3 ways to make an impact in tax

The Tax Institute expert Rae Ni Corraidh, CTA, shares her tips and tricks for success in tax.

Rae Ni Corraidh, CTA, is a tax adviser at the Knowledge Shop; an external advisory resource for firms that may not have their own tax expertise.

After working at big four companies for ten years in a specialist role, Rae moved to mid-tier firms in order to develop a broader range of tax skills, where she worked for another ten years. She has also been involved in teaching all of the core subjects of structured education programs at The Tax Institute over the last decade.

“Here I get to talk about tax all day long and not have to do time sheets. That's the fun part,” she laughs.

A highly experienced tax professional and teacher of tax, Rae has three tips for making an impact:

1. Keep abreast of change

“You have to invest the time in your own learning and in being aware of what's happening in tax,” says Rae.

“Whether you subscribe to tax updates or you log onto the Australian Treasury website on a regular basis, just find what works for you.

“It’s also about talking to your peers about areas that they might be interested in. For example, somebody who doesn't deal with Division 7A often may be aware of the proposed changes to those provisions but not the specific details of the proposals.

“If you want to keep abreast of what's going on, you need to invest the time in finding out what the proposed changes are.

“This results in a lively debate regarding tax changes, regardless of whether you agree with them or not,” she explains.

2. Develop your skills

Rae says the importance of lifelong learning for a tax professional cannot be underestimated.

“The one thing I can guarantee about a career in tax is that you will never stop learning, and that's part of why it makes such an interesting profession to work in,” says Rae.

“It's always changing, you're always learning and as a result you can always help others learn as well.

“One of the big advantages of The Tax Institute’s structured education program is that the course materials are updated several times a year.”
If there are shifts in the way legislation is interpreted, or there might be new legislation announced, or finalised; the course materials are updated for the next study period. This way, candidates can be certain that what they're learning is current and not out of date. Current and proposed changes are always incorporated.

Whether it is formal training like structured education, in-house training, or choosing a particular area of tax as a learning objective to specialise in, Rae says tax professionals need to find the level or support structure that works best. She says practitioners should never be afraid to try something new or different.

3. Put your hand up to specialise

Rae says that one challenge that helped her springboard to success was making sure she was willing to increase her knowledge and skills in new technical areas and share the information within an organisation or group. She says this was so she could keep moving toward becoming a subject matter expert. 

“An example is recognising an area of tax that is changing a lot, putting your hand up to take responsibility to keep on top of all the proposed changes and distributing summaries when there is a legislative change or new ATO guidance such as a draft ruling issued on the topic.

But she also advises practitioners to network with people in that area of specialisation – it is worth investing the time to meet with them for a cup of coffee to discuss their thoughts and share knowledge. 

“If you’re interested in a particular area, you get to know who works in that area over time,” she points out.

“And if you don't ask, you don't get. If you do ask you might not have a 100% success rate but it will certainly be more than 0%.

“It’s about taking a chance, because if you don't take a chance you won’t learn, develop and grow,” she adds.

Find out more about the benefits structured education with The Tax Institute can deliver for your career.


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