A Graduate Journey: From Lockdown Graduation to Entrepreneurial Tax

This post is part of our Entrepreneurial team’s regular series of blogs.

Looking back to the 26th of March last year, I was a quarter of the way through my third year at university when the country was plunged into its first lockdown. The beginning of the pandemic changed many things in my life, as it did for everyone else. Daytime outings turned into zoom quizzes (which I’m sure everyone is fed up with now), and university completely changed in a matter of days. Long gone were the days of going to a lecture in a theatre; instead you could tune in from the comfort of your own home. Then came the news that exams would take place online (to every student’s delight). Completing exams in my bedroom was a surreal experience considering that, for the previous five years, I’d been doing them in large halls with invigilators watching my every move. Instead, the only concern I had – other than the paper itself – was making sure that I didn’t get unwanted visitors whilst trying to complete it.

Heading into my fourth year, I began to think about what my career after university would look like. The pandemic created uncertainty for every student in their final year. Graduating in what would become one of the worst economic periods in history presented me with anxiety, as I started to wonder whether the four years of university I was about to complete had even been worth it. After hearing the news that graduate jobs would be in short supply for the remainder of 2020, I began to assume the worst…

Flash forward to early 2021, and I began actively looking for what would be my graduate job. At the time, I was unsure about my career path, but I had a couple areas of interest from my studies and identified tax as being the predominant one. After scouring site after site and speaking to careers advisers, I finally came across an advert for C+T’s Entrepreneurial Tax Team. As I had only seen personal and corporate tax roles, this immediately stood out to me as it was such a unique role! After researching the sort of work the team did, I knew that it was exactly what I was interested in and would love to learn more about. After an extremely well-handled interview process, I was offered the role and couldn’t have been more delighted to start. From then on, I was counting down the days until I started.

Heading towards the end of May my start date began approaching. I’d just finished my final university exams a couple of weeks prior and was glad to get started right away. To begin with, I wasn’t sure how working from home was going to go, especially as I would be starting fresh in a brand-new environment. The typical questions rushed through my head: would I be able to get to know everyone, and would training from home be difficult?

At my first meeting a range of terms went flying over my head and I was worried I’d never understand what they meant or get to grips with what was going on. I expected a very steep learning curve and whilst I have felt the work is challenging, I am finally starting to get to grips with much of the work that we carry out here: from EMI valuations to preparing EIS applications. Without thinking, I’m now using the same acronyms that seemed so foreign to me only a couple of months ago.

The process of integrating into the team has been seamless, mainly thanks to just one thing: just how welcoming and supportive the Entrepreneurial Tax department is here at C+T. I would never have imagined how easy it would be to get to know a group of people through a screen, and it shows that there was absolutely no reason at all to be concerned about starting in a remote environment, especially here at C+T.

Interested in joining our team? See our vacancies here.

Joining the team: beginning my career in C+T’s Entrepreneurial Tax Team

This post is part of our Entrepreneurial team’s regular series of blogs.

Ever since I discovered Tax as a subject during my undergraduate degree, it has been my goal to pursue it as a career. In my 4 years at university, Taxation was my favourite course and it was the first time during my degree that I felt confident in what I wanted to do after graduating. Although it has felt like quite a journey to reach that goal, it has been well worth it.

Starting my role as a graduate trainee with Chiene + Tait almost a year on from finishing my university exams has been a big change, especially as I spent the last year working as a self-employed artist. When the first lockdown was announced back in March 2020, I felt as though there was suddenly an extra hurdle in front of me, blocking my path to beginning my career. However, looking back now, I feel as though it was an important part of the journey. I had the chance to try a completely different career path from the one I had planned, and it was nice to be able to stretch my creative muscles. I spent a lot of the year painting animal portraits and creating illustrations, and I had the opportunity to try running my own little business. The experience taught me a lot, but it also gave me the time to reflect and really think about what I wanted to do with my future, and it ultimately confirmed to me that what I really wanted was to pursue a career in tax.

I have now been in my role as Entrepreneurial Tax Trainee with Chiene + Tait for just over 2 months, and, despite joining from my make-shift home office in my dining room, I feel as though I have already begun to settle in as part of the team. After a couple of months as trainee, I am confident I am exactly where I need to be. I am really enjoying learning about the entrepreneurial side of tax, as it was an area I never got to explore while I was at university. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to be involved in calls and interactions with clients, which has been great. Having spent a lot of time working in customer service, it is something I have developed a passion for, and I like that our firm combines a focus on customer service with technical advisory in a professional environment. The diversity in the clients we work with in the entrepreneurial team and getting to see the fascinating work they are doing makes the job even more enjoyable.

