One of the great things about a career in tax is that it gives you choice.
For tax advisors, there is only one option - the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification. The Irish Tax Institue's Tax Technician qualification is a practical, flexible, modular programme covering the fundamentals of all areas of tax.
This is a sector where you never stop learning - legislation changes such as the Budget each year, to changes in EU law, can change key aspects of tax system affecting different clients in various ways. A CTA must always be up to speed on such changes.
Once you have decided that you are interested in a career in tax, you can still successfully qualify with our Tax Technician, Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) or our Diploma in Tax qualifications.
Caroline Austin works as a Senior Associate Solicitor with Matheson. Her role involves advising on tax planning and corporate restructuring at a national and international level. Caroline studied law at Trinity College Dublin and is a qualified solicitor and a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA).
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
Overall my law degree equipped me with the fundamental skills that I now use on a day to day basis in my role as a Senior Associate Solicitor and these skills are transferable into many different career paths, so it was a good undergraduate degree choice. Also qualifying as a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) has been essential in equipping me with the necessary skills to meet the needs of my clients and to help me to succeed in my career.
How did you go about getting your current job?
After I passed all of the eight FE1s (solicitor exams) and received a first class honours in my Masters, the next step was to apply for a traineeship. I applied to a number of graduate programmes and was delighted to be accepted by Matheson for a traineeship. I was extremely impressed by the broad range of practice areas offered by Matheson, which include a dedicated International Tax group and its dedication to its training programme.
Describe a typical day?
No two days are the same! Matheson’s Tax department is involved in many types of complex transactions, working with international clients to add value to their businesses and as tax law is continually evolving, I am always learning and I am fortunate to be part of a team that encourages me to keep progressing to be the best I can be.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
What are the main challenges?
It was certainly a challenge to balance studying for a professional qualification and work full time, however, the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) programme offered by the Irish Tax Institute caters for this challenge by providing weekend lectures and electronic access to materials. In particular, the professional skills workshop offered the opportunity to discuss and solve real-life tax problems that I could then apply in my day to day work.
Tax advice is always relevant to companies, whether they are restructuring in a downturn or growing and diversifying in times of expansion. It is an exciting, dynamic and deadline-driven environment that requires you as an adviser to stay up to date on the latest developments. The Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification has been essential in equipping me with the necessary skills to meet the needs of my clients and to help me to succeed in my career.
What's not so cool?
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
Each year as I progressed through the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification, I was able to put the knowledge I had gained to practical application in my role in the tax department. In particular, the business tax modules were extremely relevant to my day to day work in Matheson. Even while studying, I felt I was making a positive contribution to the work of the tax department.
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
What is your education to date?
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
The solicitor trainee programme is a two-year programme involving attendance at the PPCI and PPCII courses at the Law Society and working in a number of different departments in Matheson. I spent one of my trainee rotations in the Matheson Tax department, which is by far the largest tax group amongst Irish law firms.
During the course of this rotation, I worked side by side with partners and solicitors in the department as a member of the team and gained invaluable insight on the day-to-day work carried out in the tax department. Having already studied tax law in college and completed my trainee rotation in Matheson’s tax department, I was able to use this knowledge as grounding for the AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) exams.
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
In my first year as a qualified solicitor, I started my studies for the AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification with the Irish Tax Institute. Both in Matheson tax department and the tax industry as a whole, the AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification is considered an essential qualification to obtain and I knew it would provide me with a further opportunity to enhance my knowledge and skills.
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?