Robert Campbell, CTA, on saving marriages and more

Yes, you read right. Here is a glimpse into how a tax professional does exactly that.

Robert Campbell, CTA, and Director at McCleod, Campbell & Associates, started his career in an undergraduate position at a small suburban accounting firm in Parramatta, which gave him a broad introduction to many aspects of the accounting practice.

He then gravitated towards tax and went on to work with EY in their tax consulting division.

“I loved learning about the tax rules and understanding more about them, and I would teach myself through the master tax guide,” he says.

Robert says his biggest achievements include working in tax for 20 years and setting up his own practice in that time.

“This is because I set it up from scratch,” he explains.

“I didn't buy a business or take over someone's feed-base, I set it up from  nothing.”

Interestingly, Robert says he keeps a low profile.

“I work strictly off referrals,” he explains.

“My business is strictly referral driven. There's never a week that goes by that I don't pick up something new. And that's driven by what I do for my clients and how I look after them.

“It's about working with clients and solving their problems, helping them through the tax system, and helping them, even if they're non-tax issues.

“That's where my passion lies, it's helping people.”

Robert says he takes pride in helping his clients, in a different way to medical professionals.

“I'll never be able to do something incredible like saving a life, but I could help someone save their house when they're in trouble.

“And I have done that, and that in itself can save marriages and keep families together. So, in my own way, I perform my role in helping people”.

Why tax education is “vital”

Robert says he was very lucky to have an incredible teacher at EY, in Scott Treatt (now at the ATO).

“He was my manager when I started working in tax, and he taught me how to read legislation, how to analyse and how to think outside the box,” he says.

“And that's where I see tax education as being vital. It's really hard to learn yourself, you need guidance and education to fill that void.

“The Tax Institute provides a structured system with high-quality materials, but also high-quality presenters and teachers.”

Robert's main subjects he is teaching at the moment is CTA2A Advanced and CTA3 Advisory3 at The Tax Institute.

“It’s really where everything gets brought together,” explains Robert.

“Not just understanding the legislative regime and the administrative regime, but bringing it together into real-life practical scenarios, and going through brainstorming thinking outside-the-box process to actually deliver a solution for your client.”

No such thing as no solution

Tax professionals are always solving complex tax issues on a daily basis. So what is Robert’s take?

“The first thing is, there's no such thing as 'no', in my opinion,” he says.

“The door is never shut, there's always an option there, we just mightn't have thought of it yet.

“So working in tax is really about delving through and thinking objectively and thinking outside the box to work out, what can we do?”

However, he does admit that there are limitations because there are rules in place that also need to be followed. Robert says it might not be the most optimal solution but there's never a scenario where there's no solution. 

“Next thing would be; never accept that there's only ever one way to do something,” he continues.

“There's always going to be an alternative, there's no one perfect structure.

“There are lots of different alternatives with structuring and we have to decide which ones best in one particular circumstance over another.”

So there you have it. Not all heroes wear capes. Some are tax professionals helping people every day by not taking no for an answer.


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