What is a Tax Accountant?
Tax Accountants are fastidious financial professionals whose remit is organising the tax payments and management of organisations and individuals.
Because of the rigorous legal imperatives of correct tax commitment reporting, and the fast-changing nature of tax law and practice, Tax Accountants are an essential element in any business-critical financial team, providing the guidance and skills needed to make sure tax is paid on time, by the right people or companies, within the guidance of the law.
Tax Accountants are also involved in tax planning and auditing. As their responsibilities cross over into other financial realms, it’s vital for Tax Accountants to have a broad range of accounting, analysis, reporting and audit skills.
As we discuss below, there are many ways of becoming a Tax Accountant, but the onus on cross-department awareness and understanding of tax law across business operations rides high in the list of Tax Accountant responsibilities.
Many of the basic academic qualifications needed to become a Tax Accountant mirror those of regular accountants.
This means strong numeracy skills and strong maths, business or economics qualifications at A-Level/Baccalaureate level.
Other good skills to develop within formal pre-graduate education include problem-solving and good communication skills – these are essential foundational skills that will stand Tax Accountants in good stead.
At the degree level, qualifications in Maths, Economics, Accountancy, Finance and Law are all good starting points for a career in accountancy of any kind, and many financial organisations offer graduate schemes, internships and work experience that accompanies formal further education on the pathway to becoming a Tax Accountant.
Tax Accountant certifications are required to build a career in the sector, and are often combined with work experience and in-work time served as a basis for getting the certifications.
Certification bodies and courses that are beneficial for Tax Accountants to have include:
- The Association of Taxation Technicians’ ATT qualification (includes: AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting; AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting and AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting)
- The Chartered Institute of Taxation’s CTA qualification
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA) qualification
- Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA) Certified Forensic Accountant (CRFAC)
- Forensic Certified Public Accountant (FCPA)
- Associate Chartered Accountant
As with any specialist role in finance, work experience is an essential component of developing the right skills and connections to build a career in tax accountancy.
Graduate schemes and internships are readily available and accessible from a wide range of financial institutions at entry-level which offer new entrants into the tax accountancy world a start. Work experience is also gained from apprenticeships, and through non-graduate placement means.
Just like other finance roles, many financial institutions offer internships to attract young workers and finance graduates into Tax Accountancy roles.
The broad range of companies that need tax accountants, from charities to public sector bodies, guarantees a variety of internship channels. Often these internships will contain introductions to a variety of accountancy specialisms, such as Audit.
What skills are needed to succeed as a Tax Accountant?
Tax Accountants need to be 3 things – diligent, obsessed with detail, and legally compliant.
Tax Accountants need to be fastidious numbers people who can both advise and deliver tax reports and submissions with a high degree of competency. Communication skills are also needed, especially when it comes to advising non-finance stakeholders who need insight on tax commitments and outgoings.
Learn more about Tax Accountant careers.
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