Tax Partner: invest early in your career

Geoff Stein, CTA, Partner at Brown Wright Stein Lawyers, shares why he values professional development events – including the recent Women in Tax Special Budget Edition Lunch in Sydney – why practitioners need to get on top of change and advice he’s followed from the early stages of his career.
Geoff has worked as a lawyer in Sydney for over 20 years, specialising in commercial and tax law. He advises clients on tax, commercial, trust, estate planning, wealth management and ancillary legal issues.
“Today was a great lunch for Women in Tax,” he says.
“We really got down to some hard tax issues, and it was great to see that from not just a female perspective, but to talk about the general issues and to have female voices promoted.”
Investing in your own community
The Tax Institute CPD events are fantastic, and I encourage all of our staff to attend as many as we can,” he says.
“They are pitched at various different levels, and it means that there's usually something for everybody.
“I'm a regular at the National Convention, and also go regularly to the Noosa Tax Intensive. I find there’s a little bit of a step up in intensity, as you would expect at Noosa, and more focused on the particular problems in SME space.
“For our staff, the networking and mentoring that’s available is invaluable, and the fact that you’re investing in your own community. Generally, as a firm, we try and support The Tax Institute because it's about what we can do for each other, and it's a member based, member focused organisation. The more we together put into it, the more collectively we get out of it,” he explains.
Invest early and prosper
“One of the very first tips I got as a very, very young lawyer was to study a proper course of taxation and do hard subjects.
“When I was young the Institute course wasn’t available and I did my structured education through the university doing a Master’s course specialising in tax subjects.
“It has been the most valuable thing for my career and I tell others ‘invest early in your career and prosper’.”

Opportunities to develop your tax career
Geoff says being a member of The Tax Institute has played a key role in his career development.
“Some of the opportunities that The Tax Institute has helped me with in developing my career have included the opportunity to speak and present, lead workshops at Noosa, and generally to be part of a community that enables me to have access to information and peers,” he says.
Chartered Tax Advisers (CTAs), what it means is an emblem representing a quality of excellence and a dedication to a career in tax.” 
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Why tax practitioners need to get on top of change
Geoff says technological disruption and change is difficult for tax people to understand.
“Most of us like routine, and most of us like the way things have always been done, but it's very important, like any other sector of the community, that we get on top of it,” he explains.
“I find, particularly, that it's challenging because I'm a bit of a dinosaur, perhaps an anachronism in my own lifetime.
“One of the advantages that I have is having younger staff teach me, almost a reverse mentoring, how to apply the technology that's available and make the best use of it,” he says.
And his advice for new professionals?
“Learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can, and join The Tax Institute,” he says.


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