Life at Deloitte
Senior Associate, Tax - International Assignment Services, London
I studied Accounting and Finance at The University of Manchester and always knew that I wanted to join one of the ‘Big 4’ firms when I graduated. I decided that Deloitte was the firm I wanted to work for when I attended a University undergraduate networking event in my second year of university. All of the Deloitte employees at the event were so friendly and approachable and the presentation about the firm was very impressive – it was at the time that Deloitte were working as the professional services provider for London Olympic Games so it was very interesting to learn about their role in the Games and the impact they made. Throughout the application process I always came into contact with equally friendly people so when it came to me selecting a firm to work for Deloitte stood out and I was happy to accept the job offer.
I currently sit in the Energy and Resources (E&R) team within our International Assignment Services (IAS) practice, a department within Tax in London. We advise on the UK tax implications of expatriates going on assignments overseas or coming to the UK on assignments. I have been at Deloitte for 18 months since joining as a graduate. In London IAS there is a graduate rotation programme so I have spent my first 18 months rotating around different departments of the business which has been great to learn about our different propositions, work with different teams, broaden my skills and build my internal network.
I have also been fortunate enough to go on a 3 month client secondment after only being at the firm for a little over a year. I was seconded to one of our new clients, a large oil and gas company, to assist with the transition over from one of the other Big 4 firms, primarily supporting the client’s international mobility team with the transition from their side. This was a great opportunity as it allowed me to gain extensive knowledge of the client’s policies and decision making processes which has been invaluable for the wider team and me during the transition and the next phase of the engagement. I was also able to build personal networks with the client and learn about other aspects of working there e.g. culture, hierarchies, performance cycle, rotation opportunities and corporate structures.
During my first 18 months at Deloitte I have also completed my ATT exams. In IAS London we take a 9-week block of time away from work which allows us to focus on college and exams and hopefully complete all exams in one go. Although this was hard work there was a wealth of support available from the tutors at college as well as internally at Deloitte and completing all of the exams in 9 weeks was a great achievement and really helped me to establish a technical knowledge base that I can build on now that I am back working in the office. I am now studying towards my CTA qualification, due to take my first exam in May this year.
In terms of the next steps in my career, I have recently been asked to go on a second secondment to the same oil and gas company which I will start in the next few days and this will be another great opportunity for me as it will allow me to really contribute to ensuring that our first compliance year with this client is successful by aligning the priorities and objectives of both the client and Deloitte and finding ways that we can improve our service.
What work do you get involved in on a day to day basis?
My first 18 months at Deloitte have been extremely varied due to my rotations around the business and my secondment. Since I have returned from my secondment I have been very involved in the global set up of our client ensuring that all of our local countries have everything ready to begin their compliance seasons. I have also been holding assignee briefings where we discuss with individuals the UK tax implications of their assignments. Much of my day is spent applying my technical knowledge to complex queries that we receive from assignees as well as being a main point of contact for the client and other local Deloitte offices. I also help to manage our teams in Cardiff and Hyderabad who assist us with lots of our administrative tasks ensuring that all of their queries are answered and they are completing tasks within deadlines.
What do you like most about the office and region that you work in?
My favourite thing about working in the London office is the team that I work with. Everybody from Secretary to Partner is very approachable and supportive and I always feel comfortable to ask questions about anything I am unsure of. I have been given lots of responsibility very early on and been provided with ample opportunities and variety at the start of my career.
I also enjoy the social side of working in our office. We have a summer party, Christmas party, 31 January drinks as well various ad hoc social events within E&R, my engagement team, with our clients and with my graduate intake. We also have ‘Thirsty Thursday’ drinks on the last Thursday of every month where the whole team get together.
London is a great place to work as being one of the financial centres of the world it gives you access to some of the biggest, most interesting clients. There is also an abundance of restaurants, bars, gig venues, museums and theatres to ensure that there is always something to do outside of work.
Why your industry?
I decided on a career in tax when I was studying towards my A-Levels, two of which were Maths and Law. I really enjoyed both of these subjects and decided that tax was a good combination of the two as it is legislation but also involves numbers and calculations. When choosing an area of tax I was always interested in the taxation of individuals and in particular individuals moving from country to country as this allows me to work with Deloitte offices all over the world and there also are opportunities for international secondment which many of our team have taken advantage of.
What is your top tip for working in your industry?
My top tip is to build good relationships within your team. In our industry we work with our teams all day every day and your team are the people who can help you with any issues, support you with any directions you wish to take in your career and flag up any potential landmines, so I believe having a good relationship with them all is key for a happy and successful career in this industry.
Which personality traits or skills aid success in your industry?
I think the top five would be:
Communication and Teamwork: being able to express ideas clearly and work confidently in a team
Self-Motivation: act on initiative, be proactive in identifying opportunities, ideas and solutions
Professionalism: provide quality work and support and empower others
Drive: be determined to make things happen and look for better ways of doing things
Time Management and Organisation: manage time effectively by prioritising tasks and meeting deadlines
Talk us through the most exciting project that you have worked on
My most exciting project to date has to be the transition of the large oil and gas company over from another Big 4 firm. It has been a huge task but has meant great exposure to the client and I have learnt a huge deal about policies, procedures and ways of working at the client as well as broader knowledge of our processes at Deloitte that can be applied to other clients.
What social, society and corporate responsibility activities have you been involved with at Deloitte?
I have contributed to the wider firm by leading a team at our community day. This involved organising a session for a group of young adult carers aged 18-25 including CV writing, interview skills, relationship with money, paying bills and making savings to give some knowledge and share experiences with the young adult carers as they often struggle to access this advice and information. This was a very successful day whereby the young adult carers got really involved in the activities and I believe they all took something away from the day.
I have also taken part in volunteer work at The City Academy Islington, a local school that London Tax works closely with by offering various workshops, presentations, mentoring and tutoring throughout the year. I ran a session at the school providing year 10s with support for their upcoming work experience and another session where I presented to 6th form students on ‘Next steps after A-Levels’ and an ‘Introduction to tax and budgeting’.
One of the main ways I have helped to contribute to the business is by restructuring the interview process in IAS London. I worked closely with our Talent team and held sessions with the People leads in each department to see which skillsets they believed to be most important in their teams. We then redesigned the interview questions to fit these skillsets and ensured that the process was as simple and streamlined as possible with a clear grading system to avoid any ambiguity. This was great to be able to contribute to this so early on and to know that I have made an impact.
How has Deloitte played a role in your long term career goals?
In my opinion Deloitte is a great place to start a career and plenty of people spend their entire career at Deloitte as there is so much opportunity for career progression as well as opportunities to take your career in whichever direction you choose. I can personally see myself staying at Deloitte for the long term but I know if I ever wanted to join another business that all of the experience that I have gained in the past 18 months will put me in a strong position when applying for other jobs.
What advice would you share to others considering a career in your industry?
I would advise that others considering a career in this industry should research the industry well and try to do some work experience in this industry or a similar industry beforehand in order to make sure it is definitely the right career for them. A career in this industry can be challenging but the opportunities and people make it very rewarding and worthwhile.