It is a little strange to start a new job working from my own home, and while it has its perks – particularly the 10 second commute to my desk – I am really excited for the days when we can get back in the office and have the chance to meet and get to know the team and others within the firm better.

Overall, I have been completely blown away by how friendly and supportive everyone has been since I joined, as well as by how much I have already had the chance to learn from the team. It makes all the work – the 4 years of university, the months spent gaining work experience, and the many hours spent completing job applications – feel worthwhile.

Interested in joining the C+T team? Find more information and our vacancies here.

Paying your fees by direct debit

Direct debit is one of the easiest, quickest and most secure payment methods available, and all transactions are covered by the Direct Debit Guarantee. If you would like to reduce your admin time and settle your fees by direct debit, please complete, sign and return a Direct Debit mandate.

You can submit the signed form by email to accounts@chiene.co.uk or by post to Accounts, 61 Dublin Street, Edinburgh EH3 6NL. If using email, please put ‘Direct Debit’ in the subject line. Please advise if you have a preference for the collection date (mid/end of month).

Once the completed form has been returned to us, we will advise you when the direct debit instruction has been set up and confirm the date of the first collection.

If you sign up to pay fees this way you will continue to receive fee invoices but payment for monthly fees will be on or just after the 15th or the 28th of each month. For other invoices the payment date will be at least 10 working days from the date of the invoice.

For more information, please contact accounts@chiene.co.uk

Chiene + Tait launch Just for Jess Challenge

In the summer of 2019 our beloved colleague Jessica Welsby tragically passed away whilst on secondment in Australia. In her memory, at the end of August, Jess’ family will undertake the Just for Jess Challenge and cycle from her home in St Helens to Edinburgh, a total of 230 miles in aid of SADS UK. Additionally, our AGN partner firm, Ashfords in Australia plan to complete their own 230 mile challenge.

We at Chiene + Tait are proud to support the Welsby family and set a target of 230 miles that our colleagues will aim to reach on their own throughout the month of August, or join a relay, all whilst aiming to reach a fundraising target of £2,300 that will be donated to the charity the Welsby family have nominated – SADS UK.

We would be grateful for any support towards helping us reach our fundraising target and look forward to supporting the Welsby family with our own Just for Jess Challenge.

Finishing university and returning to C+T: all from my bedroom

In this blog, Entrepreneurial Tax Trainee Sarah Gibbens talks through the last months of finishing university and starting her new job at Chiene + Tait – all through lock down.

 

Many remember their final year of university fondly; sharing the last few months with your university friends before you end up miles apart, the post-exam celebrations, and travelling the world before you start work with the prospect of being a real adult. Sadly, for me, and all other 2020 graduates, this was not the case. I didn’t realise that my last, physical day at university was in fact my last. Coronavirus was certainly around at that time, but the world was yet to descend into full lock down. And so, as we broke up for Easter break I assured my friends that I would be back in town come a week or two, and made plans for our return. We didn’t realise quite how much the world was about to change.

It was almost like a dystopian dream when the PM appeared on our television screens to announce lock down, I’m sure many of you felt the same. Universities subsequently began to scramble to get us all online so that we could finish our degrees. Thankfully, the end of my degree wasn’t as stressful as it was for others. Unlike most other people, I’m still not sick of my dissertation topic (the benefits of being a modern history student mean that you get to choose topics such as the Kennedy brothers’ involvement in the plots to assassinate Castro) and my final economics exam was replaced by an essay that was shockingly also very interesting.

However, the end to my degree was still anticlimactic. Clicking submit on ‘Turn-it-in’ doesn’t quite have the same satisfaction levels as handing in a bound copy of your dissertation or leaving the exam hall for the last time and finding your friends waiting to soak you with water, as is university tradition at St. Andrews. For the months I had before starting at Chiene + Tait, I had this strange feeling that I hadn’t actually finished at university.

Coming back to C+T was something I had been looking forward to ever since receiving my job offer, after my internship last summer. Everyone in the team had been so friendly and the work in Entrepreneurial Tax had been incredibly interesting. The knowledge that I already got on well with the team, and enjoyed the work made my last year at university somewhat more relaxing, as I didn’t face the pressure my peers were under, not just to find a job but to find one that I liked as well.

