When wading through my summer internship applications, one key element I sought for before committing to applying came in the form of a simple question…where do I see this industry in 30 years’ time? After all, why would anyone settle into a career that’s inevitably going to reach a dead end in the near future?
Tax definitely raised concerns for myself, as it may do for many of you. Throughout the last two decades, technological advancements have been exponential; with alarm bells ringing in the heads of tax consultants worldwide, based around one sole issue – Automation. However, upon starting my 6 week internship in the Entrepreneurial and Private Client Tax department at Grant Thornton, I almost instantaneously realized that in fact, automation isn’t a concern at all. If anything, it’s just a catalyst for new opportunities. I thought I’d write a quick article as to why my views have changed, and hopefully encourage a lot of cautious individuals out there that a career in Tax at Grant Thornton is one that’s far from short lived…
The Tax landscape is changing. Countries’ global interdependence is continuing to grow by the day, with the reliance on updated tax legislation and advice rapidly accumulating.
Quite clearly, it hasn’t gone un-noticed that computers are much better equipped to handle the computation side of things. So where does that leave the Industry? Broadly speaking, Tax can be split into two branches, tax compliance and tax advisory. Compliance is essentially the process of reporting past transactions, whereas tax advisory involves planning for the future. Both are key to the functioning of the industry, but the latter is one thing computers just can’t handle.
Even upon receiving my Invitation to visit Grant Thornton for an Experience day, I was shocked as to how many different avenues of tax there were. From VAT, to Corporate Tax, to Real Estate Tax, there’s such a diverse array of teams, expressing just how complicated the current system is – and highlighting the need for effective tax advisors. In my opinion, the industry is shifting towards an Advisory dominated background, making it a very exciting time to be delving deeper and getting involved.
Back in 1989, Margret Thatcher introduced a Poll Tax in Scotland, England and Wales. This is a fixed tax on everyone in society. Despite being told the tax could result in people sleeping rough, she proceeded to implement it. Soon after, she lost her job. This is such a critical example as to how a uniformed individual can create political instability and economic depression, all through not receiving accurate tax advice. Grant Thornton does some great work in advising the central government on their tax policies, and through continuing to do so, are keeping the economy afloat.
The tax industry isn’t sinking, it’s evolving. The need for effective tax advisors is more crucial now than ever before, and with Brexit on the horizon, and with huge tax reforms recently in the U.S, who knows what’s to come next.
I’ve loved my short period of time here at Grant Thornton, and I’m glad I didn’t let the naïve perceptions of society stop me from putting myself out there and applying for that internship position. Keep an open mind, and you’ll be surprised of what you can achieve at the firm in such a short space of time. After all, as quoted by the great Benjamin Franklin, “In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes”.
By Harry Baker – Summer Intern