Millennial interviews: the tax director

This week CCH Daily talks to Kate Knight, director at tax advisory firm Blend Tax, on her thoughts on automation, whether she is ready for Making Tax Digital and why the biggest challenge she faces is tax legislation

Kate Knight, 25, is a tax director at Blend Tax, a subsidiary of Blend Accountants which is based in Lancaster. She is currently studying for her joint ACA and CTA qualifications which she hopes to complete within the next two years.

Whilst working at Blend Accountants, Kate formed a 50-50 partnership with her boss to create a tax consulting company, Blend Tax, after finding her expertise and interests were in tax.

What made you go into accounting/tax?

I originally started my career at a brokers in London where I had an amazing FD who encouraged me to go into accountancy. I joined Blend Accounting where my love of tax meant that I discovered a couple of tax breaks which I went on to mention to a few clients. From there I got some phone calls from people that had heard about these tax incentives, such as R&D and capital allowance schemes ran by HMRC. I saved one local business a lot of money and so it made sense to set up a separate tax practice.

Was is the toughest challenge you have faced?

Keeping up with legislation as it is constantly changing. Companies all have completely different structures so you have to look at everything on a case by case basis. Each client is an individual challenge as no two companies are the same and there are often small parts of legislation that I may not know about. I have to search through various legislation to find one thing that suits one company perfectly but is not relevant for another, while also making sure it is correct.

What is your dream role?

I love what I am doing now now but I would like to work more with international tax. We currently have one client that is based overseas so I would like to develop this side of the practice.

Why did you choose practice over business?

I went into practice because of the diversity and I believe that the skills you learn are a lot more varied in practice. It is a lot easier to transfer from practice to business rather then vice versa.

What do you dislike about your role?

The waiting around. I can complete and send an amended tax return within a day but could then find myself waiting five weeks for the letter to come back. I will reply to that letter the same day and then have to wait again for a response.

What do you think are the most important skills to have?

Definitely people skills, it is a real advantage if you can be likeable and come across as trustworthy.

What are your thoughts on automation?

I am 100% for automation as I believe that it will make my job a lot easier, especially with all the different legislation. There will always be a need for people as a client will always trust a person more than they will trust a computer, our role is to fulfil this side and to work alongside the technology.

Are you ready for Making Tax Digital?

I am not at all worried about Making Tax Digital as we have been preparing for it by implementing a paperless office scheme and all our bookkeeping software is cloud based. If Making Tax Digital will mean that HMRC responds to me quicker, then I am totally up for it. If it makes HMRC’s life easier then it will make my life easier.

Are you under 30 years old and in the audit, accountancy or tax industry? Want to be grilled on your role? Get in touch here.

by Amy Austin

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