Tax accountants work with clients on their financial and income tax statements. Tax accountant jobs tend to involve regular hours, except towards the end of the tax year when the hours can increase significantly.
What is a tax accountant’s role?
The main role of a tax accountant is to ensure that the right amount of tax is paid on the client’s earnings and on their investments.
Tax accountants must keep up to date with changes in tax laws that could affect their clients, and be able to advise them where opportunities for legitimate tax savings can be found.
The role also covers helping clients to look ahead and plan their finances.
Becoming a tax accountant
A basic requirement for the role is a high level of numeracy.
It’s not all numbers, though. Tax accountants need to be good communicators: you will have to make sense of complex information and explain it in a way that a non-specialist can clearly understand.
Although people working in financial services can offer tax advice, if you are interested in really developing a career in this field you should study for a professional qualification in taxation, such as those offered by the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) or the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT).
There are a number of possible routes into this career. The more common ways to become a tax accountant include:
- Joining a company as a trainee and receiving professional training as your career progresses.
You will need at least GCSEs in English and Maths, alongside good grades in two or three A levels
- Starting a graduate training scheme after your degree
Many financial companies and banks offer training to graduates with a good degree in any subject (although Accountancy or Maths may help).
- Transferring skills and experience gained in a related profession, such as law
- Training via a Higher Apprenticeship route
If you are working in tax, and have the relevant qualifications, your employer may put you through a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Professional Services (Tax)
Training and development
At work you will learn on the job from qualified tax advisers and be working towards either an ATT or CIOT qualification.
- To complete an ATT award you need to pass three exams and two online assessments. With two years’ work experience and the exam you can become an ATT member and, if you wish, go on to qualify as a chartered tax adviser
- From the Higher Apprenticeship route you can take further training through ATT or CIOT
Skills required in the role
You may be working with large companies, smaller businesses or individuals. It is likely that you will specialise in a specific area of taxation, such as corporate tax, VAT, international tax, personal tax or inheritance and trusts.
The main responsibilities and skills required of a tax accountant are:
- Meeting clients and discussing their financial situation – you will need good interpersonal skills
- Gathering information to calculate their tax – you will need exceptional numeracy and organisational skills
- Completing tax returns and auditing tax records – you will need a good eye for detail
- Finding ways to reduce a client’s tax liabilities – this requires problem solving skills and in-depth knowledge of complex tax laws
- Talking with HM Revenue and Custom for your client – great negotiation skills will help here
Starting your career?
If you have the skills, personality and training required why not browse the selection of tax accountant jobs that are currently available?
Whether you are interested in working with corporations, small businesses or individuals there are numerous roles that are looking for someone like you to fill their vacancies.