I’ve been working in big 4 corporate tax (Australia) for 2 years now (doing tax compliance) and I am seriously considering moving back into audit based on a reassessment of my strengths and future career goals.
It would be great if you guys could share some advice on these questions:
1) would it make sense for me to go back to audit based on my strengths/ career goals/ general outlook? am i insane for wanting to go back to the hell that is audit?
2) could I go back as seinor accountant given i’ve had 2.5 years in audit already and 2 years corporate tax?
3) would it be better to exit into another team within big 4? risk/ financial accounting advisory etc
I was previously in financial services audit for 2.5 years before I decided to move into corporate tax as I felt I would be using my law degree (I studied accounting/ law for undegrad). Coming in I originally had plans to do tax planning / become a tax lawyer and work on tax structures but I have realised that that work is not as interesting as it sounds as in reality in involves reading alot of boring legal documents (i.e. tax treaties, case law, legislation, tax rulings….) and that work is left to very seinor people to do. I’ve realised that although accounting is important in tax, it is actually more about law. I find accounting (i.e. financial reporting/ management accounting) to be much more easily understandable to me whilst I struggle to get through tax legislation. As a result I see myself more suited to become a finance director within asset management/ CFO / corporate finance professional rather than a tax director/ tax lawyer. I particularly find the hedge fund/ PE space quite interesting and see myself as an investment accountant.
I’ve listed out some pros and cons of tax over audit below,
– Opportunity to add value to clients through saving tax as part of tax returns/ tax planning (however, I guess this is possible for the jobs that audit leads to?)
– scope to specialise and hence differentiate yourself in the market (however I’d argue this is possible in audit through knowledge of regulations)
– Potentially more interesting work through tax planning (however becoming more difficult through BEPS)
– generally less hours/ less travel/ less grunt work
– better treatment from clients (less of an issue if not considering audit long term)
– higher pay potentially if specialise in tax planning (debatable)
– limited exit opportunities beyond tax if within the field for more than a few years (less job security?).
– less opportunities to work abroad given that tax laws differ between countries
– less scope to move between firms given that there are less positions. I see tax as having less positions and less people applying, while finance manager jobs have more positions but more people applyinh. I’d prefer the later.
– highly paid jobs in tax planning may not be suited to my strengths given that I do not enjoy/ am not good at reading legal documents
– tax i say is very anti social and invovles minimal talking which I think is tortuing me
– im more naturally inclined to accounting and i find it more easier to understand
– increase in outsourcing of tax compliance work to india. Now i’m noticing more and more complex tax returns being completely shipped offshore.
Hopefully, I’ve gone through my thoughts on getting out of tax in logical manner.
Thanks again for any advice!