Professional development

Why your whole team should understand the Australian tax system



Dr Julianne Jacques accepts the Tax Adviser of the Year Award, 2020

The tax system underpins Australia’s economy in ways that affect not only the way we work, but our every day lives. It’s also notoriously complex. 

Whether tax is just one part of your practice or it’s your main focus, you might think the only people who need to understand it are the tax specialists. But in actual fact, if you work with the tax system in any capacity, there are serious benefits to making sure your whole team understand how it works and how it impacts your work and your clients’ lives.

Who can benefit from a better understanding of our tax system?

Everyone! But when it comes to your workplace, it’s particularly important for people such as:

  • Administration staff – with a better understanding of the tax system and how it functions, admin staff can better anticipate busy periods and other needs for your tax technical team.

  • Marketing and sales staff – you can’t sell what you don’t understand. If you have members of the team dedicated to promoting your tax services, they need to work from a solid understanding of the system that underpins your work.

  • Law practitioners without a current tax specialisation – tax law is complex and even team members with legal training can benefit from a closer look at the tax system and understanding how their work might intersect with it.

Why invest in tax learning for your support staff?

There are many reasons why you and your business might benefit from the whole team having a foundational understanding of our tax system, depending on your focus area and how your team work together. Here are a few of the key ones:

  • Better understanding = better outcomes. When your whole team understands how tax works, they’re more likely to get the right outcome for clients. Great ideas can come from anywhere – how many innovations have started after a chat in the breakroom? – and when your whole team has a base understanding.
  • Creating a united workforce. Any leader will tell you that a shared sense of purpose is key to a team that gets great work done. If part of your team doesn’t have the background knowledge to really understand the system you work with every day, it can be difficult to foster that sense of collaboration.
  • Professional development pays dividends. Your team will invest as much effort in their work as you invest in them. Encouraging further learning and skills development is one of the best ways to let your team know you value them, their contributions and their growth.
  • Build your team’s profile. As your team grows and improves their knowledge, that also grows your business’ profile among clients. If every member of your team – tax technical or not – has a recognisable acknowledgement of their learning, that can help build confidence among clients and potential clients.


Introduction to the Australian tax system: online learning for your team

So, where do you start? We’ve recently created a video unit to explain the building blocks of the Australian taxation system specifically for a non-tax technical audience.

Introduction to the Australian tax system is a self-contained learning unit that lays out in plain language our tax frameworks, systems and concepts. It’s hosted by Tax Institute experts explaining real-world, relevant practical facts and concepts including*:

  • How tax laws are formed.
  • The different ways individuals and businesses are taxed.
  • Where to access your tax information online.
  • At a high-level, an overview of the different tax rules that apply for different tax structures.
  • An overview of Australia’s GST system.
  • An understanding of commonly used tax terms.

Meet the presenters

The unit's back-to-basics approach teaches your team the impact, relevance and requirements of tax in Australia. Plus, it’s online, on-demand and doesn’t require any preparation, additional reading or research into acts or cases, so team members can watch sections as it suits their schedule. Understanding is tested through in-unit knowledge checks, so there’s also no formal exam to worry about.

*Please note, this unit is designed to provide an overview of the Australian tax system. It does not teach how to fulfill tax obligations, such as preparing a tax return or activity statement.