Tax is a dynamic and fast paced industry which requires not only analytical ability, but excellent problem solving and commercial skills. For everything that has economic consequences, whether it is for a company, an individual or the Government - tax is relevant, as is the need for tax advisers. A career in tax has an enormous amount to offer, including variety, intellectual stimulation and an ever-changing, dynamic working environment. The complex and diverse nature of taxation means that tax advisers rapidly develop areas of specialist knowledge.
Using a tax advisor to manage your taxation affairs can be very rewarding. Professionals are much more likely to be aware of more of the ways in which your taxes can be optimised so that you pay the least possible amount. The down side is, obviously, the cost involved in employing such an advisor. This may seem a bit daunting but if you ever find yourself out of your depth, don't worry - TaxAdvisor's tax question and answer service is always on hand to back the guides up.
Tax advisers can work in compliance, ensuring a client meets all tax obligations by preparing and submitting tax returns, tax computations and any other necessary forms. Alternatively, they may work in consultancy, advising clients on how to minimise their tax liabilities.
The work of a tax adviser depends on the nature and size of the employer. Larger accountancy firms tend to adopt a structure that permits greater specialisation, whereas in smaller companies, the work may be more varied.
Initially, a graduate within a tax advisory role might focus on compliance activities, for example, completing tax returns and calculating the amount payable, with movement towards consultancy and specialisation as their career develops.
The majority of tax advisers work for professional accountancy firms, tax consultancies and practices, and the in-house tax departments of large companies. However, there are also opportunities with banks, legal firms, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and in the finance departments of large companies. Increasingly, there are opportunities with firms in commerce and industry too. Some large companies and financial institutions have their own taxation departments and employ staff with an in-depth knowledge of the market sector. These firms offer the chance for greater specialisation and rapid promotion.
Roles in smaller firms are usually more varied but less specialised. Firms in sectors such as energy, construction, the financial services, IT and media and manufacturing offer opportunities to those who are keen to work in compliance, planning or project and advisory work. There are also opportunities in the recruitment sector.
It is important to choose your accountant/tax adviser carefully. Here are a few tips to help you. If you have not used an adviser before you should be aware that anyone can call themselves an accountant/tax adviser whether or not they are professionally qualified. There are some non-qualified advisers who may have the experience to help you but qualified accountants/ tax advisers have completed relevant qualifications and will be regulated by their professional body.
Professionally qualified advisers will have achieved a qualification comprising knowledge, work experience and ethics. They keep their skills and knowledge up to date through continuing professional development and make an annual statement to their professional body that they have done so. They are also required to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance. Self-employment is an option for suitably qualified and experienced tax advisers. They usually provide a combination of tax, accountancy and financial services.
Years of Experience