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Army vet turns tax expert

A former infantryman talks life in business

James Stevenson tells his story of transitioning from a 36-year career in the army to working in Deloitte’s tax team and even starring in a film.

James Stevenson had a 36 year career in the army

Having completed a 36-year career in the army, I am not your typical Deloitte experienced hire! I was excited to explore new challenges, but leaving the military was tough and I thought it would be a daunting task to find a similarly rewarding career.

From my very first experience of Deloitte at one of their Military Insight Days, it was clear to me that the firm puts real substance behind its commitment to assist veterans through its Military Transition and Talent Programme (DMTTP).

When moving from the army into the workplace, I was given some valuable advice: look beyond the task of what I want to do, to think about who I want to work with. Once I met the Deloitte team, I quickly realised these were people I would enjoy working with as they genuinely seemed to understand the military and never patronised me. Instead, they helped me work out how my skills and experiences could best be used by the firm.

New job, new team

To the amusement of many of my friends and ex-army colleagues, after nearly four decades as a very non-technical infantryman, I am now working on the global tax digitisation programme. During my work experience, I was introduced to Philip Mills, the Global Business Tax Lead, who spotted the potential of my extensive project management and stakeholder management skills, which he knew were essential for the role.

A year has passed in a flash, during which I’ve been on a steep learning curve – my project management and stakeholder management has certainly been tested and I’ve learned many technical elements of the role on the job. Surprisingly, the cultural shift has been the easy bit, and that’s down to the people. Although it’s a very different environment, there’s a robustness and sense of humour that I didn’t think I would find outside the army.

A film debut to debunk some myths

Not long after I joined the firm, I took part in Veterans Work: The Films. Supported by Business in the Community, Deloitte teamed with film creators, Drive Project, and The Officers’ Association to produce a three-film series on research findings from Deloitte’s Veterans Work research report. Amazingly my film debut wasn’t cut during editing, and I’m really pleased the films have been watched over 15,500 times.

To date there have been 13,859,234 Twitter impressions of #veteranswork, and the films have been played at the opening night of the Newcastle International Film Festival, an event at the Institute of Directors, and at client events internally and externally. Both the film and research have brought to life the idea of transitioning from the army to the workplace, whilst providing substantial advice to debunk many of the myths that abound.


Will Black

HR, Talent and Restructuring Public Relations Manager

+44 (0)20 7007 8242

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