Loreena Gillon, Director at Arithmos Chartered Accountants, explains why attending events are integral to developing your network of tax professionals and what it takes to be a trusted advisor.

Loreena, TEP is the Director of Arithmos Chartered Accountants, a niche chartered accounting firm operating in West Perth. Her practice has a client base of predominantly professionals, all of whom operate and manage their affairs through various structures, including companies, trusts and SMSFs.

Before establishing her chartered accounting practice, Loreena worked for accounting firms in the business services area. Loreena’s special area of interest is in deceased estates, and she is a regular presenter on this topic for The Tax Institute and other professional bodies.

We caught up with her and asked what she is most looking forward to at The Tax Summit.

Build your network

She sees the value in the networking opportunities that The Tax Summit will provide delegates and told us how networking at previous Tax Institute events, has helped her get to where she is today.

 “I love any conventions. The more you go along to, the more people you get to know,” she says.

“You just never know the people that you meet and when you might need to call those people for some assistance, professionally.

“It's important to have a wider network, a support network, especially in the SME space. If you're a smaller practice, it's critical to have a network of your peers that you can call on if needed.”

 “The networking perspective is just as important as the technical.”

Loreena’s Session at The Tax Summit - Session 4.5: Building trust with clients

Loreena will be sitting on a panel with Eddy Moussa CTA, PwC and Andrew O’Bryan CTA, Hall & Wilcox. Each representing a different professional discipline and demographic, they will share what they consider to be the key ingredients to their “trusted advisor” status.

We asked Loreena to tell us more about the issues the session will address.

“As professionals, when we're starting, we don't automatically become the trusted advisor. How you arrive at that trusted advisor status is something that you build up over time,” she explains.

Loreena says there are a lot of soft skills involved in the tax profession.

“One of the things that we'll talk to is emotional intelligence,” she says.

“When a client comes in, you've got to be able to assess and draw out very quickly, super private information.

“You're dealing with people's personal affairs and often what's going on in their personal life does impact dramatically what's going on in their business life.”

Loreena explains that practitioners need to have the emotional intelligence to draw that out and to interpret it. It isn't just technical.

“Soft skills are really important in achieving a holistic approach and taking care of the entire family. There is so much psychology involved in our profession,” she adds.

Challenges in the sector

We asked Loreena about the challenges that SME practitioners are currently facing in tax.

“The single touch payroll, the super stream implementation. The changing ATO technology requirements” she begins.

“One of the biggest challenges is teaching our SME clients and assisting them in implementing these changes as the ATO develops new initiatives.

“You understand why the implementation's required, but especially if you've got elderly clients, it's becoming increasingly difficult to teach them these new strategies.

“It's all revolved around educating our clients with technological change, not just the legislative change.”

We also asked Loreena how she thinks these challenges can be best addressed.

“I find in my practice; early intervention is the key. We try and make our clients self-sufficient as possible,” she says.

“Any implementation of change where you're teaching someone, if you start early and go slowly, you've got a better chance of a success rate rather than waiting until the last minute and then hitting the client with that change.

“That's all part of educating our clients about the upcoming change promptly, rather than preventing and waiting until the last minute and then it's a bit left of field for them.”

Why you should attend The Tax Summit 2020

We asked Loreena why the technical program at The Tax Summit is so beneficial to tax advisers.

“Because of the number of streams, we're able to meet everyone's need,” she points out.

 “If you go along to any CPD event and you come away learning at least one thing, then that has made that CPD event worthwhile.

“You can always learn from someone, whether it's someone senior to you or someone junior to you. Cross-pollinating professional experiences can only add to your arsenal of knowledge to assist you.”

Loreena is excited about the Emerging Leaders stream because that's something new for her to be involved in and that there is a lot that people can learn from their peers.

And why does Loreena think you should bring your team?

 “Part of my team building within my small tax team is to take along some of my younger colleagues and attend sessions with them so that they get the opportunity to meet other more senior professionals.”

“To expose them to what could be if they become interested in becoming involved with the Tax Institute and the opportunity to speak at national events, for example,” she explains.

The Tax Institute is combining two flagship events (National Convention and The NSW Tax Forum) into what will become the most significant tax program for tax and accounting professionals in the region.

This event is one members and non-members alike won’t want to miss. This is ground zero for our profession; the central point from which everything else revolves around.

There will be more than 60 sessions delivered by local and global tax experts, across SME, Corporate and Hot Topic streams. The Tax Summit also includes keynote sessions and four new streams: Professional Practice, Emerging Leaders, International and Technology.

Take advantage of Early Bird pricing before February 7 to save $200