My graduate experience- Corporate tax
What is the name of your service line, which office(s) are you in, and when did you join?
I joined the Corporate Tax team in the Thames Valley and Southampton (TVS) offices in May 2018.
What does your service line do?
Broadly speaking, the Corporate Tax team deals with the tax issues that arise within companies. The work can be roughly split into tax compliance and tax advisory.
Tax compliance is helping our clients make sure that they are paying the right amount to HMRC. This is important as paying too little risks investigation and fines, whereas paying too much will have a negative impact on cash flows. It involves turning the accounting profit before tax into a taxable profit before tax by adding back expenses that are not deductible for tax purposes, and taking away extra relief. The compliance process can be split into the provisional stage, where a rough tax figure is supplied to the client and audit so they know which figure to put in their financial statements, and then the finalisation stage, where the exact tax payable figure can be worked out, post-all the year-end adjustments.
Tax advisory is helping the client to deal with the complex tax implications such as share options and company restructuring. This aspect of tax adds a lot of value to the customer as it we utilise our specialist tax knowledge and aid our clients with ensuring their tax planning is efficient, legal, and ethical.
What do you do in a typical day / week?
Most of my work involves preparing corporate tax computations for clients, which will test your time management, attention to detail, and communication skills. Communication is important as you will need to convey expectations with auditors and managers, as well as conversing with the clients to identify which of their expenses are and are not tax deductible. Typically, this will mean keeping your own records up to date, and then emailing or calling managers and clients on a timely basis.
When actually preparing the computation, you need to have attention to detail when you are analysing the expenses in the trial balance or the fixed asset notes. When doing the analysis, a strong knowledge base is needed as you’ll need to classify certain items as allowable for tax deduction, whilst others will have to be added back into the taxable profit.
What have you done in the last few days?
The past few days have been quite interesting for me as I have just come back to work after 4 weeks out, and have been catching up on some of the things that have been going on whilst I have been away. This mostly involves looking through computations that were outstanding when I left, and emailing or phoning managers.
Also, with the new joiners starting this week, I have been helping with some of the training, such as how to submit tax computations to HMRC post-finalisation. Despite being very new to the role myself, I have found this very enjoyable. You realise that you have picked things up very quickly whilst on the job and it’s rewarding to be able to pass on those skills.
Which skills do you think are most important in your stream?
I think most important skills are organisation and communication. I was given a client list quite early, and keeping on top of your clients’ needs and the deadlines associated is key to doing a good job. In order to complete the work well, you need to be in constant communication with clients, managers, and the auditors on the job as if there is a hold up in any part of the chain, the other parties need to know so they can tailor their expectations and workloads.
What kind of client contact have you had so far?
Since I have been with GT, I have been to a meeting on client site, and had the opportunity to sit in on multiple calls between managers and clients. I have even had a client call me up personally, completely out of the blue to run through some tax queries, which was unexpected and a little bit scary. Having said that, it’s the unexpected nature of the job that can make it very interesting, and pushes you to always be on the ball.
Favourite part of the job so far?
The best part of my job so far has been sending the provisional tax computations. I say this as it is very rewarding to see the weeks of hard work finally paid off. Usually, both the clients and audit are very grateful to receive the information, and your line manager will be grateful to have gotten the work out and off their plate! That is until finalisation rolls around…
Guest Blogger: Richard Shaos