Hi, I’m Michéal Curtin and I work in Perth with EY.
Michéal – tell us about your path from college to your first job
I graduated from NUI Galway with a first class honours degree in Corporate Law. As my Dad is an accountant and a member of the Irish Tax Institute, tax was always on my mind as a potential career choice, however, I wasn’t sure whether to go down the commerce or legal route. In the end, I felt that I had a good background in accountancy, and that this, together with the legal research skills acquired through my degree, would stand me in good stead for a career in tax.
Before my final year in university, I spent a few months working with Cahill Taxation Services in Ennis which gave me a good insight into what a career in tax might be about. From there, I decided that I wanted to work for an international company and applied to the Big 4 for a graduate tax position. I interviewed with Deloitte Dublin and I started in their corporate tax department a year later.
So tell us about how you ended up in EY Perth
After 3 years of combining work in Deloitte with study in the Irish Tax Institute, I qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA). I really began to seriously consider working abroad and after I had gained one year’s post qualification experience, I decided to up-sticks and move to Australia where I now work as a Senior Consultant in EY’s transfer pricing department in Perth.
Our team in EY Perth really highlights the international element of what we do as our transfer pricing department consists of people from the Australia, the UK, China, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland.
Away from work, Western Australia is famous for its sunshine, laid back lifestyle and scenic beaches. EY Perth has a very active social club that ensures that everyone has a good work lifestyle balance and so, as someone who loves the outdoors, it really is a great place to live.
You work in transfer pricing - What is that about?
Transfer pricing rules basically mean that multinational companies must charge the same prices for goods and services to their subsidiaries and parent companies as they would charge unrelated companies. In other words, companies aren’t allowed to charge artificially low or high cross-border prices for the purpose of lowering their taxes. On a day to day basis, I assist clients in pricing cross border transactions and ensuring that their global profits are allocated appropriately across different jurisdictions.
How did the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification prepare you for your job?
What I liked about the qualification is that you are faced with real life scenarios and problem questions, rather than legislation and tax tables. This means that the exam questions are similar to the challenges I come across on a daily basis at work. The qualification has really helped me to develop my advisory skills and respond to my clients’ queries concisely and with the information they need to know.
Also, although I work in quite a specialist area now, the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification has given me a solid grounding across all areas of tax, which has helped me to view the particular facts and circumstances that I come across in my job in a wider context.
Any words of wisdom for those considering a career in tax?
Do not be put off if you currently have no knowledge of tax - I had a very limited knowledge of tax when I left university!
In addition, while the combination of working and studying can be challenging at times, the on-the-job training really does help and the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification is a great qualification to have.
When I started out, I had no idea where my career would go and I hadn’t even heard of the term “transfer pricing”. A career in tax and the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification will open up many opportunities, both at home and abroad.
To find out more about a career in EY, visit their website.