Ilana Kramarov, Executive Director – Tax Consulting at Bell Partners, shares her approaches to work life balance and why she thinks “education is essential” in one’s career.

Ilana says gone are the days where work involves the standard of sitting in an office from 8.30am to 5pm.

“Flexibility needs to not only be the ability to work from home but the ability to work non-standard hours. Provided one still accomplishes their role as required by the firm, having set hours should not be required,” she adds.

“In my experience as a working mother with a young child, flexibility in what hours are dedicated to work has been the key for how I juggle work and life balance,” she explains.

“Starting my work day slightly later works for me as I get to spend time with my son in the morning, then in the evenings after he has gone to bed I can do further work. 

One thing that’s certain in tax is change. Not only in the form of changes to legislation but also to the environment in which we operate and in the clients we provide services to.  

“In order to cope with any type of change, practitioners need to understand the reasons for the change and then to focus on how it can provide opportunities.

"As an example, earlier in my career there was an occasion where staff members in my team left the firm, leaving the door open for me to increase my responsibilities and advance.

"Although this change landed in my lap at a time that was out of my control, I could have either continued to operate as status quo and have someone else deal with the change or step up and view the change as a positive opportunity,” Ilana explains. 

Ilana took the latter option and says it was definitely the correct choice.

The future of tax: a global perspective

Ilana says tax will become increasingly important in the future for both individuals and businesses. She believes this is driven by the recent increased focus on compulsory information exchanges between countries, online shopping becoming a popular convenient method for consumer shopping, and global employment opportunities now being offered extensively in most industries.

“Advanced rules regarding which country has the taxing rights over income will be developed, and tax practitioners will be required to be more versatile and no longer operate within the confines of only one country,” she predicts.

Education: the “centrepiece” of her career progression

Ilana says, “education is essential and will continue to be essential in the development of my career as a tax professional”. 

“Not only because there is a need to keep on top of the constantly changing tax legislation and regulations, but because education can provide secondary positive repercussions on one’s career path, such as increased confidence for success, a way to grow your network, and a reinforcement of a strong work ethic.

“Due to carrying out technical based roles, education has been the centrepiece for my career progression to date. For example, completing a Master’s degree in International Tax Law has proved extremely beneficial in my ability to successfully specialise in international and cross-border tax matters,” she shares.

Additionally, professional development events in Ilana’s view have been an important factor to her career growth.

“Attending professional development events has enabled me to not only learn further about the specific topic of the event but has acted as a source of inspiration and new ideas,” she says. 

“Often through either talking directly to other attendees or through listening to the open forum/ question time at the event, I have obtained an understanding of the issues other practitioners have faced, the ways other firms deal with certain scenarios or issues and the types of clients other practitioners offer services to.

“It is also beneficial to occasionally break up the week with a day or a few hours out of the office with new people thinking about a different topic outside of the standard day to day tasks as this can re-energise and re-focus you”. 

Ilana believes that a sense of competition within accounting and law practices will always be present and as such a standard compliance desk job will no longer enable young professionals to make an impact in their careers. Rather, Ilana’s advice for those young professionals who are looking to make an impact in the next five years is threefold:

  •         Have a clear sense of what you want to achieve and ensure you are in an environment which can enable you to achieve it.
  •         Think outside the square; pick a target client market to specialise in or a niche area which can provide longer term opportunities.
  •         Ensure you are enjoying your role as passion is an important driver in achieving a successful career.

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.