Case study

Assistant tax advisor — Dimitra Sakkoula

Dimitra Sakkoula studied MSc Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and is now an assistant tax advisor at EY

My degree was really useful in preparing for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) Chartered Accountant (ACA) professional qualification

How did you get your job?

I attended seminars on how to build your CV, mock assessment centres and researched employers that I wanted to work for. I also attended campus networking events and employability skills sessions, and networked with EY employees. Here, I got to hear about their experiences of working for the company, including their expectations and how it related to their career prospects. I connected with them through LinkedIn, meeting up for a quick coffee to discuss my application and where in the business would be right for me.

Was your degree essential for the job?

It wasn't essential for my day-to-day job, but was really useful in preparing for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) Chartered Accountant (ACA) professional qualification. This is because the Masters programme was of a similar structure.

What's a typical day like?

My work is mostly project driven. However, most days include updating clients on their project work, reporting on VAT and compliance, VAT consultancy and team catch-ups. I also have discussions with my team leader to better understand the clients' challenges and how we can provide an effective solution. Most days, I have lunch with my team, which is a great way to get to know my colleagues, and we also organise social outings which helps the team to bond.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

Since joining, my role has expanded greatly. My team has given me greater responsibility to work on consulting projects and attend more client meetings.

I've been involved in projects across the different areas of the business, including a new offering for the accounting and finance market, which I'm very excited to be currently working on. I've also been lucky enough to work with colleagues across our UK offices on international projects - and with very senior people in the organisation. My ambitions for the future are to expand my technical knowledge and grow my knowledge across the industry.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working daily with our clients. I also enjoy the project-based work, as it's never repetitive or boring.

What are the challenges?

My role requires great technical knowledge, but EY provides training courses for both the VAT and Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualifications. We also get daily updates on tax issues from around the globe, which helps me feel very confident in dealing with these challenges.

What advice would you give to other students and graduates who are interested in working as a tax advisor?

I would highly recommend that they attend employers' events at their campus. I've attended - and now presented at - a lot at those events and know from experience that they are extremely helpful discussions with actual employees.

Finally, practise and prepare for assessment centres and interviews, but always remember to be yourself.