Every year, M+A Partners runs a Trainee Programme welcoming graduates and school leavers to the firm across a variety of roles within our Tax, Accounts or Audit teams.

Our programmes are designed to make it possible for new recruits to develop their business skills whilst completing more formal training and studying towards a professional qualification.

One of our Trainee Tax Advisers joined us in 2023 after working at another firm. She is now working towards a Chartered Tax Adviser qualification.

We asked her to tell us about her experience as a Trainee Tax Adviser and for any advice she may have for those looking to follow in her footsteps.

Q&A with a Trainee Tax Adviser

What skills do you think are essential in tax advisory?

There are several skills that are essential in tax advisory. I think organisation is a key one; you will be asked to work with a variety of clients and without a good organisation system, this can become very difficult. Communication is another skill I think is essential. Trainees will eventually progress to have their own portfolio of clients and will be required to communicate with them regarding their tax affairs.

What does a typical day look like in your role?

It’s very difficult to describe a typical day as each day is different. There are so many aspects of tax, and you never really know what tasks or problems you will need to overcome until you come into the office. Especially as a trainee, you can be asked to help with a wide range of clients/projects.

How has your role evolved since you started?

When I first started as a trainee, I found the first few weeks quite overwhelming. However, as I progressed and became more familiar with the role, I became more confident which was evident through my work as well as my personality. Everyone in the office is always keen to help and asking questions is encouraged. I have come a long way since I first started as I gained so much experience and knowledge in such a short amount of time. Everyone here is constantly learning and you are never made to feel silly for not knowing the answer to a question.

What do you least enjoy about your role?

Sometimes it can get a bit stressful and overwhelming, especially towards January, however, people are always around to help. My line manager always checks in on me to make sure that I’m okay and that my workload is manageable.

How have you found the training experience?

Having worked for a previous firm before moving to M+A, I can say that the training and support here is exceptional. Trainees have guided study and revision days leading up to the exam and are rewarded for their exam success. I was provided with both physical and online versions of the study manuals, and we are required to sit regular practice tests/exams to ensure that we are on track.

What was the biggest hurdle when working towards the qualification?

Having a work-study-life balance. Sometimes it’s easy to underestimate how much time you need to dedicate to revision, especially when it gets closer to the exams. You end up having to give up evenings after work and weekends to revise. As draining as this can sometimes feel, you have to be disciplined. At the end of the day, you are working towards a qualification that will help you progress and by not dedicating the time, you will only be limiting yourself.

Do you have a favourite or least favourite module from the training?

I have a love-hate relationship with all modules – there’s always something I really enjoy and something I find very difficult to get my head around but that’s all part of the learning process. You will also see elements of study at work which has further supported my learning and allowed me to put into practice the knowledge I have learnt.

Can you share any tips for anyone who is looking to start their career in tax advisory?

Find a good firm that will support you both academically and career-wise. You want to join a firm that believes in you and wants you to progress through your career as much as you do. Without a good system in place, you will be limited in what you can achieve. One aspect I especially like about M+A is that I have been exposed to so many different areas of tax. Some firms will place their trainees in just one specific area, which can make it very difficult as a trainee in the long run because you end up being limited or may even specialise in an area you’re not entirely happy with.