The Post: Assistant Manager, Tax, Grant Thornton
The Post Holder: Adam Lecky
No two days are ever the same for Tax Advisor and semi-professional footballer, Adam Lecky.
Give a brief outline of your career to date.
I started my career working in an accountancy firm in Omagh whilst studying for relevant tax technician qualifications. I then took a career break and spent a few years in Australia, after which I relocated back to Belfast. I worked for a short time within a mixed tax role before deciding to join Grant Thornton just over a year ago. I also play for Crusaders Football Club so I manage my football career alongside my 9-5 job.
What was your favourite subject at school?
My favourite subject was history – maybe unusual for a tax adviser! But mathematics was my strongest subject and ultimately led me to where I am today.
Did you go on to further/higher education, if so, what did you study and where?
I made the decision based on my interests and strengths to study for a Business Management degree at Queen’s University, Belfast, before going on to gain my Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) and Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) qualifications
How did you get into your area of work?
I think my university degree allowed me to develop my skillset to make the move toward tax accounting. I spent a year post-graduation working in a business analyst role, but it soon became clear that this was not what I wanted to do long term. So, I decided to undertake the necessary training and qualifications to become a tax adviser. This appealed to me as it was clear that there was ample opportunity for ongoing professional progression and development, and I viewed it as a solid career choice.
Is this what you always wanted to do?
I’m sure most people don’t tend to dream of becoming a tax adviser, but when considering where my strengths lie, my current role was an obvious choice.
Were there any particular essential qualifications or experience needed?
When starting out in a career in tax, normally you will be encouraged by your employer to undertake professional exams (typically ATT/CTA). These qualification help develop your technical knowledge as your experience grows. Studying alongside your work life can be challenging but equally rewarding.
Are there alternative routes into the job?
I think a lot of people fail to realise that you don’t need an industry-specific degree to start the journey to becoming a tax adviser, and there are also options available to school leavers to accelerate their careers within the sector. We have a wide range of backgrounds in the office with people having studied everything from law to biochemistry.
What are the main personal skills your job requires?
I think an inquisitive mindset is very important as this will allow you to think outside the box and make up your mind about how things could be done better. Attention to detail is also a prerequisite, especially when it comes to navigating complex tax issues orlegislation. Additionally, having a positive attitude doesn’t hurt, as getting stuck in and trying your best is a great way to learn and develop professionally.
What does a typical day entail?
Tax is an ever-changing area, meaning generally no two days are the same. I mainly spend my time working across compliance returns on behalf of clients to ensure that they are compliant with their specific tax requirements. I also work on corporate tax advisory projects wherein I provide advice to clients on a more ad-hoc basis.
What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?
The best aspect of my role is its fast-paced and varied nature, especially when it comes to tax advisory projects. Each piece of work is bespoke to the client, so it is important to identify their specific needs and requirements whilst also making sure that I’m abreast of the latest tax developments – in terms of both legislation and relevant government guidance.
Why is what you do important?
A lot of the work we do helps clients to ensure that they are compliant with HMRC, and as this has only become more complex in recent years, we must be able to provide clients with the support and guidance necessary to make sure that they are aware of the opportunities available to them and can take full advantage of these, whilst also avoiding any potential pitfalls.
How has Covid-19 impacted your business/role?
I started in my role at Grant Thornton during the pandemic when those who could were advised to work from home, so I spent the first few months of my time here at home as opposed to being in the office every day. However, I found that this didn’t place me at a disadvantage as technology combined with a friendly and outgoing team meant that I was able to work collaboratively with the rest of the tax department to complete projects and provide optimal service to clients.
What adjustments have you had to make?
The team at Grant Thornton has made adjusting to my new role as easy and comfortable as possible, someone is always available to provide assistance or advice – something which I am very grateful for.
What advice would you give anyone looking to follow a similar career path?
I’d advise anyone interested in pursuing a career in accountancy or tax to do so with an open mind. There are many different areas in which you can specialise, so try to get as wide a breadth of experience as you can before making your choice. Also, make sure to throw yourself into the tasks that you are given as that’s the best way to gain valuable experience.
If you weren’t doing this what would you like to do?
I love sport so I think in a dream world I’d have liked to have been a full-time professional athlete, a footballer is maybe a more obvious choice – but I would also be happy as a golfer or tennis player!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself on your first day?
I think I’d tell myself to maintain a ‘can do attitude’ and try not to pigeonhole myself – rely on your strengths and everything else will fall into place.
Describe your ideal day off.
My ideal day would be quite simple – I’d start by walking the dog in the morning, then head out for brunch before settling in with a pint in the afternoon to enjoy some live sport.
What’s the key to any successful job search?
Preparation and research are key. When looking for a new job I’ve found finding out as much as you can about the company you’re interested in to be incredibly beneficial, as this allows you to develop confidence and ask the right questions to make sure it’s the appropriate fit for your career goals.
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