A Love of Tax

Alums share why a career in tax is so fulfilling

I must admit that before I started working for the Accounting programs here at the Foster School of Business, if someone had said to me that they loved tax, I would have wondered about their sanity. The thought, and even the word, tax, makes many people wince, so why in the world would anyone want to make that their career path?  Rather than theorizing, I asked alums of the tax programs at Foster to offer some clear and concise answers to the question: Why do you love your career in tax?

The responses I received all shared some common themes: fulfilling work, helping others, great colleagues, and intellectually challenging. I was especially surprised by how many referred to the stimulating effects of always learning, changing, and growing. Ironically, one of the common stereotypes of tax is that it is boring—this could not be further from the truth. The fact that so many reiterated their enormous appreciation for this profession while the world still winces, indicates a highly undervalued profession where massive opportunity awaits those who pursue it.

The following responses to Why do you love your career in tax? all come from graduates of the MPAcc Tax Track and MS Taxation at the UW’s Foster School of Business who are currently working in their chosen field of tax:

I love my career in tax because I’m able to help people (corporations and individuals) navigate through the complex tax world. —Kelly Dong, Class of 2017

I love my career in tax because I get to help clients with an area of their business or personal life that they don’t know very well. The more clients I work with, the more I see the great help that we tax accountants can provide to businesses and people. —Viktor Torchilo, Class of 2017

I get challenged every day working on interesting projects with an amazing group of people doing something I really enjoy. And, since I learn every day, it keeps me out of being a permanent student at UW. —Vlada Edwards, Class of 2011

I’ve loved my career in tax so far because I think a successful career in tax requires confidence, agility, and flexibility – all characteristics I aspire to be and aim to continually work on. A career in tax provides daily opportunities to exercise and grow into these traits. —Jennifer Lo, Class of 2020

I love my career in tax because of the endless opportunity to improve and the continuous learning that comes with the ever-changing environment surrounding the tax code. With a career in tax, my growth will never be stagnant. —Daniela Turner, Class of 2020

I like to be intellectually engaged in my work. Tax laws are always being tweaked so there’s always an opportunity flex that learning muscle. But also, I like people and my teams. I don’t know why people seem to think that tax people are antisocial number-crunchers. I’m a super social number cruncher. And I always enjoy my work so much more when I’m working with fun and motivated people, whether they are clients or, more often, my teammates. —Pamela Unger, Class of 2007

My career in tax has allowed me to quickly progress and to keep learning something new every day. After 5 years in public accounting I still find my job both challenging and fulfilling. —Samantha Leck, Class of 2015

What I enjoy most about tax is that it is always changing. There is no shortage of new things to learn, and I love the ability to work alongside more experienced individuals to figure out the impacts of new legislation. —Katie Tang, Class of 2020

My career in tax has challenged me to continue to adapt and learn and it has never proven to be boring. I have enjoyed being able to solve problems and work with company leaders to understand the business and adapt to changing tax laws. —Kristin Ibisate, Class of 2013

I love my career in tax because I am always learning something new and applying my academic and life lessons. Despite the traditional view of tax having a stagnate boring workday, tax is constantly evolving and changing. This environment of change always keeps me on my toes and excited for the next day of tax accounting!  —Daniel Slonksi, Class of 2015

My career in tax technology has pushed me to think more critically and creatively. I explore and research ways to create automations to improve user experience and increase work efficiency. —Fiona Lo, Class of 2016

There are several reasons why I love my career in tax: First, the technical tax knowledge that I’ve learned makes me more competitive in the job market. Second, tax is a perfect blend of consulting and compliance. Understanding the tax topic and tax code brings me connections with any other aspect of business.  Third, and most importantly, the process of learning tax teaches me how to boost my thinking capacity as well.  Since tax law evolves constantly, adapting to the changing tax system really helps me to grow critical thinking and problem solving skills continually. It’s challenging but always rewarding. —Belei Yi, Class of 2020

One may think the world of tax is rigid and unimaginative, but that’s far from the truth. I love that can curate my own personal brand and get creative with solutions while working with my clients and teams! —Ashley Do, Class of 2019

I love my career in tax since you have the opportunity to learn something new every day. The tax code is constantly changing to match the political and economic landscape and as CPAs we have to adapt with it. Also as you get further in your career, you get to work more on the “fun stuff” which for me is building relationships, building teams, leveraging technology, and most importantly, helping clients to solve problems and plan for the future. —Matt Goodwin, Class of 2011

I love my career in tax because I’m constantly learning as new legislation is enacted worldwide. —Kelsey Coughlan, Class of 2013

I have so much passion for tax because I am a detail-oriented person and love solving problems. So, this job fits my personality very well. Also, I enjoy the fact that I need to keep learning new tax rule. So, I never really get bored. —Joseph Lin, Class of 2015

I love that my career in tax has kept me intellectually challenged.  It allows me to work with a wide variety of clients with different tax needs, which gives me the opportunity to problem-solve in different areas of tax. Additionally, tax reform and other government stimulus requires that I learn and adapt to changing tax law in real time. —Peter Olsen, Class of 2017

I enjoy working in tax because I am always being challenged by rules and regulations constantly evolving and solving complex problems is intellectually rewarding. —Anthony Nguyen, Class of 2017

I love my career in tax because tax has a very indirect yet powerful way of influencing economics, companies, and individuals – all of which I get to see as well as learn from firsthand. —Grace Hodge, Class of 2019

The reasons I’ve stayed in tax accounting, is that I love the complexities it brings to my work life. There are always new laws and updated accounting guidance being released to keep you exercising your critical thinking skills. I think of tax accounting as a puzzle that is never solved, and I enjoy working to find that last piece. I could write so much more, tax is a great career and I really love it! —Erika Marquez, Class of 2012

Learn more about the Master of Science in Taxation at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.