We caught up with Melanie Newman, Senior Accountant at HLB Mann Judd, at last October’s Women in Tax lunch held in Sydney.

We asked her how tax professionals can get ahead of compliance and technological changes.

“Professionals can cope with change by keeping themselves knowledgeable,” she says.

“Attending events such as Women in Tax events where you'll be able to get out and hear what other people are talking about, but just keeping yourself knowledgeable by reading updates.

“While it’s important to keep yourself on top of the regulatory change, it’s also just as important to keep up with changing software.”

Melanie says tax education is also crucial.

“Education has been really important,” says Melanie.

“I've been very lucky to have done part of the Chartered Tax Adviser program. By doing that, I've definitely been able to build on my tax knowledge because I might have known things on a somewhat practical level, the programs really help my technical skills.

“These skills will definitely benefit me in the long run, so I think education is important.”

Melanie says the future of tax will definitely be more a more client-focused relationship.

“Automation is happening left, right, and centre with tax returns being automated,” she explains.

“So being able to actually have that client relationship, you're going to have clients forever.”

Advice she would give her younger self

“When I first started, I wanted to be perfect and know everything,” she laughs.

“But when you first start, it's just not achievable. You're learning from the base up. You're learning skills that you would never had heard of before.

“My advice to myself back then would be not to stress, relax a little bit more, and have a bit of fun.”

Best part of membership

“I think one of the best things about being a member of The Tax Institute is definitely being able to come to events and networking events and meet new people,” says Melanie.

“I know I've definitely met a lot of people that I would never had met, but also like I said before, you get to share experiences with people, which I think is really important.

“The thing I like the most about Women in Tax events are definitely the panels.

Being able to hear from people who are maybe a little bit more experienced than me and hear their experiences and the way they've handled situations I think are really important.

“Especially as a woman in the profession, being able to see people who have done that and had the career and had the family.

“I think for me is really key because that's always something I'm going to have to get through at some point, so being able to hear experiences,” she says.

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.