Corporate and Indirect tax (advice on issues challenging the industry)


Hi guys

I am in the process of applying to corporate and indirect tax graduate schemes at a variety of firms including the big 4. However, from one assessment centre interview that I failed, I really struggled to answer a few points properly which I think let me down. If people could give me some input it would be really appreciated!

I don’t come from a business background and am really struggling at the moment on a few points:

  1. What were your strongest justifications for studying tax? mine are very simple including it is value added, intellectually challenging etc and perhaps not good enough (from a failed experience with Deloitte)
  2. What are the challenges facing the accounting industry and the big 4?
  3. What are the challenges facing corporate and indirect tax at the moment? this one in particular has me completely baffled!

I have tried and tried to find suitable answers to these but am REALLY struggling. Could anyone help me please?

Once again thanks very much for the help and best of luck in all your applications!



My answer won’t help much but I do share your sentiments mate!

In all honesty I think at interviews it’s a little unfair to ask really technical questions to graduates. I mean, how are we meant to know such indepth knowledge.
Sure, a little commercial awareness is fine but seriously; do we need to know the ins-and-outs of each business line? We graduates are applying for “entry-level” positions after all. Not the chief executive role!

To your questions 1 & 2 having basic commercial awareness will help plus the usual bs answers to why this, why that. Quetion 3 is really difficult and I would imagine most “normal” graduates would struggle with that one. Apart from the odd one who has spent every hour scavenging all tax related books at the library.


Hello mate,

I thought the same until I got the challenges faced by corporate tax at the moment in my deloitte partner interview! and it threw me completely!

i just don’t want it to happen again


Hi guys,

I have to do a presentation on Friday at Begbies and topic is as follows:

‘How important is taxation policy in the recovery of the UK economy and what tax policies do you think could be introduced to aid the recovery?’

I’ve applied for the Tax line too and woud realy appreciate some tips…


  1. challenges facing professional services firm - a general fall in demand for their services - more specific falls in certain areas (e.g. tax) but other areas (e.g. consulting) are doing really well. This explains the shift in clients’ appetite during the recession: They are more concerned on cost saving opportunities/making their businesses more efficient/ etc - competition from other smaller firms hotting up - - achieve cost cutting targets without damaging long term growth of the firm - e.g. tighter controls on expenses, limit the number of redundancies - hold on to their people - e.g managing the workforce during the recession by moving people around in different lines of services (e.g. from tax to consulting) - so as to hold on to them for when times get better - practice risk areas- need to make sure that they are not falling foul of regulations/laws etc.

  2. problems facing businesses: - due to recession, main problem I would say is fall in demand for businesses’ goods/services (but this depends on the market in which they operate!) - lack of credit/liquidity is second main problem - companies struggling to raise finance! banks not lending! If they are lending, the rate is usually very high because of the high risk premia. find a couple of examples in the press about companies struggling to raise funds - e.g. Donnington Park circuit losing Formula 1 contract and subsequently going into administration. - linked to the above is availability of cash - good cash management is key to deal with finance raising problems - risks of frauds etc are higher in times like these , again find examples- effective internal controls are required - other usual problems like competition etc

  3. Key qualities to be successful - maintaining strong client relationship - . How? By having regular conversations with the clients, understand their ‘problems’ - also called their ‘pains’, and finding solutions for them. - speed to market - i.e. make sure you are communicating things to client very quickly, and are always the first to update the client on news/market updates etc - internally, cash management - cash is king when there is a liquidity crisis, so there is the need to make sure that billing clients and receiving cash quickly - have the best, flexible people etc.

Hope the above helps. Good luck

1 Like

thanks very much ank for all the info above. Do you work for one of the Big 4?