Expert weighs in on what tax professionals need to thrive

Annette Morgan reveals why thriving in tax is much more than crunching numbers and digitisation.

Annette Morgan, Tax Clinic Director and Curtin University lecturer, and CTA1 Foundations / CTA2AAdvanced lecturer at The Tax Institute, says she has loved tax from the moment she started studying as an 18-year-old.

Since then, she has worked at a few firms in Perth and engaged in professional work for Curtin University undergraduate programs, as well as lecturing face-to-face and online for The Tax Institute.

“I just really enjoy working with students and teaching tax, which I'm still very passionate about,” she explains.

Tax: not all about crunching numbers
“I think what students really need to know is that tax is about law and it’s not just all numbers,” she says.

Annette says that when professionals compile a tax return, they need to use legislation because that is the primary source document.

But there is more to what employers want.
“The way of the future is that one degree in commerce or law is not going to be enough, you need understand the change in digitisation too,” says Annette.

“I think what professionals and firms want themselves is that they want people who are well balanced.”


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“Being the best student doesn't necessarily make you the best employee.

“There needs to be a balance with work ethics, such as working in a professional team environment and networking ability.”

The limits of digitisation

Digitisation and its effects on the tax profession has been a topical issue in the face of rising automation of tax services.

“What the tax profession has to realise is that we shouldn't be really as worried about digitisation as people think we should be because the tax profession is a service industry that services people,” explains Annette.

“You are dealing with people’s emotions or you are dealing with high income clients that need assistance.”

This requires personal skills such as creativity, understanding and customer service, which technology cannot replicate at this stage. Annette says that being work-ready as a tax professional means that there is a balanced understanding of the technical and complex aspects of the job. This
includes excelling in oral presentation and being confident when speaking and working in teams and groups.

“Working in the tax profession, you've got to think outside the box. You've got to think creatively, you've got to come up with ideas and situations that just don't follow the norm.

“Every tax payer and every client that you deal with is completely different,” adds Annette.

Remember, a successful tax practitioner is more than just a numbers person that can be replaced by technological advancement. Your true skill is the human connection. Own it.

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