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"The Young Tax Professional of the Year Program is about finding the tax leaders of tomorrow. Created to recognise and develop outstanding young talent, this competition gives participants the chance to share experiences with people from a range of backgrounds and cultures.
But most importantly, it is an opportunity to make long-lasting connections with some of the sharpest minds in the Tax world as well as leading figures from global organizations, learning from them along the way and understanding what the challenges are for the profession. It's a unique opportunity for today's brightest talents to get their career off to a remarkable start."
Stephan Kuhn, EMEIA Tax Leader at Ernst & Young
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Ernst & Young's inclusive leadership award is dedicated to Prof. Patrick Dibout
The Inclusive Leadership award, which now bears the name of Prof. Patrick Dibout, one of its most fervent inspirers, is one of four awards presented by Ernst & Young as part of the YTPY program. The Inclusive Leadership award recognizes those who understand the value of difference as a driver of performance; embrace a collaborative leadership style; and find ways to support difference.
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- Hugo Abreu - EY Inclusive Leadership award winner 2012
- Edit Osikovicz - Ernst & Young's YTPY 2012 winner
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Participating countries for 2013
Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya and East region, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kindom
Interview with Hugo Abreu
1. Why did you choose tax (or other) for your studies?
I see tax as a large intersection, where fields of study so diverse as economics, law, psychology or political science come into play, and this is what makes it, in my point of view, so interesting. This broadness of perspective, which must go together with extreme analytical rigor, was definitely appealing to me, as someone with an academic background on economics, but with a deep passion for subjects like history or psychology. In order to understand tax properly, a macroeconomic formula will not suffice; you must understand how people behave – it’s necessary to understand the human being in its entirety.
2. Why do you think the participants awarded you with the Inclusive Leadership award?
Surely strong candidates were not missing! And this can be surprising to some people, who, when they imagine a young tax professional, perhaps imagine some strange person who spends day and night reading tax codes. No, we are nothing of the sort. We had a group of interesting, broad-minded, highly-cultured people. I believe the choice was due to my eagerness to learn more about the interests, the culture, the countries of the participants and – which is more important! – about the participants themselves.
3. What has been the impact of this award on you, from a personal, and a professional point of view?
Personally, it was very rewarding. I do not perceive it, however, as an end, but as a beginning! The interactions with the participants, as well as the award, were, for me, a lesson on the value of inclusive leadership. Motivation is nowadays perceived as essential for achieving both personal and organizational goals, and rightly so, but very often the focus seems to rest on extrinsic motivation (e.g., bonuses, promotions), while forgetting that intrinsic motivation can be even more important. Sometimes a word of encouragement or a display of genuine interest for the well-being of others can be much more powerful than any monetary bonus, by giving directly something which money can only give indirectly and partially: happiness!
4. Your prize was Lynda Gratton's book The Shift. Did its reading inspire you?
It’s an amazing book! It reminded me of the importance of always keeping a long-run perspective and thus being attentive to the important, yet sometimes silent, shifts that change our world, our careers, our lives, in order to get a correct glimpse of the future. We cannot predict everything, but many mistakes are avoidable and many opportunities are at reach if we think of the future.
5. Did this experience and this award change your perception of the tax profession? How?
Those were days of intensive learning about tax and, which I would like to emphasize, about the skills we need to get our message through; that is, communication skills, among other soft skills that can add value to our work. This experience also helped to materialize, so to say, some of my perceptions of the tax profession. When you get immersed in such a multicultural, highly challenging setting, you understand exactly why quality is the key to make the difference in a globalized world.
6. What makes a successful (tax) professional in your opinion? How do you see the future for young professionals, both in the business and in the tax world? What shall they focus on? What can we retain from the senior generations?
A successful career in tax – and this can apply to professionals of many other areas – is made from a mix of a high degree of specialization combined with a lively interest for other areas, to get a balanced worldview that prevents us from mistaking the forest for the trees, and allow discerning those long-run shifts that we discussed earlier. Surely our generation faces tremendous challenges, but its biggest asset is, in my opinion, its capacity to make syntheses; that is, the ability to listen and learn, taking the best from opposing arguments or ideas. And one core aspect of it is precisely the notion that we do have much to learn from senior generations. Learning is, in great part, a process of tradition – from the Latin word traditio – that is, handing over. What can we retain from senior generations? Almost everything – it would be presumptuous to think otherwise. What thus shouldn’t we retain? We must learn by past mistakes, and one of the most serious mistakes was precisely the notion that nothing was to be learnt from previous generations, that one generation alone would, by itself, solve all the world’s problems. No, we count on the experience of senior generations to help us through.
