleagues were also sitting the exams at the same time, which meant that we could also rely on each other for additional support.
In addition to the excellent Irish Tax Institute lecturers, who were always open to answering questions, I found that the smaller Professional Skills Workshops which were similar to a tutorial, along with the assignment of a mentor, particularly helpful. This meant that if you had any specific issues or required advice; I had a direct point of contact, which was really useful for the home assignments.
I really felt that the technical knowledge I gained throughout my studies with the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification, along with the research skills and the ability to interpret tax legislation, was of great benefit and relevance to my daily work. I could immediately apply the theoretical information I learned to client scenarios.