Financial Services Ireland

career journeys

The teams are super friendly – Karl’s story of working in Tax

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Karl Smyth shares his experiences of moving from industry to work with our Tax Practice at EY Financial Services – read his experiences here or watch his short video at this end of this post. 

My career path has been quite varied; I spent 20 years in industry before moving into professional services. I’ve worked as a programmer and went from there into HR, then into project management and operations before moving to professional services.

My last role before this one was around process improvement in banking, using technology to automate the more mundane, routine tasks. That has parallels with what we’re trying to achieve in Tax, where we’re looking at technology and process sciences to streamline processes, so that we can focus on more value add activities.

In industry I would have dealt with a lot of the Big Four firms. Probably what strikes me about EY over the others is the diversity of backgrounds here. We have a lot of people coming from different industry sectors, backgrounds and cultures and it means everyone is bringing a different perspective. The teams are super friendly, very supportive and helpful.  I find that people here want to learn as much from me as I want to learn from them.

Because VAT is a transaction tax it generates a huge amount of data and paperwork. Skills like IT, AI and data analytics are becoming increasingly important in the field – especially as the tax authorities around the world are now using these technologies to interrogate a company’s data.

There are typically two sides to VAT – advisory and compliance. I work primarily on the compliance side, helping clients to remain compliant with VAT law and tax authority requirements.  I also work with our clients to help them streamline and automate every aspect of their VAT operation, from the initial identification and collation of relevant transaction data right through to the filing of their returns with the tax authority. I also help clients identify and understand the VAT implication of various business transactions, or entities joining or leaving their corporate group, etc.

There’s a lot of variety in the role. Working in industry, you’re very much focused on your own business and the transactions that you’re undertaking, whereas in practice, every client has different needs and motivators. My clients include funds, insurance companies, banks and aviation companies, which keeps things interesting.

It’s exciting to be part of a team that’s experiencing such rapid growth and development. Because we’re a new team, we can shape how the business forms, without legacy constraints. When I started it was just myself and the partner, Eamonn, and we’re now a team of six and counting. We all come from varied backgrounds – there are people from the banking, licensed betting and pharmaceutical industries on the team, working across advisory, compliance and operations. We’re looking for people whose skills can bring value to the team and who will help us continue to grow.

If you are interested in pursuing a tax career with EY Financial Services, please see our current vacancies here