23 August 2018, Thursday - The Singapore Institute of Accredited Tax Professionals launched a new series aimed at propelling members to the top by hearing firsthand what it takes to journey there.
Going beyond the limitations of typical 1-to-1 mentor-mentee programmes yet not quite as intimidating as sharing perspectives over mass networking sessions, Tax Peek kicked off with a cosy gathering of tax professionals and tertiary students.
The small gathering was big on diversity. Besides the accountancy undergraduates, there were members from tax consultancies, law firms, foreign banks and of course, the gentleman of the evening, Kwan Chang Yew, Head of Group Tax, from DBS.
Over food, drinks (yes, booze and more!) and a healthy dose of anecdotes, the following tips were shared:
Dare to fall in love…
Find an area of tax that you are passionate in and pursue it.
Find a boss (particularly in the earlier years) who inspires and challenges you. Then, dare to take up the challenge. Making mistakes are fine but never make the same mistake twice. Grit and work hard. Learn as much as possible from him or her. It is all right to job hop but for the right reasons. Always move vertically and gain exposure in different aspects of tax with each move.
Learn the language of business.
Develop your skill in writing and presenting tax issues and points of view in the language of business. Try to avoid technical jargon and explain the tax issue according to the business strategy. This is so that your colleagues in the business units or other functions will understand the tax implications arising from their area of work.
It would be wise to take the effort to learn a little of the local language if you have an international portfolio. So, pick up a little Bahasa, Thai, Cantonese or whichever language your overseas colleagues are more familiar with. The effort will be appreciated by your regional colleagues and it also helps to break the ice initially.
Keep in touch with your friends, classmates, enemies, etc.
Tax is a very specialised field and within a relatively small community. Keep in touch with your classmates and invest your time in getting to know your peers and clients at events or simply over a cuppa.
To Tax, with Love!
About Tax Peek
Every business and individual pay taxes but every business and individual will have different tax issues and considerations when doing their taxes. Tax Peek is designed to give accredited tax professionals a peek into the tax role across different industries and insights into what it takes to peak in tax. Each session aims to inspire and be an impelling boost to greater heights in the tax profession.
About Kwan Chang Yew
Accredited Tax Advisor (Income Tax) Kwan Chang Yew has over 20 years of tax experience in Big Four, public sector and in both local and foreign banks. Currently the Head of Group Tax at DBS, Chang Yew is responsible for driving the Group’s tax policies, managing tax risks and overseeing the day-to-day operational controls over tax compliance.
Prior to this, Chang Yew has held various tax roles in the banking sector. The foundation of his wide repertoire of tax experience started with a decade’s service in tax administration and policy work at both the tax authority and the central bank in Singapore, in addition to the tax advisory services he provided in an international accounting firm.
Tax Peek will be back after tax peak (corporate tax filing season)!