Suzie Boulous CTA, on becoming Partner at Brown Wright Stein, tax education, and why she loves being a member of The Tax Institute.

Brown Wright Stein has announced the promotion of two female Senior Associates to Partnership.

One of the Partners, Suzie Boulous, CTA, is a member of The Tax Institute, and works in the area of estate planning, business succession, asset protection and restructuring.

“I love working in tax because I believe tax knowledge is fundamental to providing holistic service to clients,” she says.

“I was fortunate to have recognised fairly early in my career that tax issues intersect across all facets of the law.

“As such, I took steps to educate myself in tax as well as become involved in working in tax. Working in tax has provided me with the tools to be a better lawyer.”

Suzie says being promoted to Partner represents a culmination of years of hard work and dedication to her network of clients.

“As a female lawyer working in tax and estate planning, it also represents an opportunity to be a leader in my field with the hope that I can act as a role model for younger practitioners who wish to progress in their career,” she adds.

The best thing about membership

She has been a member of The Tax Institute for over 6 years and completed the Chartered Tax Adviser Program and Graduate Diploma in Applied Tax Law at the Institute.

“Personally, the best thing about being a member of The Tax Institute has been having access to CPD events and education programs such as the CTA program,” she admits.

“The presentations and classes were given by respected tax practitioners in the industry.

“I found that I walked away with a very practical approach to tax which I could apply to my day-today work.”

Suzie also says that The Tax Institute is a great advocate for women in tax with multiple events being hosted yearly, nationally. She says these events not only promote the development of women in tax, but also provide ample opportunity to network with fellow peers working in tax.

Tax and soft skills: you need them both!

It’s no surprise that Suzie is an advocate for tax education.

“Tax education is vital for new practitioners,” she says.

“It can give you a head start on your client work and better inform you about key issues.

“However, I feel that tax education is important at every stage of your career,” she adds.

This is because tax is constantly changing from new laws, new policies or new government.

“It is important to stay updated with the changes so that a practitioner can stay ahead with the service they provide to clients,” she adds.

With that said, Suzie says soft skills are also essential for her line of work.

“I work in the area of estate planning, business succession, asset protection and restructuring and this type of work is predominantly client-facing,” she explains.

“Soft skills such as empathy and strong communication skills are vital to be able to properly connect with the clients – particularly having regard to the subject matter that may be raised in my line of work; such as death, incapacity, varying family dynamics and relationships.”

But regardless of her specialisation, Suzie says soft skills are key in managing day-to-day relationships with fellow partners and younger practitioners at Brown Wright Stein.

“Empathy, leadership qualities and communication skills assist in forging and characterising those relationships,” she adds.

Advice: “back yourself”

Suzie’s advice for new practitioners is twofold:

  •         Commit to tax education as early as possible and maintain that education consistently throughout your career.
  •         Start networking and attend networking events. The best form of business development and education is getting to know people just like you in the industry and learning through shared experiences.

“As a woman in tax and a mother of two young children, I have found myself constantly dealing with competing priorities,” she admits.

“These competing priorities can sometimes be overwhelming and may lead to self-doubt or lack of confidence.

“It is about taking a moment to focus, surround yourself with a supportive network of family, friends and work colleagues and backing yourself.

“It is about training yourself psychologically to constantly push through to achieve the career goals you have set and recognise that obstacles can be opportunities in disguise,” she adds.

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