As the world pandemic developed and the weeks turned into months, my start date for C+T began to quickly approach but lock down remained firmly in place. This made me somewhat apprehensive about starting. Many of my friends had their jobs postponed until next year, but thankfully C+T emailed to let me know that I’d be starting from home remotely. This again left me with many questions, however, as I had no idea what it would be like to start a new job from my bedroom.

However, beginning my new job at the firm has helped to make it feel like my life is moving forward once again. Although it has only been a few days, the remote start to my work has been an easy and enjoyable process.  Everyone at C+T has been extremely helpful and welcoming, and I already feel part of the team. I’ll admit it is odd working from home, especially when my flatmates aren’t in full-time work, meaning that I seem to be living in a  different time zone to them when it comes to our waking hours, but having my morning commute reduced to from one side of the room to the other is definitely something that I could get used to!

As I continue my career at C+T, I’m looking forward to developing my knowledge of Entrepreneurial Tax and working towards my tax qualifications. As much as I am so far enjoying working from home, I am also excited for when the world starts to return to some semblance of normality and I can meet my colleagues properly, rather than through a grainy camera screen. It’s uncertain when that will be possible, however, so for the moment we’ll have to wait until we can see each other in HD once again.

Sarah Gibbens, Chiene + Tait Entrepreneurial Tax Trainee

 

My advice for anyone taking a remote tax exam

In this blog, C+T’s Fraser McCallum shares his experience of taking a remote tax exam to help him achieve his tax qualification, and what advice he would give others who are planning to take an exam remotely.

I was due to sit my final two exams on the ATT/CTA Tax Pathway at the start of May 2020 and, once passed, I would be a fully exam-qualified Chartered Tax Adviser. However, at the end of March the Coronavirus lock down came into effect, and The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) cancelled the majority of paper exams. Thankfully, one of my exams was only postponed and would be sat by ‘remote invigilation’ at the beginning of July.

Initially I was sceptical about taking an exam remotely, but keen to take advantage of writing my exam answer on my own computer. The exam in question was a case study with a big emphasis on structure and presentation. My theory was that the ability to re-organise and perfect a word document via a machine was surely a huge bonus, compared to writing it all out on paper.

Throughout the whole process, both the CIOT and my exam training provider were extremely helpful and provided masses of guidance, including a mock exam setup that allowed you to practice with the software with extensive FAQs.

As the exam neared I started to appreciate the various issues of remote invigilation. During the exam invigilators would watch and listen to all of the students via their webcams, so laptops and internet connections needed to be up to the task. Luckily my ‘system readiness check’ was a success and I was able to borrow a good webcam from the Chiene + Tait IT team. There were other interesting requirements too, all laid out in great detail in the CIOT’s FAQs:

  • I had to be sitting at a desk,
  • I had to have a mirror on hand and
  • My work environment had to tick a number of boxes, or I wouldn’t be allowed to go ahead.

The night before the exam an email from the CIOT outlining that some exams had already taken place, and third-party invigilation provider had experienced a few issues. They were only minor but gave me a sense everything was not going as well as expected.

On exam day, I had a start time slot and was paired up with an invigilator for the meticulous pre-exam checks. Among other things, I had to pan around the room with my webcam (including under my chair) and hold up all of my tax legislation books (I have 8!), front and back, and give them a shake!

I started my exam, and all was running smoothly. Then with 1 hour, 38 minutes to go a big error message popped up, and a few minutes later the exam software kicked me out! This was exactly what I had had nightmares about. Then ensued a half hour of sheer panic.

I attempted to find a help contact number, failed, loaded up the software again, waited several minutes for someone to acknowledge me and then had to go through all of the pre-exam checks again! Luckily, my session was recovered, and the timer had frozen, but I had been thrown completely off my train of thought and did the second half in fear of being kicked out again. Apparently, the more your connection fails, the less likely you will be allowed to continue – not the best environment to sit any exam.

In the end, I finished it and, hopefully, all was well. However, the overwhelming stress on the day came almost entirely from technology and not from the exam itself. One of my colleagues took several hours to even get access to her exam in the first place. It was not an ideal experience but unfortunately, it’s difficult to envisage any other way such important exams can be sat remotely. The CIOT have been very understanding of all issues; there will be big changes made before the next remote sittings in November.

My advice to anyone planning to sit the exams remotely in the future is:

  • Practice, practice, practice with the mock exam software provided, especially writing out a calculation or tax computation. You want to be as comfortable as possible with it on the day;
  • Do your exam somewhere your internet connection is rock solid, as the slightest interruption can kick you out of the software;
  • Talk to someone who has sat a remote exam. I would have loved to have had a chat with a co-worker who’d been through the experience before me;
  • Thoroughly read all of the guidance and FAQs, and drill into your head exactly what to do if you have a problem on the day. Remember, you can’t have any emergency notes on your desk!

