Daryl, can you tell us about your college background?
Yes, I completed a Bachelor of Commerce (International - German) undergraduate degree in UCD and then completed a Master of Accounting in the UCD Smurfit School of Business.
My undergraduate degree had plenty of team projects, presentations and other continuous assessment work. While I may not have appreciated many of the benefits at the time, the skills I learned, such as project management, teamwork and presentation skills, are ones which are really helpful in my current career in tax.
I always had an interest in business in general throughout secondary school and accounting was a particular favourite subject of mine. I had some exposure to law as a subject in both secondary school and university and I saw tax as the perfect combination of both disciplines.
Back in the day before Deloitte had formal tax internships, I just walked into their offices in Dublin and asked to speak to someone in HR. Given that I was 19 at the time, it’s quite surprising in hindsight that someone came down to talk with me, let alone offer me an internship! After the internship, I was offered a training contract which I accepted.
Once you join the tax department in Deloitte, you are encouraged to complete your professional qualifications in both tax and accounting. The high esteem with which the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification is held in industry really determined my choice to pursue this qualification.
I found the lectures to be of a high standard and attendance was the key to my exam approach. Deloitte provides excellent study leave in the weeks leading up the exams, and this period allowed me to recap the topics covered.
I felt the Irish Tax Institute were very responsive to any issues that arose and treated us as professionals, rather than students, throughout my studies. This is a subtle but important difference and something which I remain appreciative of to this day.
Well, I am an Tax Partner in Deloitte.
The great thing about a career in tax is that there is no typical day. I might be identifying tax technical solutions for a client problem. I could be speaking at a client conference discussing the tax benefits of Ireland. I could be providing training to my colleagues or even at an Irish Tax Institute course! The variety of the work is one of the most attractive things to me about a career in tax.
I have worked abroad twice as part of the Deloitte network – 18 months in our Belfast office and 2 years in our New York office leading our Irish international desk. Both were great experiences in their own respective ways – using your qualification to explore different cultures, meet new friends and expand your global Deloitte network.
I suppose the biggest challenge is always ensuring you settle in to the work environment as quickly as possible and allowing yourself to enjoy the experience of living and working in another city. The fact that I had studied in Germany as part of my college degree assisted greatly in knowing what to expect from working abroad.
The career opportunities are typically excellent and varied in nature. I have former colleagues who are working across the globe and in a variety of industries. Remember that taxes are one of the two certainties in life, and where there is tax; there is a need for a tax adviser!