Sarah Dewar, Associate at Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers, says she chose tax as a career, on a full-time basis, about three or four years ago.

“Prior to that, I'd been in commercial litigation, so I had a broad range of disputes that I worked with, and tax disputes were one of them,” she explains.

“As it just naturally happened, I really enjoyed the work that I was doing with tax disputes, and made it a full-time career choice.”

Sarah says that when she’s dealing with clients that have tax problems, she really enjoys getting involved in their businesses, learning about “what makes them tick, and what doesn't,” and “the changes that the tax laws have on people's businesses,” to provide the best advice.

Great leadership – in a nutshell

“I think there are a few things that a key leader in the tax profession needs to implement, and the first one, I think, is consistency,” says Sarah.

She says that tax leaders need to be consistently excelling at their specialty that they've chosen and keeping up to date with changes in the tax laws.

“They also need to be keeping up regularly with the practical effect that those tax laws,” she adds.

“Apart from that, I think that we need to take a very serious role in developing young tax professionals coming through, or more junior tax professionals coming through.

“I think a lot of that can start with uni, and then, developing those people as they come out into the real world.”

Advice: love what you do

Sarah’s advice for young people starting their careers, whether that be in tax, or in any other form of career that they choose, is that they have to be passionate.

“You've got to be interested in what you do on a daily basis. And then, apart from that, be tenacious,” she says.

“Be outwardly interested in what you're doing… make that fact known to the people that you're working with.

“If you do all that, and apply a really good ethic, then you'll be fine.”

The Tax Institute is dedicated to supporting the career progression of women in the tax, accounting and legal professions. As the leading forum for Australia’s tax community, we are committed to representing our 12,000 members and the continuous improvement of the tax system. Find out more about the benefits membership of The Tax Institute can deliver for your role.