Dux graduate on how transitioning careers helped her climb the ranks

Hannah Edwards
Hannah Edwards reveals how study helped her change careers and progress quickly in her firm.

There is a myriad of reasons why people change careers. Companies downsize. Career development prospects peter out. Managers change. But for many, it is simply the decision to find a career that they are truly passionate about.

In an article by Forbes, it states by age 35, about 25% of employees would have worked in five jobs. Most employees choose new companies with the view to find a better fit for their career development. Professional services, government, non-profit, education, media and entertainment industries had the most job hoppers within five years of university graduation.

Originally from the UK, Hannah had nine years' predominantly audit experience before she felt it was time for a change.  She gained her Chartered Accountant qualification whilst working at a small accounting practice in Manchester before moving to Australia.

“I worked as an auditor in Darwin for a year, then in Brisbane as an Audit Manager working on large OMBs and listed clients,” says Hannah.

She then moved to Coffs Harbour last year where she now works as an Audit & Tax Manager at HQB Chartered Accountants.

“I decided to change my career path and increase my tax focus as I wanted a new challenge and more rounded knowledge to provide clients extra assistance both at year end and in the day to day running of their businesses,” she continues.

“I wanted to work with my clients rather than for them, which can sometimes be the case when auditing (very few people like the auditor!) and I felt getting more involved in tax and superannuation was a way to do this. 

“I still get involved in audits but do these 30% of the time rather than for the whole year, which means I still keep on top of accounting standards, again enabling me to help clients with their accounting and bookkeeping,” she adds.

As for the transition, Hannah says it was fairly straightforward.

“I managed to pick up preparing basic tax returns quite easily,” she says. 

“The challenge was being able to spot any transactions, or potential tax implications, that are outside the ordinary. 

“This is where the CTA1 Foundations subject really helped me to start cementing and improving my tax knowledge and I believe the Tax Agent Program has help me continue down this path.

“Having experience in both audit and tax, I believe I am much more able to assist my clients with tax, corporate compliance and accounting standard requirements,” she adds.

Practical, relevant learning

Hannah’s background is almost purely auditing, so she needed to find an education program that gave her a solid overview of tax and superannuation. She enrolled in the CTA2A Advanced subject to strengthen and build that knowledge.

“Almost all aspects of the CTA2A Advanced subject were very relevant to my day-to-day job,” says Hannah. 

“I can put into practice most of the things I learned which has really helped to reinforce my understanding of core tax issues and how to apply it in the profession.

“I feel a lot more confident dealing with tax and superannuation matters, and it has provided a good starting point for me to research any complicated tax matters that I can then apply specifically to a client.”

Climbing the ranks

Hannah says study with The Tax Institute has been a great benefit to her career.

“I had very little experience working in tax and no experience in superannuation. The Tax Institute has really helped me to build a foundation in these areas and to progress quickly in my new firm,” she says.

Where to next for Hannah?

She is going to complete the next subject in the Chartered Tax Adviser Program, which will build on her core tax knowledge, develop her client advice-giving skills so that she can manage more complex tax compliance affairs, and will bring her one step closer to achieving the distinguished CTA designation.

I have already signed up for CTA2B Advanced and look forward to seeing what more I can learn from this and how I can apply what I learn to help my clients,” she says.


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