Laura Cook

Tax Manager, PwC

Once I’ve had my morning cup of tea, I’ll check my calendar and emails to see what lies ahead. Every day is unique which keeps me interested and engaged. Some examples of my tasks include reviewing work prepared by my team, meeting with clients, preparing proposal documents for potential work and researching tax legislation and articles. More recently, I’ve had an active role in collaborating with our marketing team regarding tax events and communications. My work also involves working closely with the audit and advisory departments, as well as with other PwC offices in different locations around the world.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
Analytical skills to read technical articles and legislation
Organisation to deal with a number of clients and projects
Self-motivation to push projects through to completion

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
I originally started my career at PwC as a school leaver in the audit department, where I spent four years auditing a range of clients in banking, real estate and private equity. Whilst I enjoyed many aspects of the job such as the team work and the accounting methodology, I didn’t see myself being an auditor forever. Tax was always an area that I was interested in and one that I was really curious to further explore. So, two years ago, I set about organising an internal secondment to the tax department after having a really helpful career chat with one of the Tax Directors here. This worked out really well and has resulted in a permanent move to the Tax team for me.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
Every day brings a different challenge. At PwC, we work on a variety of different clients (corporate, partnerships, trusts, personal) and also many different areas of tax; this is something that you wouldn’t experience in a big city, where you become very specialised in a single area. No two pieces of work are the same and I find the variety extremely motivating.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
As with all jobs, there are deadlines which must be met. The consequences of not meeting tax deadlines could be risky and result in financial consequences. It is therefore necessary at times to work longer hours and remain calm under pressure to ensure that the work is completed on time.

What training / quali cations did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
All graduates and school leavers at PwC are required to take either the ACCA or ACA qualification. I qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) in January 2016 so I’m not currently studying towards another qualification. My aim for the next 12 months is to focus on developing my experience on the job. However, I am very open to taking tax- specific qualification in the future such as Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) or Advanced Diploma in International Taxation (ADIT), which some of my colleagues have completed. I think it is important to ensure that you stay technically relevant in such a fast- changing industry.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
It’s a common misconception that you don’t get to travel as much working in tax, in comparison to areas such as audit and advisory. My experience has been quite the contrary! Most recently, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to places such as the UK and Prague, with more destinations on the horizon over the next 12 months.