What does a tax advisory professional do?

Tax advisors are financial experts who understand all the rules and regulations that determine the amount of money owed in tax. Broadly, their role is to ensure compliance while using their expertise to find the appropriate ways to reduce tax liabilities.

Tax advisors can work in industry (within a business) or in practice for an accounting firm (where they will typically have a portfolio of clients). In both cases, the role requires the practitioner to have a strong knowledge of the tax environment in which they operate. Professionals in this field add value by studying and interpreting tax law and being aware of relevant changes to legislation or recent tax case studies that can be leveraged to the benefit of their client.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Preparing tax returns, payments & reports (incl. timely production of quarterly & annual tax reports).
  • Offering tax accounting advice to both clients and internal company departments.
  • Assessing and researching difficult tax issues to identify solutions.
  • Identifying tax savings and recommend strategies to increase profit.
  • Maintaining knowledge of industry trends, tax laws and regulations.
  • Communicating tax implications of all business practices to senior management.
  • Developing strong working relationships with clients, including understanding their business practices and specific tax information needs.
  • Assisting in any legal disputes or audits that arise.
  • Ensuring all financial practices and records comply with accepted accounting standards.
  • Forecasting tax predictions to senior management.
  • Offering support and guidance during audits.
  • Liaising with clients on any tax queries.

Why are they important?

The primary goal of a tax accountant is to recommend effective tax strategies that promote the financial well-being of their employer or client while complying with all appropriate laws and regulations. Good tax professionals can have a significant impact on an organisation’s bottom line or an individual’s personal wealth through finding appropriate ways to reduce the tax burden by appropriately managing finances and assets and by avoiding the risk of costly disputes or audits.

Skills needed for this role

A tax accountant must have exceptional attention to detail along with excellent analytical skills. They must also have strong time management skills in order to work to tight deadlines, as well as superb interpersonal skills to liaise effectively with clients, both internal and external.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Taxation

Career opportunities presented by this role

Tax accountants can take a number of different routes and work in a variety of different environments. These professionals can work with individuals, small businesses or large multi-nationals. This can be in-house within a company or in practice for an accounting firm or tax specialist. It is common in practice for organisations to have tax focused partners.

Competencies

High level competencies required by tax advisory professionals include:

  • Corporate business reporting

    A. Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology.

    B. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities.

    C. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies.

    D. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks.

     

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A - Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B - Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C - Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D - Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E - Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.
     

  • Taxation

    A. Communicates knowledge of the operation and scope of the tax system, obligations of taxpayers, and the implications of non-compliance and advises on tax planning.

    B. Advises ethically on strategic tax plans and computes the tax liabilities of individuals.

    C. Advises ethically on strategic tax plans and computes the corporation tax liabilities of individual companies and groups of companies.

    D. Explains and computes the effects of value added tax (VAT) / goods and services tax (GST) and indirect tax on incorporated and unincorporated businesses and advises appropriately.