Expert says: if you don’t want to learn, “you’ll have problems in tax”

“Cannot do without”: why education is a must-have for a tax practitioner.

Andy Milidoni, CTA, Partner at Johnson Winter & Slattery and CTA3 Advisory lecturer at The Tax Institute, has been practicing tax for almost 20 years across all aspects of revenue, law and trusts; including indirect and direct taxes, GST, stamp duty, land taxes, as well as income tax and international tax.

“So my practice in tax is quite broad,” he says.

“I cover a lot, and that can be quite difficult sometimes, but it's something that I enjoy doing.”
Andy has also been involved in teaching corporate tax, trusts and small business concessions and GST for the CTA 3 Advisory subject. He has also lectured for the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law program coming up to three years.

“I started off by writing some of the practical problem questions and answers, and then I moved into leading sessions and also correcting some of the exam papers,” he adds.

Andy says continuing education is a must-have for all tax professionals.


To keep up with an evolving profession

“I think the market has changed quite a bit in tax. What I'm seeing is that people are expected to know more areas of tax,” explains Andy.

“Once upon a time you could guide practitioners down the direct and indirect tax route.

“To some degree that still exists, but I'm finding that a lot of practitioners in different sized firms now really need to have an overview and an overall approach to tax, and be able to spot problems and identify issues.”

He says working in tax is an evolving career and that professionals should never give up, but also come to the job with a very high commitment and appetite to learn.

“I think if you don't want to learn, then I think you'll have a lot of problems in tax,” Andy advises.

But it is an evolving profession, and you only ever get better if you maintain your attitude to keep learning, to keep skilling up, being curious about broader decisions impacting business and always trying to deliver the best result for your client.

“If you keep those at the forefront of your practice, then I think you will be successful and you'll enjoy the work you do.

“No one pretends that it's easy work. It is a very hard area to be practicing in, but at the same time I think that it's a very rewarding one,” he adds.

It’s the only way to give the best advice
Apart from keeping up with the ongoing changes that shape the tax profession, such as digitisation, political influences and regulatory changes, Andy says education is “enormously important” for tax practitioners.

“I've been in this profession now coming up to 20 years, and I haven't taken my foot off the accelerator when it comes to getting involved.

“You'd be doing a disservice to your clients if you didn't keep your professional development going.

“I think continuous professional development is something that a tax practitioner cannot do without.

“Whether that's formal training, attending conferences or presenting and writing for conferences, it's something that just never stops.”

Andy says tax is unique in that there is no limit to that knowledge.

“We never get close to knowing everything,” he adds.

“Even the most prestigious of all tax practitioners out there with great reputations, they too are also on this professional development bandwagon.

“You never really get off it.”

Take it from a practicing Partner in tax – education is a non-negotiable for a successful tax career.

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