Anna Holohan, Tax Manager with Deloitte
How did you decide on a career in tax?
I completed a Business and Law Degree at UCD and a Masters of Accounting at UCD Smurfit. Studying a broad degree meant that there were lots of options available. When I studied Revenue law I found that tax had a good mixture of both business and law and that appealed to me.
I found the summer internship route to be really beneficial. It gave me the opportunity to see what a role in tax involved, on a day to day basis. During the internship, I found corporation tax to be a diverse, challenging and interesting area to work in.
The law aspect of my degree equipped me with the ability to read and interpret legislation – a key skill in tax, and I also developed an analytical and questioning mind. While I often complained about the level of group projects we undertook at college, I have found the teamwork skills I learned to be an asset in working in a large corporate tax group where teamwork is part of my daily job.
Can you give us an idea what a typical day for you is like?
A typical day for me involves undertaking compliance work for clients. I prepare tax returns, draft advice for clients, and answer queries from clients. My day also 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.
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.
Can you give us an insight in to studying for your tax qualification?
I decided to pursue the Chartered Tax Advisor qualification on joining Deloitte. I had undertaken some lectures with the Irish Tax Institute as part of my Masters and found the Irish Tax Institute to be extremely well organised and professional. I knew that I would have excellent support pursuing my tax qualification.
I have found the quality of the lectures to be very high with the lectures offering interesting insights and their own experiences. I also benefited greatly from the Professional Skills Workshops and assignments. The Professional Skills assignments presented real-life scenarios whereby we had 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.
Already, I am seeing the benefits of studying for my Part 2 exams, as they have helped me develop the skill of applying the tax knowledge to real business scenarios.
What advice would you give first year students who are considering a career in tax?
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 career opportunities in your sector, both in Ireland and abroad?
There are lots of opportunities in tax and especially in corporation tax. There are so many positions available within professional services firms such as Deloitte, the Irish Revenue and in the internal tax departments of large companies. While I haven’t yet had the opportunity to work abroad, I do get to see the international aspects of tax in my job. There are plenty of opportunities to work with international businesses that are located in Ireland or have operations in Ireland.
Find out more by visiting the Irish Tax Institute's 'Careers in Tax' website here