Hi! My name is Robert Mortell and I work with MetLife Innovation Centre in Ireland.
Robert, tell us about your college degree and your summer internships?
I did a BA in Law & Accounting at the University of Limerick.
As my degree allowed me to go on a work placement in third year of college, I decided that I would try an internship in an accounting firm in the summer of my second year. I was fortunate to be accepted onto a summer internship in KPMG’s tax department and soon decided that I wanted to return the following year for my work placement. It seemed to me that a career in tax was the perfect balance for my law and accounting skill set.
What happened when you graduated?
I was lucky enough that my summer internship and work placement year in KPMG Ireland had been rewarded with an offer for a training contract to become a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and a Chartered Accountant. This contract also allowed me to enrol in Smurfit Business School in UCD to do a Masters of Accounting.
Two years later, after graduating with a bachelor and a masters degree, I returned to KPMG’s offices in Dublin to begin my new job as a tax trainee.
How did you find studying for the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification?
Shortly after starting my training contract in KPMG, I began to study for my Part 2 tax exams. This would be my first set of professional exams with the Irish Tax Institute. It was comforting to meet many of my college friends in the tax lectures, as we were all working in various firms across Dublin.
What I really liked was that the tax lectures all took place at the weekend. This was very helpful as it did not interfere with the working week or with my evenings.
Overall, I found the CTA qualification challenging but very interesting and rewarding as it provided the foundations for my future career progression.
So Robert, please tell us more about how your career has developed since qualifying as a CTA?
After I completed my qualifications as a CTA and Chartered Accountant, I spent some time working as a senior tax consultant in KPMG. My role had developed in a way that enabled me to engage with lots of clients from lots of different industries, and I thrived on the variety of challenges each project offered – from cryptocurrencies to charities and everything in-between.
I opted to study for the Advanced Diploma in International Taxation as further study and later took an opportunity to join a client and work in-house in the newly opened MetLife Innovation Centre in Galway. This was a great opportunity to apply my skills to a start-up technology company and also experience working in a Fortune 500 company. My role in MetLife now involves managing internal tax matters and pursuing projects in the EMEA region with a team of tax colleagues who mostly trained in KPMG also.
How do you find balancing study, work and personal commitments?
Finding the right balance is always fun in a busy office but, with the help of my colleagues, we always aim to ensure a happy balance is struck.
After starting on the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) program in KPMG, I found myself putting together a multi-year plan with a view to reaching the summit of Mt Everest. Never one to find myself bored, the following few years involved lots of study in tax/accounting/mountaineering, plenty of work and an abundance of physical training to ensure I was fully prepared to safely meet all the targets I had set myself.
I find myself truly grateful to those who facilitated me in reaching all of my career & extra-curricular goals during the term of my KPMG training contract. It was a remarkable success in hindsight, and one which I could never have realised without the support & encouragement of those around me. Having had my professional skillset recognised as a level-headed problem-solver with an aptitude for high altitude mountaineering, I even created a new opportunity to lead Himalayan expeditions as a profession but I think I will hold back on those for now!
Now that I am safely back in Ireland, I am looking forward to progressing my career as a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA)!