Your career pathway

Lorcan Kelly, Tax & Finance Manager, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard

So, what did you study at college?

I studied Commerce & French in NUIG, specialising in accounting and tax. My third year was an Erasmus which I spent in Marseille. After my degree I completed a Masters in Accounting, also in NUIG.

You also did an internship, tell us about it and the benefits of it?

Yes, I did a summer internship in KPMG, Galway during college and also spent a few weeks in the tax department. This is where I saw first-hand what a tax career was like and the kind of work tax professionals do on a day to day basis. I really liked that the job was so varied, for example working on a tax computation or researching tax case law.This variety keeps the job interesting, so I realised I was fully decided on a career in tax following that summer!

Tell us about your next step?

Well, I applied to KPMG for a training contract through the "milk-round" process. This was a 3 year contract during which I completed both my AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification and ACA Chartered Accountant qualification. When I completed my training contract I was promoted to Tax Senior in KPMG.

What was it like studying for the AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification?

Well firstly, I chose the AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification as it is the most widely recognised and best regarded tax qualification in Ireland by employers. I really liked how the syllabus was so practical and relevant to my day to day job – what I was learning at lectures, I was putting in to practice! A large part was that the lecturers were very approachable and helpful. The Professional Skills Workshops were a great preparation for exams and for work also. They provided an opportunity to work on specific problems in a group environment and to learn from both the tutor and fellow students.

Tell us about your current role?

I am the sole tax professional in Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard and I report directly to the Financial Controller. I am responsible for looking after the corporate tax and VAT obligations of the company, as well as it's domestic and international tax strategy. This means I advise on all aspects of tax law and would regularly be liaising with tax and law firms and the Revenue Commissioners. It’s so encouraging to see the value that I can add to my workplace as an AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA). The tax advice I give is critical in so many business decisions and I really enjoy being part of that.

What skills do you think you need for a career in tax?

Good communication skills! Communicating effectively is critical for a tax professional and the ability to explain complex issues to a tax ‘layman’ is very important. I would also say teamwork skills are key – as a tax professional I am frequently working as part of various teams. I also find that I use my numerical and analytical skills on the projects that I work on.

What advice would you give someone who may be considering a career in tax?

I would strongly recommend a career in tax if you are thinking about it. Tax professionals are in high demand by employers and can add real value to any business. It is a challenging and rewarding career, which can place you at the heart of business decision making. It can also be an excellent springboard to other careers in finance.

Find out more by visiting the Irish Tax Institute's 'Careers in Tax' website here