Tax Diaries – A second year associate’s insight

The recruiting season is coming to an end here at Grant Thornton. Congratulations to all of you who have accepted graduate offers and will be joining us in September, and we’re also looking forward to welcoming interns on July 5th in London for the Intern conference.

This is a good time to give an update on what I am up to, and an insight into being in your second year in tax. Just as a reminder, I joined the graduate scheme in September 2014 in the Real Estate tax team in London. I’m part of a large group of previous interns who accepted offers to join the graduate scheme.

Second year is a big step up in terms of responsibility, workload and making connections. Let me give you an idea of my diary over the last few weeks……

Mid-April I went back to college for the next stage of professional exams (ACA) for Business Planning Tax. Studying Accounting and Financial Management at the University of Surrey meant that I took a few exemptions including two at professional level, so not as much pressure this time as when I sat the last three exams at the same time back in December (glad to say I passed!). This time I was in a new class with a mixture of firms. Personally, I like this as I’ve made new friends from different firms where we can share our experiences and network.

The next week was a mixture of working from home, at a client or in the office. Compliance season for tax provisioning is kicking off. Auditors require the accounts to include a deferred tax figure and, therefore, we have to prepare the tax returns using draft audit figures followed by the deferred tax calculations for each entity. I spent a day with the auditors on site obtaining information needed for the tax analysis. An additional complication this this year is the transition from UK GAAP to IFRS, requiring both audit and tax adjustments and extra time to allow for this. This is definitely one of my most complicated and demanding clients, needing as to work very hard as a team to get everything done by our deadlines.

That weekend I participated in the Ladies Real Tennis Internationals. The top 8 available players in the world are invited to compete against each other for the title. Grant Thornton are brilliant at recognising that people have passions outside of work and support you in your ambitions. I recently returned from a tournament out in Melbourne and, in April, I played in the British Open where I worked flexible hours to accommodate my matches. I was also very excited to find out that the World Championship is being played at Tuxedo Park, outside New York, next year!

Back at work and I’m still working on the same client for tax compliance. A query comes in regarding bonuses that have been missed off payroll. I set up a call with a specialist from our employer solutions team and join them that same day. We then have our monthly team meeting which covers off new client wins and work in the pipeline with an update on our billing position.

Completion is on-site for the tax provisioning work which we started a few weeks ago. I am tasked with doing the tax consolidation which is a fairly tricky task for a second year. When starting a task, I usually look at the prior year’s work performed to see what was done and if I can follow the same thought process. To break this up, I am working on a tax advisory piece regarding a Eurobond restructure for an offshore company owning property in the UK. I’ve been involved since the beginning when the client first approached us and I am the main contact for the client and lawyers. So far, I’ve completed the initial work to get the go ahead that they can list on the stock exchange. Currently, we are putting our contracts in place and then next week I will be writing the tax report.

I took a couple of study days at the beginning of this week so it’s already Thursday. Some more tax compliance is kicking off for the largest group I work on and I have drafted in help from one of our first year graduates and had a catch-up call with the client. More ad-hoc queries have come through, one involving terminal loss relief (when a business ceases to trade and how the client can use their losses). The other involves derivatives and their tax impacts. Both of these areas I recently covered in college for my exam. It definitely shows how the ACA relates to the work you do in the job.

As you can see, my diary is never set in stone, making tax a great service line in which to work. It involves daily collaboration with other teams to meet clients’ needs which makes networking vital. It also features a responsibility to meet deadlines and balancing workload with your other ambitions in life.

After I have got my June exams out the way, I’m looking forward to a summer holiday, more tennis and the possibility of a secondment to Australia next year!

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