Hi, my name is Brian Meggs. I currently live in Dalston, London and work as an International Senior Tax Manager for the Expedia Group – one of the largest group of travel companies in the world with an extensive range of brands including Expedia, Hotels.com, Venere, trivago, Hotwire, eLong, Egencia and Via Egencia.
Brian, did you get any exposure to tax in college?
Well, very quickly in school I realised I had an aptitude for accounting. I went on to study a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting & Finance in Dublin City University (DCU). I started studying tax in my 2nd year and began with personal income tax and found it really fascinating.
So how was your experience studying for the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification?
I primarily decided to study for the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification as it is, in my opinion, Ireland’s most prestigious and well respected tax qualification. The Irish Tax Institute provided plenty of support and all of the lecture notes and learning materials were easily accessible from Blackboard (their online learning management system) for those (hopefully rare!) occasions we may have ended up in the pub rather than at lectures.
I found the style of teaching and exams to be particularly useful and applicable for my career progression and they synergised perfectly – the knowledge I had gained was instantly relevant in my job. In particular the Professional Skills Workshops and the Professional Advice and Ethics module really helped me apply the theoretical information I learned into practical and relevant advice for clients.
Tell us about life at the Expedia group
Well, recently I was promoted to International Senior Tax Manager for EMEA and I report to the EMEA Tax Director.
I wouldn’t say there ever is a “typical” day at work, but a day may include managing upcoming deadlines and ensuring all tax payments and tax returns are filed on time and reviewing returns and calculations prepared by our advisers. At the same time I will also be working on one of numerous projects including expansions into new jurisdictions, contract reviews, applications or ruling requests to tax authorities, research and development tax credits, withholding tax issues, analysing tax efficient company funding or assisting various aspects of the business with analysing the tax impact of their new proposals or ideas.
One thing that struck me most was the amount of interaction tax professionals now have with all aspects of the company – long gone are the number-crunchers in the back office. I find this aspect of my role thrilling and enjoy being so embedded in the active running of the business.
It’s not all work and no play?
Definitely it’s not all work and no play! The Expedia group and London are wonderful places to be at this stage in my life. Once a month we have drinks on our office roof-top balcony and the team I’m working with is great fun and we have plenty of laughs in between all the hard work. London is an amazing place to live and there is no end to the amount of things to do. I was able to achieve all of this through my training with the Irish Tax Institute which has given me this great opportunity to travel and live abroad.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in tax?
The best advice I could give to someone starting out is not to overlook the softer skills. It’s surprising how far someone can get in a career if people enjoy working with them and being around them. You won’t get very far without a personality, no matter how impressive your tax technical knowledge may be!