Steffi Morgan studied law at UCC and is now a senior manager in our tax practice. Read her tax career story here, or watch her short video at the end of this post.
As the youngest child of a big family, there were always current affairs discussions in our house when I was growing up. I was always curious about topics like how tax operates in practice, or why Ireland is such an interesting place for corporations to establish from a tax perspective.
Although I studied law at UCC, in my final year I picked up a couple of modules in the law of financial transactions and revenue law. Not only did I enjoy them, but they turned out to be the subjects I excelled in. That made me think of pursuing a tax career, instead of going down the standard route of solicitor or barrister.
Background doesn’t matter when it comes to a career in tax – we have people from the arts and from science backgrounds, as well as people who have studied accounting. But studying law has definitely been beneficial. A large part of my role involves digesting the Finance Act every year, going through the tax legislation and ongoing international developments with a view to advising companies of the impact of ongoing changes on their business. I draw heavily on my law background for this, and it has led me towards focusing a lot of my time on tax advisory services.
I’ve seen enormous change in the seven years I’ve been with the firm. The profession is changing and the skills required are changing, too. When I started a lot of the work was still quite manual. We have streamlined a lot of our key processes. As an example, the team I worked on was responsible for automating part of the audit of tax process, cutting out several thousand hours of junior and senior associate work over the last couple of years. This frees us up to work on other more interesting areas where we can really add value. Thinking outside the box and coming up with creative solutions are a big part of the role of a modern tax professional.
I enjoy that it’s a dynamic and fast-paced job, and what I do day-to-day is hugely varied. I have an existing portfolio of tax compliance clients, ranging from small indigenous businesses to multinational corporations, who I liaise with throughout the year and prepare their corporation tax returns on an annual basis. That work is ongoing throughout the year. But I also do a lot of work now in terms of readiness for Brexit, looking at businesses and how they are going to adapt from a tax perspective when/if the UK leaves the EU, given the regulatory challenges posed. I regularly collaborate with our UK and US tax colleagues to support clients who want to move to Ireland.
On top of that, we are a training firm, and we really invest in our people. I act as a career counsellor to a number of colleagues, providing coaching and supporting their development. I act as a sounding board for things like organisation and prioritisation of workload and identifying a career focus, which I think are big parts of the learning of a training contract.
From year one assistant to partner level our team is really diverse. We annually hire people straight from college and we regularly welcome experienced professionals from all over the world – from the middle east, from South America, from the US. That’s the good thing about working in professional services in general and EY FS in particular – there are always new people joining, and you’re always working with different teams and interacting with different people. We all learn from each other, which helps us come up with the best solutions for the client.
If you are interested in pursuing a tax career, please see our current vacancies here.