7. Would you recommend other students to participate in the YTYP award? If yes, why?
Yes, and I cannot recommend it enough! Besides being a great challenge to oneself, it is a life-changing experience. The organization and the setting are – I daresay – perfect, and in the other participants you won’t find opponents, but friends with whom you can build important networks, which can be very rewarding not only at a professional, but also at a personal level.
8. What are your plans for the future (short/long term)?
My short-term goals are to finish my Master’s degree, to publish a scientific article on the Laffer Curve and to make a successful internship at Ernst & Young. In the long term, I expect to continue the learning and research on tax, and on many other issues! There is a special goal which is very dear to me: currently my country, Portugal, is in financial and economic distress, and faces many challenges related to taxation, growth and competitiveness. To help Portugal get out of the current crisis is, for me, not only a duty, but also a mission I will gladly embrace.
Interview with Edit Osikovicz
1. Why did you choose tax (or other) for your studies?
At university (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary), my main field of study was law. At the time when I had to decide what to study, I was 18 and, to be honest, I didn’t really know what law was all about. But because I was really interested in politics and in how society works, I assumed that law would be something that I would find interesting. And indeed, my studies confirmed to me that law is a fascinating subject that really suits my way of thinking, and also that a legal profession always involves plenty of intellectual challenges.
2. Can you explain how you got involved in the YPTY program?
I learned about the national round of the YTPY competition from a poster at my university. Being a person who is always up for a challenge, and aspiring to be an ambitious tax professional, it came to me as a natural decision to participate in the competition. I submitted my case study, which focused on the tax consequences of an M&A, and being called back to the oral finals, I presented my solution to the jury.
3. What has been the most challenging experience in the YTYP competition? And the most pleasant?
If I look back now, the biggest challenge during the whole YTPY competition was the second round of the International Finals. It was a real challenge to stay calm, and to present a coherent and clear solution under the increasing pressure. Nevertheless, it was also very motivating to have the opportunity to give a presentation in front of such a prestigious jury, the members of which have been worldwide acknowledged experts of taxation.
As for the most pleasant experience, it was definitely those parts of the program that we could spend together as a team with the other participants. The people of the YTPY were amazing and I enjoyed every bit of the time we have spent together, especially the team building activities, such as the treasure hunt adventure or the performance of the Boston Symphonic Orchestra.
4. Why do you think the judging panel chose you and awarded you with the first prize?
Well, it’s never easy to compare your own performance with that of others. What I do know, however, are the things that I really focused on during my presentation and that might have been the key to my success. That included keeping my arguments straight to the point and summarizing the solution concisely in my head during the preparation time; presenting the case with a logically clear structure and trying to answer the questions of the jury with utter confidence, even when I wasn’t a 100% sure of the answer I gave, during the presentation itself.
5. What has this competition brought to you so far, both from a personal, and a professional, point of view?
The competition has been especially rewarding, convincing me that all the hard work I have invested in becoming a tax professional has not been in vain, and also as a great motivation, spurring me to continuously build upon this foundation.
From a personal point of view, the biggest experience the competition has brought to me was definitely having the opportunity to network with all those fascinating people coming from all over the world; to be able to build a relationship with them which, I am sure, will serve as a foundation for future cooperation.
From a professional point of view, it might be still too early to say what the competition will bring to me eventually. But for the time being, it has given me a really good insight into the world of international taxation, and it has certainly boosted my career in tax law, as I have already been hired by Ernst & Young as an Assistant Tax Advisor. Also, I feel that the knowledge I acquired during the program represents concrete skills that I am able to put into practice every day in tax advisory jobs.
