Student Spotlight: The importance of not limiting yourself professionally



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Bryan Hartanto, Accounting & Tax Graduate at HLB Mann Judd in NSW was a co-winner of the National Dux award for CTA2A Advanced in Study Period 3 2022. He shares his most valued learnings from the subject and how important it is not to limit yourself professionally by choosing not to study.


What got you started in tax?

I started off my career in tax as a vacationer at KPMG within the corporate tax (financial services) division. Then, in my last semester of university, I worked part-time as a business services accountant at a boutique firm. Once graduated, I moved to my current place of employment at HLB Mann Judd as an Accounting & Tax Graduate working in the corporate tax team.

Why did you undertake the CTA2A subject?

I am working towards the CTA designation. The material in the program is directly related and relevant to my work. I do have plans to study for the CA program in the future, but I will be able to apply for recognition for prior learning for the tax units. Thus, the amount of time I have to study does not significantly increase.

What content in CTA2A Advanced has proven to be the most valuable?

Small business concessions and taxation of different entities, e.g. partnership, trusts and superannuation funds. I have learned how to apply the law step by step to determine whether an entity or individual can access the small business concessions and how to calculate tax positions for the different entities.

I’ve applied what I have learned from the CTA2A program to my role, specifically from Module 6 – Trusts. I find the area of trust law complex however, CTA2A did a great job covering this topic and explaining difficult concepts comprehensibly. After completing CTA2A I have a better understanding of trust law and am now better equipped in completing trust returns.

How did you manage the workload?

Juggling study, full-time work, hobbies and maintaining a healthy social life was challenging but definitely doable. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to performing well, it just requires good-old fashion discipline and effective time management skills. Best practice is to stay on top of the content by studying a few hours consistently every week. That way you can manage your other commitments better and not have to cram a semester of content within a few weeks, making your life miserable during that time. My employer, HLB Mann Judd, is also understanding and generous with my study requirements as they offer study and exam leave and allow me to take up additional annual leave near the exam period.

Any words of wisdom for other tax professionals undertaking study?

Do it. It will be highly beneficial for your career and you will learn so much. Many employers prefer accountants with further post graduate studies so don’t limit yourself professionally by choosing not to study. I would recommend doing it as early in your career as possible as you are likely to take on more responsibilities and work longer hours the more senior you are.

CTA2A Advanced is a core subject in the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) Program, the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law, Graduate Certificate in Applied Tax Advisory and the Tax Agent Program. It takes a deeper dive into tax administration, CGT fundamentals, small business CGT concessions, partnerships, trusts and superannuation. This subject also explores the ethics and professional responsibilities of a tax professional in dealing with clients, government agencies, and business and legal institutions. 

Ready to continue your education in tax?