A day in the life of a group tax accountant

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Interested in a role as a tax accountant? We spoke to group tax accountant, Ken Chan, who recently moved in-house after qualifying in practice. Find out how he’s finding the transition and what advice he would give to those looking to make it in tax.



What skills are required for your role?

Technical tax skills are clearly important, but it is just as important to be able to apply this to the business and to be able to explain things clearly to non-tax professionals.

What do you like about your role?

I like the variety of work and the different people I get to work with. I particularly enjoy the fact that there is a lot of scope for me to expand my responsibility and scope of work. For example, I really like the opportunity to get involved with particular transactions or to take charge of specific projects.

Describe a typical day

Every day is very different. But on any given day there is always a number of projects and different pieces of work that I have to look at. I might be responding to an urgent query about a transaction, liaising with our overseas finance teams to review tax returns, or carrying out technical research to determine the impact of new tax legislation on the business. Every so often, I will start the day at a breakfast seminar to keep myself updated on recent legislation changes.

Tax law around the world is constantly changing. There is always something new to learn.

Why did you choose tax as a field to work in?

I chose tax because tax law around the world is constantly changing, which means that there is always something new for me to learn about and discover. It is also a good platform to develop a wide variety of skills, including legal analysis, commercial understanding and accounting/tax concepts.

Who would be suited to working in-house?

I think that working in-house is suited for someone who is keen to apply their tax knowledge in a much more commercial way. This means that, although the work may not necessarily always be as technical or in-depth as in practice, there is a lot of scope to broaden your knowledge about other taxes as well as other parts of the business.

What advice would you give to tax professionals looking for a career at the top level?

I would say that one of the key differences between practice and the industry is that there are far more stakeholders to work with. Since leaving practice, I have realised that the best tax answer does not necessarily give the best commercial answer. It is therefore important to be aware of who the stakeholders are, what their goals are and how to work with them to achieve the best overall result for the business.

Ken Chan is a Group Tax Accountant at a leading insurance group.

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