Fraser McCallum is a Senior in the Chiene + Tait Corporate Tax team.

COVID-19 – Chiene + Tait: Business Continuity Plans

A statement from our Managing Partner, Carol Flockhart: 24 March 2020

This is an unprecedented time, with significant challenges both in people’s personal and work lives and the economy. We would like to reassure you that the safety of our people and the importance of continued client service are our two current operational focuses which means that we will continue to deliver our services to you in a way that protects both you and the Chiene + Tait team.

Working arrangements

We have implemented new health and safety and hygiene policies that follow all relevant governmental guidance. These include home-working policies, frequent cleaning, and sickness and self-isolation policies. Our people are able to work from home with remote access and with little disruption to communications

Meetings

It is our policy to host meetings via phone or video call until further notice. We will contact you in advance of any scheduled meetings to arrange a suitable method.

Correspondence

Whilst these current working arrangements are in place, please correspond with our team via email than by post for the time being, if possible.

Guidance and support

The UK and Scottish governments continue to announce initiatives to mitigate the impact of the situation – you can see our summary of them here.

We are also offering support to our business clients in the form of a free business diagnostic. Our Corporate Finance team can send you a questionnaire, have a subsequent telephone conversation to help you identify potential pain points for your business and identify the different government support available. More information is here.

There will be further developments to the COVID-19 situation and we aim to respond quickly and flexibly to make sure we continue to provide the level of service you expect from Chiene + Tait. We will, of course, continue to communicate any material changes or important updates to you.

We are here to help and want to ensure you are able to navigate this ever-changing situation as best you can. Please contact us if you have any questions or if you need any advice during this time.

Take care.

Carol Flockhart
Managing Partner

Leap year – an opportunity to jump ahead on life admin

In this blog, Keith Brown in our Accounts and Business Support Team advises what you should do with the extra leap day this year and get ahead of life admin.

Leap years are special. As a day that only happens once every 4 years, 29 February always feels like bonus time; all the more so as it’s a Saturday this year.

So what to do with all this spare time?

Allow me to make some suggestions. After 31 March, 31 December is the most popular year end for companies. If this is the case for you, why not pull together your accounting records and send them in? This will mean you get plenty of time to plan for any tax which is due before you need to pay it, at the end of September.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a December year end, you could take this opportunity to review your processes and business. Our Accounts and Business Support Team utilise various projection and forecasting software packages, as well as having experience of different automating software to make it easier for you to record expenses on the go. So why not drop us an email or give us a call and see if there’s a way we could make life easier for you?

From a personal perspective, it’s not to late to get some tax planning done before the tax year ends on 5 April. Budget day is approaching and with rumours of changes to certain tax reliefs. This may be your last chance to take advantage of some of these, so scheduling a meeting with someone from our Personal Tax Team will be beneficial.

Life is getting busier for all of us, so it seems to me that an ideal way to use this additional bonus time would be to get things in motion to try to counter any last-minute stresses. From a business perspective, Chiene + Tait is ideally placed to help.

Neil Norman appointed to board of international accountancy body

Neil Norman, the head of Chiene + Tait’s (C+T) Entrepreneurial Tax Team, has been appointed to the board of the global accountancy association AGN.

Representing 200 separate and independent accounting and advisory businesses in over 80 countries, AGN promotes worldwide expertise, best practice and new developments to improve the quality of accountancy services and support international operations for its clients.

As a member of the AGN board, Neil will support the organisation in its aims of increasing cross-border collaboration and further raising the standards of client service amongst its member firms. His appointment in this new role follows ongoing growth in C+T’s work with other AGN members, supporting both international and UK-based firms on advisory projects.

This appointment coincides with Neil and his fellow C+T Tax Partner John Rodger being jointly named as the firm’s new Heads of Taxation.

Carol Flockhart, C+T’s Managing Partner said: “We’re delighted for Neil on his appointment to AGN’s board. This is a strategically influential role which will promote both the firm and AGN’s Scottish membership at an international level. The appointment reflects the energy and expertise that Neil has brought to his work with the organisation.

“I’m also pleased to announce Neil and John Rodger being appointed as the new Heads of Taxation at Chiene + Tait. The joint appointment of an entrepreneurial tax expert and a property sector specialist brings a new and dynamic perspective to this role.”

