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What should my next steps be?

Feel stuck in a role with little work-place learning

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For almost a year now I've been training in the tax department of a big FTSE 250 firm (in industry).

I was attracted to the role firstly because I did a numerate degree, secondly because it seemed to provide a great opportunity for me to apply what i'd learned at uni to real-world scenarios, thirdly because of the ACA-CTA training programme on offer and fourthly because of the salary.

As mentioned before, it's been almost a year now and I feel like I've learned very little. I've made good progress with the ACA part of the joint qualification, passing all the certificate papers first time with scores averaging in the 70s. However I feel like I've learned very little on-the-job. I get along with all my colleagues and let them know when work dries up but this happens on a very regular basis. I'm constantly running out of work and being given small bits of work unrelated to tax - like little odd jobs that feel more like a favour to my colleagues. This work is often very simple, menial spreadsheet tasks that I feel add very little value to the company. It's very rarely tax-related so I'm not learning anything new either.

I've reached a stage where I feel like if I were to have an interview elsewhere and they asked me what I'd learned on-the-job here that I'd have very little to talk about. I've not even came close to scratching the surface with any of the following taxes: corporation tax, VAT, employment taxes, income tax, capital gains tax. And I feel like if it weren't for the qualification my career would be stagnating and I would have left by now. I'm worried as I'm aware experience is perhaps the most valuable asset you can acquire in the workplace but all I'm getting from this role at the moment is the qualification (and no application of what I'm learning).

I feel like if I were to look for work elsewhere in the future, even after completing the qualification, that I'd be back to square one. As hinted at previously, I have mentioned the lack of work on numerous occasions to my manager and their boss and I have no idea what to do about the situation. They've told me that because I joined mid-way through the tax cycle that I've not been able to pick up tax-based tasks for this reason and they've been reassuring me for a while now things will change soon and I'll have a lot more work to do.

But they've been saying that for a few months now and nothing has changed. Does anyone have any advice or any recommendations? 

Replies (19)

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By Wanderer
17th Jul 2020 06:47

Quote:

Does anyone have any advice or any recommendations? 

You are one year in.
You have a job.
You are on a training programme.
You are on a good salary.
You are not stressed in the job.
You have enough time available to take your exams.
You get on with your colleagues.
You still have a lot to learn.

Many people would bite your hand off if you offered this position to them. More and more so in the next six months.

Remember the prime focus of your employer is their business, not to train you. Keep mentioning the lack of work and you may soon find yourself being made redundant.

My advice / recommendation is to stick it out & reflect on what a fortunate position you are in.

Thanks (0)
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By memyself-eye
17th Jul 2020 08:22

Wanderer is right - a year maybe a long time in politics but not in life.
Give it another year - if you are underemployed in what you do try making yourself useful elsewhere - anywhere - in the business.

Thanks (0)
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By SXGuy
17th Jul 2020 09:13

Just like to point out. Menial tasks in accountancy is all part of the real world. We don't just sit there calculating taxes.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By Paul Crowley
17th Jul 2020 09:38

Yes, most work anywhere is routine.
I am a partner in a firm of accountants. I still spend most on my time correcting or putting in place bookkeeping.
Mostly spreadsheets

Thanks (2)
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By Paul Crowley
17th Jul 2020 09:17

Not a bright time to change jobs. See how you feel in a year's time

Thanks (0)
RLI
By lionofludesch
17th Jul 2020 09:52

98.9% of tax returns are very straightforward and you won't learn much from them.

Now's not the time to be moaning - you've not even been in the job a year. But if you keep showing an interest in the more complex jobs, eventually someone will let you assist on them. There's your foot in the door.

Thanks (0)
My photo
By Matrix
17th Jul 2020 10:02

You have deleted your post after helpful replies. I think you are an idiot and your tax career will be short lived.

I was going to post about my experience as a tax trainee 25 years ago and congratulate you on your enthusiasm but unfortunately you are just a snowflake.

Thanks (5)
Replying to Matrix:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
17th Jul 2020 10:20

Which may be apt as the question melted.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Matrix:
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By Paul Crowley
17th Jul 2020 10:22

Earlier posts on other threads suggest first responder on annonomous posts should always quote question.
Think I might start following that suggestion.

