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19 October 2017
by Leanne Davy

Thinking of starting a career in tax? ForrestBrown’s refreshing culture may be right up your street

Group of ForrestBrown Tax Associates

There comes a point in everyone’s life when they realise they need to change something for one reason or another. When that change is your career, there’s a great deal at stake, so it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. But at the same time, if you want a different life – after all you spend most of your life at your place of work – then why not experience a different way of living? Not everyone is daring enough to make the jump, but our tax associates, Andrew and Gemma, bravely took stock of their careers and switched to ForrestBrown.

Taking that leap

When Gemma left her seven-and-a-half-year teaching post to pursue a career in tax, she felt it was no longer good enough to wait for the right time: ‘I had felt a compelling need to do something that would challenge me differently to teaching, and I knew I just had to take that leap.’ In view of her aim, she began pursuing the Association of Tax Technicians (AAT) training qualification in April 2016, whilst still working as a primary school teacher.

Straight after graduating from university with a degree in Law, Andrew went to work for a legal insurance firm for six years. Early this year, on the recommendation of a recruitment agent who was very enthusiastic about ForrestBrown, he began investigating the company and realised that it was possible to work as a tax associate while gaining accredited tax and accountancy qualifications.

The not-so-dreaded interview

Unlike many places where interviews are formal – ForrestBrown takes a more relaxed and welcoming approach. Andrew found out first-hand when he turned up suited and booted: ‘I realised that I was perhaps a little overdressed for the occasion when I noticed one of the interviewers had a pair of smart jeans and a shirt on.’

Gemma instantly felt at ease when she arrived: ‘everyone was friendly, and genuinely pleased to meet me. I got the chance to have a little chat with a few of the employees before the interview which helped to settle my nerves.’

What you can bring to the firm

At ForrestBrown we realise that people from different backgrounds all have something to bring to the table, and that skills can crossover from one profession to another.

Andrew puts it this way: ‘my job here is a mix of skills – it’s not merely popping numbers onto a sheet. My numeracy skills are naturally put to good use, but there’s a lot of information gathering from various sources and putting it all together into an understandable format. You also need to be able to talk to clients from a huge range of industries, and at many different levels.’

Gemma brought a lot of skills from her previous role, too, like ‘time management, the ability to put things simply and concisely – especially when dealing with complex procedures, personal relations, personal planning, organisation and of course meeting deadlines.’

What you need to have

It may seem a little cliché, but ‘all I needed was the desire to improve my knowledge and just simply the desire to learn and be willing to work hard. It is quite reassuring to see that there are lots of other colleagues from different work backgrounds – a lot haven’t come from tax, so I didn’t feel that alone and unique’, says Andrew.

Ongoing training  

Both Gemma and Andrew are studying for their Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) certification, though they’re not alone. ‘There are about 7 of us doing exams at my grade. We get together at lunch times for an intensive study session and also have evening sessions, for that extra support’, says Gemma, ‘as if that weren’t enough, we also have regular mock exam sessions which the directors invigilate, so we get to have a feel for what to expect on exam day.’

A thoroughly supportive culture

We have an incredibly supportive network here. What strikes our new recruits most is that ‘everybody wants you to do your best ’ and ‘if you have a particular deadline to meet and you’re struggling, there are always plenty of willing hands to help.’

Our employees describe the culture as: ‘relaxedprogressiveyoungenergetic – and accommodating, unlike some other firms.’

What are you waiting for?

‘Coming over to ForrestBrown has been my best ever decision to date’ emphasises Andrew. ‘I’ve been here for six months and have a portfolio of clients I see and take care of. You get to see projects from start to finish, unlike my previous work where I dipped in and out of different cases without seeing the outcome. You get that end-to-end experience which is great for development. I get lots of support from my manager and team. Despite my fears, making that move has definitely been worth it!

Thinking about a change of career?

Already in tax and want a fresh approach to tax consulting with a professional, down-to-earth and approachable firm? Feel free to arrange a chat with us in our office, please get in touch here.

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