Published: 4 Nov 2022
We’re always excited to celebrate our members’ achievements, big, small and everything in between. Recently, we went along to the Women in Finance Awards 2022 to support our members who were finalists in various categories.
Our own Senior Advocate, Robyn Jacobson, CTA, took out the title of Thought Leader of the Year, a gong she has won five times now across the Women in Finance Awards and the Australian Accounting Awards. She was also a finalist for the overall Excellence Award.
‘I’m grateful to the Women in Finance organisers and judges for recognising the contributions and talents of women across the finance industry. I’m personally thrilled that my contributions to the tax profession are making a difference. This award really reflects the passion of the tax profession and everyone in it, who work so tirelessly for their clients. They are the ones who afford me a voice and a platform from which to speak,’ Robyn said.
‘My congratulations go out to all the nominees, finalists and winners. I am honoured to be counted among such esteemed professionals.’
We always love a chance to catch up with some of our members who are being recognised for their great work in the tax and accounting profession. We took this opportunity to glean some career insights from the women who are kicking goals in the tax and accounting profession.
Michelle McVeigh, CTA
I think it’s the strong relationships with our clients and our team. I think you’ve got to be empathetic, you’ve got to be caring, you’ve got to be able to listen, you’ve got to be a part of the industry and be up to date with everything. At the same time, you’ve got to be results driven, you’ve got to be motivated and you’ve really got to hit those targets.
I love what I do, and I love the community around me. We have a great team. We’re based in Dalby three hours west of Brisbane. We pride ourselves that we’re locally owned and we lie and work in the community. So we support our community. Our foundation has been built on taking school leavers from school, putting them through uni and usually a CPA and assisting them in however they go through it.
Long before COVID, we were a flexible workplace; we still are. We have always had remote workers. I have a couple of mums now, we’ve got three, they’ve been with me since they were seventeen. They’re fully qualified, they live hours away from the office, with three or four kids each. In regional, you can have it all, but you have to just accept the challenges and make them opportunities.
I’ve been very, very fortunate. I started at BMO with a team of eleven and I was engaged to a local farmer, so those partners at that time took a risk on me. Fast forward, we’re a team of over 50 across six divisions. I’m still married, I’ve got two sons, so I’ve been so fortunate to just be given those opportunities. But also, when you’re given [the opportunities], just say yes. Just do it. You make it work.
It’s often said the two things you can’t avoid are death and taxes! For small businesses, our tax system is actually incredibly complex. My aim as a tax professional has always been to help small business understand their tax obligations in a way that’s easy for them. I’ve tried to take the stress of meeting compliance obligations off them by being well-trained and letting them focus on their core business. This includes being proactive and undertaking tax planning to avoid surprise tax bills and paying unnecessary tax.
By undertaking further study specialising in taxation, it has been much easier to understand why the law is what it is and it helps to quickly get my head round changes. I do think we need to up the ante in the level of tax professionalism and education. As our tax system is self-assessed, one of the greatest assets is highly trained, ethical tax professionals. This means that the tax system integrity is maintained.
The CTA designation is essential if you plan to be involved in taxation as an adviser. It shows you understand taxation law, not just how to prepare a tax return.
It’s a fascinating career with so much diversity and constant change. It’s also a career you can easily do from home as the pandemic has clearly demonstrated. If you are keen on a career in tax do the CTA program, it’s money well spent. As women are still in the minority of tax professionals make sure once you get established, you reach down and help other women up.
I think it’s vital – to guide the client through their business journey, to allow them to comprehend what is happening and what will happen, discuss topics like debt and give them financial advice. I think it’s very important because business owners don’t really have time to understand heavy topics like tax. So, for us it’s really important just to simplify it, allow them to manage it, understand it and comply.
I think there is so much opportunity within this industry. I think women, we’re so nurturing, we’re very educated, so my advice would be reach out to your tax association. There are so many resources, there are people […] us accountants are really willing to help.
The highlight would definitely be being on that journey with our clients. Watching them grow and exceed and building their wealth, I think it’s really rewarding.
It’s a very important role, and we have to ensure that small businesses understand and comply with their tax obligations. But more importantly we need to ensure that we are helping them through all the ups and down of business. I think we play an important role as a silent partner, helping them through all facets of business.
I think it would be just to have a go and to back yourself. I find we’re our own worst critics and we need to believe in ourselves. Tax is a really complex profession and it’s changing, but it definitely is rewarding and challenging.
The highlight for me is that every day is really different, and it definitely isn’t a boring profession – it really is rewarding. And to know that you’re helping businesses succeed and helping them build a business that’s sustainable is really a rewarding career, for me.
Auditors play a critical role in financial reporting, however by working closely with the client, by being proactive, and by understanding their systems and real sticking points, you can help improve systems to best practice. It’s my opinion from working with many not-for-profit clients that auditors can go beyond simply performing an audit to empowering boards and management.
If you want to learn something new every day, consider tax and accounting as a career. There’s always something to absorb and as a result, we can help empower our clients. Accountants help to look after financial health of our clients by understanding them, and sharing our knowledge and expertise, and while we work with numbers, it’s our personal associations with the clients that makes every day fun and interesting.
The highlight of my career is mentoring and helping to grow a wonderful team of accountants who look after our clients by working hard, but we also enjoy ourselves and have a laugh at the end of the day. Booth Partners has a wonderful graduate accounting program that takes university graduates and mentors them into well-rounded accounting experts. Furthermore, seeing so many clients grow and succeed who we have worked with and looked after over the years is extremely fulfilling.
Read time: 8 minutes