Job Title: Tax Manager/Certified Public Accountant
Type of Company: I work for an asset management holding company. My company owns approximately fifteen subsidiaries. These companies are investment advisors and investment mangers, including many mutual funds.
Education: BA, Economics and Accounting, Holy Cross College
Previous Experience: I worked as a tax and audit associate at a public accounting firm for four years. I then became a senior tax associate at a private asset management company. After a few years, I decided to start my own tax practice. I recently returned to the same asset management company as the tax manager.
Job Tasks: My principal responsibility as tax manager is managing federal and state tax compliance for the holding company that I work for and its fifteen subsidiary companies. This involves completing and filing the annual federal and state corporate and partnership income tax returns - the business version of your individual tax return, sales and use tax returns, and any other required filings.
I also ensure that our companies are maintaining their business registrations across the country by filing annual reports and updating corporate officer and director information. These tax returns can take from several hours to several weeks to prepare. Additionally, I respond to any audit requests or notices and assessments that we receive from any taxing authorities.
In order to complete these tasks, I work closely with the corporate controllers or accounting managers at each of our subsidiaries and with our outside legal and accounting counsels. I also speak with representatives of the Internal Revenue Service and the various state taxation departments on a regular basis. My job requires strong analytical and research skills, and of course good mathematical skills as well!
I generally work from my regular office, although at times I might travel to visit one of our other companies. Most people are familiar with filing tax returns on April 15th, but our businesses have returns that are due at many different points throughout the year. I have 5-7 deadlines to meet each month and I receive at least one tax notice per week. These notices may request additional information about a tax return or assess additional payments or penalties.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of working in the tax and accounting industry is that it is fairly recession proof. Even when other industries are faltering, we all still need to file our tax returns! It is also interesting to research tax issues and find ways to lower our corporate tax liability.
The worst part of the job is that it is cyclical. The majority of the work, filing federal and state tax returns, is the same from year to year.
Job Tips: If you have an undergraduate degree in accounting and wish to enter the tax industry, I recommend pursuing a master's degree in taxation. The tax area is very specialized and the additional education will be an advantage both in applying for and working in a tax-related job.
Take the time to obtain your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Even though it takes a lot of study time to pass the exam and meet the required work hours, many jobs will only accept applicants who obtain and maintain their license.
Pay attention to your writing and communication skills too! I have come across many intelligent and creative people who are less effective in their jobs because they are unable to communicate and write well.
Additional Thoughts: It is important for anyone pursuing a job in taxation to be organized because there are fifty-two federal and state taxation bodies and many local authorities, all with different requirements and deadlines. Half of the daily battle is keeping track of the requirements and due dates!
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