Thanks (0)
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By Wanderer
17th Jul 2020 10:23

Quote:
What should my next steps be?
Feel stuck in a tax role with little work-place learning
What should my next steps be?
For almost a year now I've been training in the tax department of a big FTSE 250 firm (in industry). I was attracted to the role firstly because I did a numerate degree, secondly because it seemed to provide a great opportunity for me to apply what i'd learned at uni to real-world scenarios, thirdly because of the ACA-CTA training programme on offer and fourthly because of the salary. As mentioned before, it's been almost a year now and I feel like I've learned very little. I've made good progress with the ACA part of the joint qualification, passing all the certificate papers first time with scores averaging in the 70s. However I feel like I've learned very little on-the-job. I get along with all my colleagues and let them know when work dries up but this happens on a very regular basis. I'm constantly running out of work and being given small bits of work unrelated to tax - like little odd jobs that feel more like a favour to my colleagues. This work is often very simple, menial spreadsheet tasks that I feel add very little value to the company. It's very rarely tax-related so I'm not learning anything new either. I've reached a stage where I feel like if I were to have an interview elsewhere and they asked me what I'd learned on-the-job here that I'd have very little to talk about. I've not even came close to scratching the surface with any of the following taxes: corporation tax, VAT, employment taxes, income tax, capital gains tax. And I feel like if it weren't for the qualification my career would be stagnating and I would have left by now. I'm worried as I'm aware experience is perhaps the most valuable asset you can acquire in the workplace but all I'm getting from this role at the moment is the qualification (and no application of what I'm learning). I feel like if I were to look for work elsewhere in the future, even after completing the qualification, that I'd be back to square one. As hinted at previously, I have mentioned the lack of work on numerous occasions to my manager and their boss and I have no idea what to do about the situation. They've told me that because I joined mid-way through the tax cycle that I've not been able to pick up tax-based tasks for this reason and they've been reassuring me for a while now things will change soon and I'll have a lot more work to do. But they've been saying that for a few months now and nothing has changed. Does anyone have any advice or any recommendations?
Thanks (2)
RLI
By lionofludesch
17th Jul 2020 10:27

Another timewaster.

Thanks (0)
Maddy Christopher
By Maddy Christopher
17th Jul 2020 11:32

To OP,

One again, removing content after users have taken the time to answer your query is an abuse of the Edit button. That option is there to allow users to correct their queries as they see fit, and not to remove content from the site.

If you persist in this behaviour, we will remove your posting rights.

To the other users,

Thank you for reporting this and for providing the original post to re-add. It is appreciated.

Thanks (0)
Routemaster image
By tom123
17th Jul 2020 11:39

As others have said, stick with what sounds like a good training post until you get two complete sets of quals.

IMHO the whole of accountancy can fall into the category of mundane and trivial if you let it. If you have a fear of the mundane this will not be the career for you.

(at the moment, as an FD, I am printing shipping labels).

Thanks (3)
Replying to tom123:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
17th Jul 2020 11:51

But at least you have been promoted from licking them prior to their being affixed.

(there is an old NTNON skit with a YTS worker being used as a stamp sponge (if you are old enough you will remember stamp sponges))

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
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By Paul Crowley
17th Jul 2020 12:15

Coincidence but mentioned those to staff just two days ago.
The roller type was the preferred option.

Also keep a clean seperate sponge to wet finger for page turning. Amazed no Covid commentator considered these essential PPE requirements

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
Routemaster image
By tom123
17th Jul 2020 14:04

In my first job we had a postage book, with sheets of different denominations in them.

Probably used to value them each month end too..

Thanks (0)
Replying to tom123:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
17th Jul 2020 15:38

My earliest job was in the 1976 summer holidays in my father's office, I was the temporary mail room clerk, we were sophisticated (or Scottish solicitors are tight) as we had a franking machine so the exact postage could readily be applied.

Thanks (0)
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
17th Jul 2020 11:59

Now that the question is reprinted I do have some practical advice; paragraphs.

One of the things ICAS tried to remove from our writing , especially re audit,was essay writing, us all being university graduates we had mainly learned to be verbose (apart from the science graduates), this was disliked, short, concise paragraphs were the future.

If you report in house in similar manner to your question then likely nobody will read what you write, that might be a shame.

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
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By Paul Crowley
17th Jul 2020 12:11

I used to mark audit exams fot ICAEW
bullet point half a mark
A whole page of immense detail on the same point one mark

Skill in writing is accuracy, brevity and clarity

No client bothers to turn the page

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