Malcolm Ward, CEO of AGN International said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Neil to our board. He is an experienced and passionate professional with a proven track record as a business adviser. Neil is also a well-known figure within the UK entrepreneurial and start-up community whose involvement will further support our aim of enhancing AGN’s reputation across the world.”

Lena Wilson appointed as Chiene + Tait’s new Chair

Dr Lena Wilson CBE, one of Scotland’s most prolific and experienced business leaders, has been appointed as the new Chair at Chiene + Tait.

Dr Wilson has over 30 years’ business experience across more than 40 countries. She spent eight years as the highly-regarded CEO of Scottish Enterprise before stepping down in 2017. She is currently a non-executive director for a number of high-profile companies including FTSE 50 companies the Royal Bank of Scotland plc and Intertek Group plc.

She also serves a number of organisations in an advisory and ambassadorial capacity, including The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo and Beatson Cancer Charity, and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde Business School.

As Chair, Dr Wilson will work with C + T’s 13 partners to support them in the firm’s continued growth and development. She takes over the role on 2 December from Gavin Morton, who joined C+T in 1985 as its first dedicated Tax Partner.

Carol Flockhart, C+T’s Managing Partner, said: “Lena’s appointment as Chair is a welcome one. It highlights our firm’s ambition, and reflects the significant success and growth we’ve seen in recent years. Lena will play an important role in supporting us in the delivery of our ambitions over the next few years. As one of the most respected and accomplished business figures in Scotland, she has a wealth of experience across the global community as well as immense insight into the UK economy. We are absolutely delighted to welcome her to the firm and I look forward to working closely with her as we continue growing our business.”

Dr Wilson said: “I relish the opportunity to be joining Chiene + Tait, an independent firm that mixes a strong legacy with an energetic and intelligent focus on the future. C + T is a successful and dynamic firm which is supporting the economy through excellent advisory services to the individuals and businesses who create growth. I’m very pleased to be coming on board for this next phase of the journey where we will focus on further growth and development of the firm’s business and its people.”

Chiene + Tait Statement: Jessica Welsby

We are extremely saddened to share the tragic news of the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Jessica Welsby. Jess was a bubbly member of the Chiene + Tait team, with friends throughout the firm. She received glowing feedback from her clients and she made a positive impact with all those she met.

Jess recently took the opportunity to visit Melbourne, Australia to work with Ashfords, as part of the AGN International exchange programme, and was enjoying her time there immensely. It is with great sadness that we will not see her return.

We will miss her deeply, and all of our thoughts are with her family and friends.

Chiene + Tait confirmed as Living Wage employer

Chiene + Tait has confirmed its commitment to paying all staff a fair wage by achieving our Living Wage accreditation. Our commitment will see everyone working at the firm receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.00 in the UK or £10.55 in London. Both rates are significantly higher than the government minimum for over 25s, which currently stands at £8.21 per hour.

In Scotland, where nearly a fifth of all jobs (18%) pay less than the real Living Wage – around 404,000 jobs – Chiene + Tait has committed to pay the real Living Wage and deliver a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the costs of living. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum. Since 2001 the Living Wage movement has put back £1bn into the pockets of low-paid workers with the movement growing to over 5,500 accredited employers across the UK.

New blog: my time working in the Entrepreneurial Tax Team

Mid-way through my third year at university, summer internships seemed to be on everyone’s mind. Most people I knew were talking about the roles that they had applied for and how important internships were for putting you in a good starting position post-university. Doing an internship seemed like a great idea, it would provide me with an interesting way to fill my 3-month summer break, learn more about the working world and develop new skills. Having enjoyed the brief two weeks of work experience I had done with Chiene + Tait the previous summer, an internship with the entrepreneurial tax team seemed like the ideal opportunity.  I applied and was thrilled when I was offered an interview and even more thrilled when I was offered a six-week position with the firm.

Going from university to working at Chiene + Tait took some adjustment. I’m currently studying Economics and Modern History and I thought when I first joined the firm that studying these subjects would be vastly different to working in an accountancy firm. At university I only have around six contact hours a week  (I’m sure the English and international students must wonder what they’re paying for a lot of the time) and, although the lack of teaching time does mean a significant amount of independent study and long days spent in the library, it is often quite an unstructured working environment. Joining the firm this summer has given me an insight into what my working life could be like. I have also found that although some of the knowledge I have gained from university may not always be useful (or who knows maybe one day that modern history essay on the cultural impact of the miniskirt will come in handy), the skills I have gained often are.

