Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Anna Holohan from Irish Tax Institute to give some advice for people considering this job:


Anna Holohan

Tax Trainee

Irish Tax Institute

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  Anna Holohan
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.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Sarah Cahill on Promotion to Assistant Principal

"I find the flexible working hours and family friendly environment invaluable as I have a young family."Sarah Cahill, Promotion to Assistant Principal. 

I currently work as an Administrative Officer in the Investigation and Prosecutions Division of the Revenue Commissioners. My background was in Finance; I obtained a B.Sc. in Management & Marketing from Dublin Institute of Technology and then chose to pursue the Chartered Tax Adviser qualification from the Irish Taxation Institute.

I worked in a number of small to medium sized accountancy firms during my tax training and post qualification period. I joined Revenue in 2010 and my work consists of the management of project based investigations where substantial tax risk has been identified. This position has required me to have specialist tax knowledge and has allowed me to further develop my management, interpersonal and negotiation skills.

I have also gained valuable experience and familiarity with the tax appeals and legal process through working with the Revenue Solicitor’s office and Senior Counsel in relation to numerous appeals and High Court Judicial Review.

The main factor that drew me to a career in the Civil Service was the opportunity for progression and advancement available within a large organisation. I also find the flexible working hours and family friendly environment invaluable as I have a young family.


Shortly after I completed my bio for I was promoted to the position of Assistant Principal. Having first entered the Civil Service four years ago as an Administrative Officer I was delighted to have achieved this next step in progression within that time.

In gaining promotion to the next level I had to show the selection panel that I had the qualities, skills and attributes of each competency through discussing my role and approach on projects and key pieces of work over the previous 2 – 3 years.

I made a point of always ensuring my performance goals at the beginning of each year were informed by competencies for Assistant Principal so that each project and task I worked on helped me to develop and improve my skills in a focused way.

I approached my managers about gaining more experience and was interested and willing to take on new and different projects and tasks. It was also important to effectively demonstrate the skills I had to enable me gain the opportunity to improve and acquire new ones. I also sought out opportunities to get involved in working groups and committees to increase my knowledge of the business and to make new acquaintances across other areas of the Department.

While I have now been promoted to the position of Assistant Principal I am currently awaiting assignment to my new post. I am looking forward to moving to a new area and expanding my experience in a different area of the business. 

Article by: Sarah Cahill