Christine Kearney, is a Chartered Tax Adviser who specialises in providing tax advice to Irish entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals. She is the Founder of and Independent Tax Adviser with Venga People.
Prior to taking the big and brave step into the world of self-employment Christine worked in various tax roles including Tax Adviser, Assistant Vice President and Senior Trust Professional with Twomey Moran (Ireland), Maples Group (Grand Cayman) and FFP (Cayman Islands).
We caught up with Christine recently to find out a bit more about her and to gain an insight into her career journey so far. Here, in the second of a 3-part series about diversifying your career as an Irish Tax Advisor, Christine also shares her best advice, this time focusing on the role of the tax advisor in general and how important and exciting the role in practice can be.
One of the most diverse roles…
The role of a tax advisor is one of the most diverse roles in the legal and financial services industry. In Ireland, tax is a consideration in every commercial, private investment or transactional decision. In line with that as a tax advisor you get the opportunity to build strong relationships with clients and provide tailored solutions to their needs.
As an example with my work I personally specialise in advising private clients and business owners and a large part of my job is getting to understand the client’s motives and objectives, not only from a commercial perspective but also from an emotional and personal perspective.
I typically deal with clients that are establishing, expanding, or exiting a business. While this is an exciting milestone to advise on, it can also be a stressful time for clients, and they sometimes need support that goes beyond pure tax advice.
My other main focus area around private wealth and succession planning. This often goes hand in hand with planning for a business exit. Again, emotional intelligence is required here as the conversation with clients usually involves determining efficient investment structures, lifestyle funding and what will happen on their demise.
As a tax adviser you have to understand the clients wishes when it comes to bringing their children into the conversation. You have to ask questions such as – are the children mature enough to handle a substantial gift or inheritance? Are they ready to control the family business? Should we be putting a structure in place that will benefit not just this generation, but generations to come (I have to admit to creating some ‘Trust Fund Babies’!)? This is just a drop in the ocean in terms of the variety of tax planning I do on a weekly basis.
Positives, and not so positives, about working for yourself.
I chose the route where I work for myself. With that comes lots of opportunities and challenges, and there are lots of positives and not so positives with it too. To help shed some light on these I’ve added in just a few below…
- Greater opportunities.
- Location independent working.
- It is really exciting to be building a personal brand.
- I have control over the type of work I take on, allowing me to focus on the areas I enjoy most.
- Networking opportunities.
- Higher earning potential.
- I have much greater job satisfaction as I am creating a business which is tailored to suit my lifestyle.
- Ability to work with multiple firms and advisors.
Not so positives:
- The buck stops with you!
- If you don’t continuously seek new opportunities, they won’t come your way.
- It’s can be hard to switch off as I am always thinking of ways to evolve and grow the business and my brand.
- If you are unproductive, you’re not getting paid!
How has Barden helped and supported you in getting where you are today?
I’ve worked closely with the Barden team for quite a while, in particular with Aideen Murphy.
Barden helped me navigate unchartered waters, speaking to corporate firms about the prospect of working as a corporate freelancer. They helped me determine the appropriate hourly rate for a freelancer, taking into consideration the fact that it is cheaper for a company to hire a freelancer when compared to hiring an employee.
Aideen and the team check in with me regularly to ensure both me and the companies I work with are satisfied with the arrangement. They also kindly invited me to the Irish Tax Institute gala with them in Dublin last year which was a great opportunity to meet past colleagues and peers.
Whenever I speak to a professional who is interested in securing a freelance contract, I am sure to send them to Barden!
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