Elevating the Tax Profession: 2013 Young Tax Professional of the Year Award

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Careers in this decade are no longer modelled around the clear-cut professions of lawyers, doctors, technicians and engineers.  There is more awareness being created in branches within these core professions such as tax law, competition law, aeronautical engineering etc.

South Africa has an increasing need for individuals who want to specialise in Tax whether in corporate tax, international tax, expatriate tax or Value Added Tax.  At the moment, most South African universities do not have a specialist Bachelor Degrees in Tax although certain Bachelor Degrees offer semester courses in Taxation e.g. BComm and LLB.  Highlighting career opportunities within this budding profession is therefore required in order to meet the increasing demand of professionals in this field.

Ernst & Young has launched its third consecutive international competition “Young Tax Professional of the Year.” This award allows successful students, who are chosen from more than 30 countries (including South Africa), to compete by demonstrating their tax technical and professional skills to a panel of expert judges.

This is more than just a competition.  Stephan Kuhn, Ernst & Young EMEIA Tax Leader, says: “We have created the Young Tax Professional of the Year program to bring together the tax talents of the future. We want to show them how much the tax profession has changed today, how business is managed in different cultures, as well as exposing them to the skills required for tomorrow’s leaders.”

The Young Tax Professional of the Year is split into two stages, local and international. The South African (local) stage is open for applications to any student who wants to take on the challenge.  During the initial competition in South Africa, students will be evaluated on both their technical abilities and wider commercial strengths.

According to Vedika Andhee, Tax Director at Ernst & Young South Africa, “The application process is simple.  Students can enter the competition on-line at www.ey.com/ytpy. They will need to answer a few questions on various aspects of tax and submit the application on-line.  Approximately 10 applicants will then be short-listed for the final show-down in South Africa.”   

The top South Africa candidate will be flown to Copenhagen, Denmark (during the 67th International Fiscal Association Congress in August 2013), and will have the chance to work closely with a diverse range of professionals. They will face challenging case studies and interviews to demonstrate their expertise before the award judges. That panel will then confirm the three winners of the Young Tax Professional of the Year Award.  Last year, South African candidate, Bianca Fourie was awarded third place in the competition.

In recognition of the technical skills and professionalism demonstrated in front of the jury, the three award winners will be presented with prizes that provide an opportunity for personal experience, as well as connection to and understanding of the various tax markets.  The first prize is a 30-day “round-the-world” business trip built around 10-day working visits to key Ernst & Young Area Tax Centers in London, Washington DC and Hong Kong.

Competitors will also have the opportunity to win the Patrick Dibout Inclusive Leadership prize.  Bearing the name of a founding member of the competition, this prize is awarded to the candidate who demonstrated the most inclusive leadership behaviour, as well as a particular interest and a high capacity to leverage diverse perspectives and ideas. The winner is selected by his or her peers based on his or her openness to listening and learning about other cultures.

According to Mark Goulding, Tax Director at Ernst & Young South Africa, “This competition will play a huge role in elevating the tax profession and encouraging students to study further in tax. Tax professionals are a scarce resource in South Africa and we are seeking to attract passionate and energetic students to the profession.”

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Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

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