Denise Honey, CTA and Executive Director/Partner at Pitcher Partners on how her membership with The Tax Institute developed her technical and soft skills.

We caught up with Denise at the 34th National Convention in Hobart. She has been a member of The Tax Institute since she graduating from university.

“The involvement that I've had with The Tax Institute, and the opportunities that I've had through the education program, and my CTA designation have certainly helped me in my career,” she says.

So why tax?

“There are a lot of things I like about tax,” she begins.

“I certainly enjoy the intellectual challenge. I often find with the work that I do it's a little bit like a jigsaw puzzle.

“It's about finding all of the pieces, and then trying to put them together - I really enjoy that aspect.

“I also enjoy working within a tax team where we can enjoy being tax nerds together,” she laughs.

But Denise says tax has changed greatly since she began her career.

“The pace of change is certainly increasing within the tax profession,” says Denise.

“I work primarily in international tax, and so one of the key changes I think is going to be impactful for the future, is transparency.

“We need to assume that everyone knows everything, and that we're in a transparent world, and that enforcement is out there.”

Denise says tax professionals will need to communicate everything and constantly keep track.

How membership helped her grow

Denise says the nature of how the Institute has supported her career has changed over time.

However, she loves the collegiate nature and learning opportunities both technical and to present at CPD events.

“I remember doing my first presentation and I was extremely nervous, and my hands were shaking on the lectern,” she laughs.

“The Tax Institute has really allowed me to develop those skills, which has been great. Now, it's something I really enjoy doing.”

And what did she take away from the 34th National Convention?

“I've always worked in international tax, but when I look at the tenor of many of the presentations here, even the ones that weren't intended to be international in nature, I’ve noticed they've been very much focused on BEPS, and transparency.

“What's been great to see here at the Convention has been that we have so many people from the ATO, including Chris Jordan Commissioner of Tax.

“We have academics here as well. We have people who work in-house. I think mixture of people getting together and being cooperative is great.”

Take your career into your own hands

Denise says the most important thing new practitioners can do is take their careers into their own hands.

“One should never leave one's career in somebody else's hands,” she advises.

She explains that although other people in the profession will genuinely want to help support your career progression, younger practitioners should also reach out just to kick off the process and accelerate their career growth.

How to manage change in tax

Denise says there is no denying that the tax profession is changing rapidly.

“I think a key question is, what should practitioners do to deal with change?

“For me, there are two elements. I would say, that there is a combination of really focusing on the depth of technical skills and relationships.

“While I think we have a fear that maybe AI might take that over one day, that day has not yet come.”

Denise says that whilst AI will take over the simpler parts of the analysis that we tax practitioners may do themselves today, it calls for constant improvement of technical skills to stay ahead.

“Much of what we do as tax practitioners is helping people in their businesses,” she continues.

“It's a lot more than just technical. It’s about supporting people and really having that empathy and understanding and thinking forward to what people really need and want.

“I think that's the part that I think it's very hard for a computer to replicate.”

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