‘So, what actually is entrepreneurial tax?’ A question I have been asked many times by my friends and family since starting my internship at Chiene + Tait this summer, and one that I struggled to fully answer at first. Over the past three weeks I have quickly learned what a job in entrepreneurial tax entails (although from writing this blog I’m beginning to realise that I may never learn how to spell entrepreneurial), and I have seen the great work that Chiene + Tait does for growing businesses. Throughout my time here I’ve been assigned interesting and engaging work to do with the various schemes available to companies and investors. From Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) to Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) and Research & Development Tax Credits the variety of work I have been assigned has been challenging but also enjoyable. It has shown me just how many fascinating companies the firm deals with.  I’ve even attempted some Corporate Tax which I think I might be finally wrapping my head around. In just three weeks my knowledge of Entrepreneurial Tax and other types of tax has grown substantially, and I can now provide a more detailed answer when people ask me what entrepreneurial tax is.

The work and type of clients have been very interesting but above all, being made to feel part of such a friendly team has made the whole experience very enjoyable.

Becoming a tax expert without a finance background

I joined the entrepreneurial tax team as a trainee around six weeks ago, after graduating with a degree in History. I thought it might be interesting to give the perspective of someone starting a career in tax without any kind of background in finance.

I was initially nervous coming into this job. I hadn’t done any kind of maths beyond counting change for 5 years, and in my mind I associated tax with an awful lot of maths and spreadsheets. There are indeed quite a few big spreadsheets, but after a crash course in accounts, I at least understand most of the data I have to work with (depreciation and amortisation are still somewhat mysterious concepts).

Since I started in mid-April, most of my time has been spent working on EMI and ERS returns (the details of which are too complicated to go into in this blog). Most of them are very simple to decide what needs to be done: either submitting a nil return, a return, or no return at all. Checking Companies House for any issue of shares is usually enough to see if anything reportable has gone on, but the more challenging decisions are when it’s not so simple.

Following the (sometimes virtual) paper trail to determine who was issued shares, whether they were employment-related, and so on, is very similar to carrying out research for an essay. You usually have an idea of what you’re looking for, and the hope is to find something somewhere to confirm your thesis, whether that’s an option agreement dating back several years, or finding that it’s a family-owned business and so the transfer of shares probably isn’t reportable.

The skills of analysis and reasoning are very important here, and a basic knowledge of the legislation surrounding employment-related securities is obviously required, but a lot of it is common sense, being able to pick out relevant information, and not being afraid to ask more experienced colleagues what they think about a given scenario.

I have also recently started dipping my toes into the murky waters of EIS and SEIS advance assurance, and even entrusted with writing the first draft of an EMI share valuation, where again being able to quickly scan a long business plan or similar document helps save a lot of time.

Outside of the work I’ve been doing, joining the corporate world is a profound but fascinating change from university, and it’s really interesting to see how the various departments of Chiene + Tait mesh together and interact. Events such as a biannual breakfast briefing and staff lunches help build stronger ties with colleagues that you might otherwise not regularly speak to, though exactly what goes on in audit or corporate finance is still something of a mystery to me.

The work is challenging, but rarely overwhelming, and it’s always possible to ask for clarification about something I’m finding confusing (which happens a lot, but is very slowly starting to happen less). Anyone considering a career in tax that might be put off by a preconceived notion of what tax is would probably find entrepreneurial tax to be very different to what they expected, as I have, even though at some point I suspect I will have to figure out to calculate percentage increase and decrease properly.

New AGN International report: Cyber Security: The international threat to business continuity

The largest and arguably most powerful ransomware attack the world has seen started to infect IT systems on Friday 12 May. The ‘WannaCry’ virus threw organisations in the UK, US, Russia, Germany, China and more into meltdown: 157 countries were involved in the attack. We’ve since seen additional ransomware attacks at the end of June and in August. Digital threats – long spoken-about as a potential risk – are now a day-to-day reality that organisations must face.

Welcome to the third AGN Global Business Voice Survey. In this issue we look at the recent AGN Global Business Voice (GBV) opinion panel discussion on cyber security, and how ready the panel’s clients are for future attacks.

To download the report and view the results in full, please click this link.

Chiene + Tait Statement: Niall Blair

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our colleague Niall Blair, who was a valued and respected member of our Entrepreneurial Tax Team. Niall’s humour, team spirit and natural leadership will be sorely missed by all who worked with him at Chiene + Tait. We have lost a great friend and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.