We were lucky enough to catch up with Verina Morwood, Manager at Deloitte, who shared her advice on how to stay grounded and managing the ever-changing tax landscape.
Verina is currently in her last year of a Masters of Laws (Tax) at the University of Sydney.
Studying a Masters degree allows her to deepen her understanding of tax concepts she is already using at work.
She says, “the technical development has been fantastic and the best bit is that I then get to apply the content on a day-to-day basis at work.”
Along with managing a full-time job and postgraduate study, Verina also manages to remain an invaluable advisor for her clients in a climate where change has become the new constant.
Any tax professional knows that change is here to stay, whether it be from automation, compliance changes or tax reform.
Here are Verina’s six top tips to managing the stormy seas of change:
1. Remember the basics – don’t forget how important those core skills still are. Efficient problem solving and the ability to create effective solutions for your clients are still absolutely vital to your success as an adviser.
2. Don’t forget the human element – Verina says, “We need to remember that our clients are just human beings.
“Brush up on those soft skills and do not let technology get in the way of you developing relationships with your clients – close that email and pick up the phone, or better yet, meet up in person!”
3. Stay up to date - In order to provide insightful advice and create innovative solutions for clients, Verina says it is important for us to remain current and on top of legislative changes, industry trends and business needs.
4. Think outside the box – Tax practitioners need to understand the businesses of their clients.
“What are their desires and worst fears, and what are the potential stumbling blocks that they do not see yet?” asks Verina.
5. Attend CPD events – Verina told us how valuable she finds hearing different perspectives on particular tax areas and discussing industry issues in a room full of like-minded individuals.
She says, “Attending these events is also a great way to meet your peers and industry leaders – I have met some really interesting people who I would have otherwise not crossed paths with.”
6. Juggle your time effectively – Whether you’re juggling study, family life or marathon training, Verina says, “You just need to find the balance that works for you.”
“We all know how unpredictable our work schedules can be. It has been a challenge juggling post-graduate studies with work.
“If studying, make sure to take semester breaks and study leave on offer when you need it.”
Verina says if you’re juggling other commitments, take time to recalibrate and allocate time to everything you need to get done. Make some time for you!
Great leadership: who run the world?
Whilst progressing through our career, we often look back at key figures that have inspired us.
Verina told us about a powerhouse female leader she previously worked for and how this has inspired her own leadership style.
For Verina, some of this leader’s best traits were:
- Authenticity - this leader was “undeniably herself at all times and was open and honest about her wins and challenges both at work and outside of work”
- Listening power - she consistently made time for her teams, understood their motivations and listened to their perspectives.
- Being a team player - Verina says her previous leader had subject matter and industry expertise and was always happy to teach others and share her insights with the team.
And her advice for new practitioners?
“Give everything a go!” she says.
“You may have an idea of where your interest lies but the best way to test that is to have a range of different experiences.
“The direction of my career has really been shaped by working across different clients and industries and working with a variety of people.”
Verina says tax professionals should accept they will make mistakes.
“We are all learning, and the tax landscape is continuously changing, so the idea of always getting something 100% correct is basically impossible,” she explains.
“It is important to learn from your mistakes and not let that get in the way of experimenting or trying something new.”
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