Life at Deloitte

Luke Johnson

Manager, Indirect Tax Consulting, Liverpool

I studied Economics at the University of Liverpool, during which I participated in Deloitte’s Summer Vacation Scheme in our Reading office for 7 weeks. I decided to join Deloitte’s Corporate Tax department in Liverpool before moving to the Indirect Tax team after a year. I was initially attracted to Deloitte by the nature of the SVS programme, whereby you see various sides of the business rather than a single area. I was impressed by everybody I met during my time in Reading, and decided this was a great place to start my career.

What do you like most about the office and region that you work in?

The Liverpool office is quite small but I found that to be an asset in my early years, and it’s great to know everybody you work with by name – forming relationships becomes really important. Indirect Tax works on a regional basis so I also spend time in Manchester – I really like that dynamic as it gives me the best of both worlds.

Why your industry?

Indirect Tax is essentially a consulting discipline rooted in business and law – we deal primarily with Value Added Tax but in truth most of our time is spent understanding why a client is doing something. It’s very future focused which means our work shapes how the client does business. Sometimes this can be how to brand a sports drink, or it could be how to build a football stadium, or even how to advertise brands on TV.

What is your top tip for working in your industry?

To understand the importance of building relationships (and showing a genuine interest) in your colleagues and clients – technical ability will only get you so far.

What differentiates your industry from other industries?

Indirect Tax is focused on law rather than accounting, and requires an in-depth knowledge of a business and how it works. Its client facing but technical – future focused rather than historical. I think this particular mix of attributes is unusual as it demands a lot from the people who work here.

Which personality traits or skills aid success in your industry?

I’m quite goal orientated so I set myself achievable milestones. I’m also interested in ‘getting the right answer’ as I’m analytically minded – it’s important to be interested in the solutions you’re creating. I’ve been told I’m confident presenting and interacting with clients, which is also a nice trait to have as we are the face of Deloitte.

What do you enjoy most about your industry?

The variety – every day is different and I’m never quite sure what a client will ask when they pick up the phone.

Talk us through the most exciting project that you have worked on

My most exciting projects involve player transfers between football clubs – obviously I can’t say more than that! My most rewarding project was some pro bono work for a client building a local community centre for a victim of gang violence. It was a great way to give back to the community through our time and expertise. In simple terms, we helped the client design the procurement and supply chain such that VAT didn’t become a cost to the project – if the client couldn’t recover the VAT charged it would essentially make the community centre 20% too expensive and may never have been built.

What social, society and corporate responsibility activities have you been involved with at Deloitte?

I have a significant Talent role, which means I interview graduates and try my best to make sure people in my team are content. From a social responsibility perspective, I am involved with Employability – this is essentially helping young people into work and realise their potential. I’ve delivered several interview skills and CV writing sessions at local schools and universities.

How has Deloitte played a role in your long term career goals?

Deloitte is a world-recognised brand and signifier of quality – it opens doors. It’s also shown me that I enjoy the variety of working in practice rather than industry – I think that will be a key feature of my future career.

What advice would you share to others considering a career in your industry?

Confidence and intellectual curiosity are valuable skills – being a rounded individual who can engage others in conversation and also power through a challenging task would be very desirable to an employer.

It’s also a high-performance group with a lot of multi-tasking required so it’s perhaps suited most to people who like variety and pushing themselves independently – this isn’t a job where you’ll be given a series of straightforward tasks to complete.

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