My name is Sinead Lew, and I work in the corporation tax department in PwC.
Sinead – what did you study at college?
I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Accounting and HR at the National College of Ireland (NCI). Then I completed the Masters of Accounting (MAcc) in Smurfit Business School.
I decided in second year in college that I was interested in tax as a career. I really enjoyed the tax modules in college - we completed two tax modules in second year, which gave me a really good insight into what tax was all about!
What skills from your degree did you find helped you later down the line in your career?
Without a doubt, communication skills. In tax, you are constantly dealing with people, be it clients, Revenue, other overseas offices or colleagues and it is crucial that you are effectively able to communicate. In tax, we are often dealing with quite technical issues and it is necessary to be able work through these issues and present them in a manner that is meaningful and appropriate for clients.
I also would have developed good teamwork skills through the various group projects that I completed as part of my degree. Being able to work as part of a team is really important and you will reap the benefits of it, as you will learn so much from working with others.
When you started work first, did the reality of the job differ from what you thought it was going to be?
I thought the job would solely be to compute an individual’s / company’s tax liability and all about numbers but it extends to so much more beyond that! You are not just solely a tax adviser - you are a general business adviser helping them to make key business/commercial decisions.
In the early days, I really don’t think I appreciated what a key role tax advisers play in transactions and how the advice that we provide is often a key decision driver and central to critical business decisions in organisations.
Can you give us some insight in to what your role involves?
I am a senior manager in the Domestic & International Outbound (DIO) market group in PwC Dublin. I work across a number of teams, reporting to senior managers, directors and partners.
I have a really diverse client base ranging from large multinational companies and high-profile retailers to small indigenous and foreign companies. This client base crosses a number of industries, including media and entertainment, energy, retail and technology.
The typical type of work I do includes, working on group reorganisations, financing project and trade transfers. More recently, I have also been involved in a number of large property transactions. I am constantly in contact with other professional bodies such as, solicitors and banks and would be in regular contact with Revenue as part of my day to day work.
What most appeals to you about your job?
The work I do is really diverse and there are constantly new projects and challenges, so you are constantly learning and developing. What most appeals to me though is working with people- interacting with colleagues and clients on a regular basis, meeting different people from different backgrounds, industries etc.
You will typically never encounter the same two scenarios in tax; there are always different facts involved, different organisations and different desired outcomes. I like that the work is so varied.
How did you find studying with the Irish Tax Institute?
Looking back, I really liked the mix of lectures and the small interactive tutorial style of the Professional Skills Workshops. I knew that I would not only be developing the essential tax technical skills, but professional skills, such as writing skills, which are as important and something that have stood to me throughout my career so far.
Throughout my studies, I received great support from the Irish Tax Institute. The lecturers were excellent and were always more than willing to answer questions and provide advice. We were also assigned a mentor, who was on-hand to give advice on a range of things, in particular how to approach the home assignment, which was really useful.
I liked the fact that that the exam questions were set in line with real-life scenarios that I had encountered in my job. This meant that once I applied myself, I managed to successfully get through my exams!
What motivates you Sinead?
I am motivated by the desire to do a good job on any project that I am involved in and be considered a trusted tax adviser by my clients.
Hopefully this will mean that in a few years’ time, I will have progressed further in my career, perhaps having spent some time working in a tax role abroad.
To find out more about a career in PwC, please visit their website.