6. Did this experience change your perception of the tax profession? How?
Before the competition, I had the impression that the biggest challenge in providing tax services is to always perform on the highest level, professionally. This perception of mine has definitely been changed during the competition, where I learned that the ability to connect with people, to make them understand your point of view, and to assure them that they can rely on your advice is even more challenging and actually the most exciting part of the job.
7. What are your expectations from the trips you will be making around the world?
Despite the shortness of the time I will spend at the three offices, I still hope that I will be able to gain some real insight into the professional life and rhythm of these offices. Besides first impressions, however, I am certainly going to be able to get familiarized with the offices’ atmosphere as well as people’s mentality and working style as a whole. Also, I am planning to do a lot of networking and, if I would have the opportunity, I would love to participate in social events with the people from the offices.
8. Any recommendations for the 2013 Award winner?
Obviously, the prize is a great thing to win; it is one of the best things that can happen to you at this early stage in your career. Nevertheless, you should be very careful not to be carried away with the success too much. Indeed, although it opens up plenty of new doors, it is very important to assess these new opportunities realistically, and to stay on the ground, nevertheless.
9. Would you recommend other students to participate in the YTYP award? If yes, why?
Definitely! Firstly, because it is a great experience, the memory of which the participants will cherish for their whole life; and secondly, because they have nothing to lose. It is certainly one of the best opportunities motivated students can seize to boost their career at a very early point in their professional life, and it is simply a shame to waste such great opportunities once they have come across them.
10. What makes a successful tax professional in your opinion?
As I have mentioned earlier, in my opinion, to become a successful tax professional requires first of all two sets of skills: professional and personal skills. Professionally, the most important thing is to never compromise on the quality of your work, even if you are under time pressure, or under pressure coming from others. The personal part of the job requires you to be able to communicate with people in a way they understand your point of view easily, and that shows respect toward others in all circumstances. It is also a key to preserve your integrity and to always act so that it corresponds with your principles.
11. What are your plans for the future (short term/long term)?
As for the short term, my plan is to develop my professional and personal skills continuously through my everyday tax advisory jobs, and to keep on building on the theoretical foundation I have obtained so far. I envisage that, within a few years, I will have more or less acquired the practical skills that are a necessary supplement the theoretical knowledge. Concerning the long term, it is hard to say any concrete plans, as you can never know where the road takes you. However, if I had the opportunity, I would definitely love to try myself out in an Anglo-Saxon professional environment in the future.
The Patrick Dibout Inclusive Leadership award
Ernst & Young has decided to honor an inspirational supporter of its Young Tax Professional of the Year program.
The program’s Inclusive Leadership award will be named after Patrick Dibout, an EY partner who died in November 2012, aged 62.
Patrick trained generations of international tax practitioners, some of whom are now at the top of the profession. He will leave an indelible mark in the minds of the men and women who met him.
Born in Saint-Malo, he studied at the University of Rennes 1, before teaching international taxation at top French institutions.
As well as forging a distinguished academic career, Patrick was a leading public law practitioner. He started as a barrister at the Paris Court of Appeal in 1983. He joined the law firm Jeantet & Associés in 1992, and took a partnership at Ernst & Young in 2001.
All who knew Patrick remember not only an exceptional professor and outstanding legal practitioner, but also a man of great culture, who was passionate about history, music and literature.
Patrick’s peers recognize that his knowledge of international taxation and mastery of complex litigation was unparalleled. Indeed, his expertise was such that France’s National Assembly and Senate sought his advice on policy. But he also had a talent for simplifying complex tax issues, thus making knowledge accessible to everyone.
Patrick played a leading role in the establishment of the Young Tax Professional of the Year awards in 2011. The Inclusive Leadership award, which now bears his name, is one of four presented by Ernst & Young as part of the program. The Inclusive Leadership award recognizes those who understand the value of difference as a driver of performance, embrace a collaborative leadership style and find ways to support difference.
The Young Tax Professional of the Year program aims to inspire and develop the tax leaders of tomorrow. These were tasks that Patrick accomplished with distinction. So his lasting connection with the awards program is a fitting tribute.
The local competition
Test your skills against the best graduates in your country to become a finalist.
The International competition
Join the other national champions in Copenhagen in August 2013 to see if you have what it takes to win.
Learn about the prizes that will last you a lifetime and define your future career.