Investing in quality tax learning is a necessary part of developing the tax profession

Tax is a well-respected specialisation in the accountancy profession. In serving their clients, tax professionals in the modern world need a range of skill sets, not least excellence in the understanding and application of tax laws and regulations. 

Gordon Grant, Head of Tax Learning and Development at one of the major accounting firms in Australia, provided some insight on the need for investment in tax learning and education.

I am originally from the UK where, in my experience, people with a range of different degree disciplines (and a number without degrees) choose to join professional services firms and enter the tax profession having technical competencies developed by undertaking qualifications and training offered by professional bodies in addition to internal, employer-provided learning programs.

In Australia, where professional education in tax looks slightly different than in the UK, my experience is that the value of an internal learning program for participants can be greatly enhanced by working with professional bodies such as The Tax Institute.

Working with The Tax Institute to provide an external accreditation and independent validation of learning outcomes enhances the outcomes from participation in the tax learning and development program, which falls under my responsibility. Participants obtain the CTA2 accreditation on completion of the first part of the program, and in the second part of the program complete a pathway to CTA3 accreditation and the globally recognised Chartered Tax Adviser designation.

When it comes to formal taxation education more generally, undertaking a postgraduate degree course in tax is extremely valuable to gain deep understanding of the discipline. But again, based on my own experience, I believe people often access these degree programs early in their tax careers without having the level of ‘real-life’ experience which allows for increased benefit to be derived from undertaking such a degree program, and achieving these valuable learning outcomes in the most meaningful way possible.

As tax professionals accumulate an enhanced level of ‘on-the-job’ experience, tax learning programs such as CTA1, CTA2, CTA3 and soon the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law, provide a useful way to spend time supporting this development. Additionally, whether or not the postgraduate degree is ever undertaken, the development of a highly tuned tax technical skill set, as well as other relevant business capabilities such as effective writing, can only contribute in a positive way towards a rewarding career in today’s tax profession.

From a business owner and a client perspective, it is essential that tax professionals can demonstrate technical excellence, are able to work efficiently and accurately, and can communicate effectively with their colleagues and clients. Investing in quality tax learning and development is therefore a necessary part of developing the tax professionals of the future.

- Gordon Grant, Head of Tax Learning and Development at one of the Big Four

Enrolments for the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law subjects for Study Period 1 in 2015 are now open.However, if you want to get started in 2014 the subjects CTA1 Foundations, and CTA2A Advanced are currently open for enrolments for Study Period 3 2014. 

Find out more, and enrol, at taxinstitute.com.au/education.

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