Secrets to Success

Desmond Lee, Tax Associate, Deloitte Singapore 

Degree and University: Bachelor of Accountancy, Singapore Management University (SMU)

Designation/Function: Tax Associate, Business Tax

Year that you joined Deloitte: 2015

Hobbies: Jogging and watching movies


Deloitte and you

Q. What is your role at Deloitte?

I am a Tax Associate in the business tax group. This role provides me the opportunity to manage a large portfolio of clients from various industries. The main part of my job involves advising my clients on Singapore tax matters and assisting them with their tax compliance concerns. Beyond that, there are many ongoing office projects that bring an added challenge to my job, and this means that I will never have a dull day at the office!

Q. Three Internships at Deloitte? Tell us more!

I had the rare opportunity to take on three internships with Deloitte as a student – once for my Diploma, and twice when I was in university. These internships gave me a deeper understanding of the various functions at Deloitte and have allowed me to forge many friendships along the way.

To this day, I still find myself bumping into a friendly colleague whom I have had the chance to work with years ago during my internships.

Q. How have the internships benefitted you?

Apart from the fun aspects of an internship, my numerous internships have always allowed me to put into practice the concepts learnt in school.

Also, they serve as a great eye-opener for me as I am still amazed by what I learn every day during my internships. For example, despite the tax classes at school, my tax internship revealed how tax is not only confined to personal and corporate income tax, but it also encompasses many other inter-connected areas such as transfer pricing and GST.

In addition, these internships gave me exposure to other areas of business tax that were not covered in-depth in school.

Your advice to undergraduates

Q. What advice will you offer undergraduates who want to pursue a career in Tax?

As tax is a rather technical subject, I will recommend students to take a pro-active approach in your learning as this will help you learn the ropes faster. Also, stay hungry and take on opportunities that allow you to learn new things and you will find tax to be very enjoyable as there are always new concepts and developments that will keep the day-to-day work interesting.

Q. What advice will you offer to undergraduates about taking on internships, and how will internships benefit them?

I strongly believe that each internship is unique as they present you with different opportunities to work with different people, and they may eventually become your close friends! Also, internships offer a good opportunity to get an idea of what the job entails. As such, I always try to secure an internship during my long summer term breaks to make the most out of our school vacations.

If you are uncertain about what you want to pursue as a career, I strongly recommend taking on different internships to gain a good understanding of the industry and scope of work offered. Always be mindful that the roles that suit your peers may not always be your cup of tea.

Your Deloitte experience

Q. What do you like about Deloitte?

I would definitely attribute it to the friendly culture at Deloitte and the scope of work!

I joined Deloitte full-time in January 2016 upon graduation and was assigned a buddy to show me the ropes. During my first few weeks at work, my buddy will always check in on me to see if I was coping well. He also wasted no time to introduce me to everyone in the group and I was warmly welcomed by my colleagues to join them for lunch and other fun gatherings. My colleagues soon became my good friends – always there to help one another. We also participated in different company activities together such as the annual JP Morgan run, Deloitte’s annual Dinner & Dance as well as the annual family day Carnival.

My managers are amiable and caring, constantly making sure we are coping well with our current portfolios. Besides that, they are always ready to impart their knowledge and guided me along whenever I needed help for my projects.

All in all, my colleagues, approachable managers, the friendly culture that provided me with many opportunities to learn and grow, all come together to provide an ideal work environment and I look forward to coming to work every day.

Q. What are some of your happiest moments at work?

I had my first taste of the peak period at the end of 2016. It was a really stressful period as we had a corporate tax filing deadline to meet. Despite the hectic work days and late nights, the happiest times were the times when I get to have a meal with my colleagues. While our lunch and dinner breaks were short, it was always enjoyable as we could share our troubles with one another and occasionally share a laugh or two over random things.

Throughout the year, I find myself not only occupied with work, but also happily participating in numerous gatherings and activities with my colleagues. Recently, my group had a teambuilding activity and we went to East Coast Park to cycle and participated in friendly mini challenges. We ended the day with a delicious BBQ and we stayed till late evening chatting and cracking jokes. Even though the sky was gloomy and there was a heavy downpour earlier in the morning, the weather failed to dampen our spirits and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

Personally, I find such bonding activities as a group to be most memorable as it allows us to take our minds off work and do something fun outside the office. Through such activities, we are able to better understand one another and become better colleagues at work.

Q. What can a new hire look forward to at Deloitte?

The best part of working at Deloitte is the number of activities that the firm has throughout the year! During my first year at Deloitte, I joined the tax department’s running and futsal teams during the inter-departmental games. I also had the opportunity to be part of the organising committee for my department’s annual teambuilding event. At Deloitte, we work hard and play harder.

D.cisions is our quarterly magazine which provides undergraduates with tips, advice and success stories to help them take their first crucial step in making the right choice for themselves, in terms of choosing their employer - one where they will fit in and aligned to their values, interests and priorities.

Click here to download this issue: D.cisions issue 8

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