This client applied for the role of Assistant Compliance Officer in state (NSW) government and gained a job interview. Six selection criteria required addressing; a statement of four pages in length addressing the criteria was developed. Following are excerpts from three of the selection criteria.

Ability to analyse financial records to investigate and establish tax liabilities.

I am very experienced in analysing financial records and performing tax liability calculations, especially in maintaining a high level of appropriation and accuracy when calculating taxes. For example, when preparing for Annual Adjustment Returns, I take into consideration relevant items such as balance of payroll liability in the previous month based on Assessment Advice issued from the Office of State Revenue; current applicable tax rate; total amount payable on actual wages for the whole year; and total amount paid on monthly returns. I then use these relevant figures to calculate the balance of Payroll Tax payable or refundable for that year. Also, when performing GST calculations, I review the following key items on financial reports, BAS and Installment Activity Statement (IAS): (1) GST is excluded from items which are subject to GST Free or Non GST; (2) GST inclusive Sale and GST free Sale are classified correctly in the BAS or Total Capital Purchase is excluded from Total Non-Capital Purchase reporting in the BAS; (3) Agreement of GST Collected and GST Paid between BAS and the GST quarterly or annually summary reports; and (4) Correct calculation of Gross Wages, PAYG Withholding amount, and ABN Withholding amount based on the Payroll records.

Demonstrated interpersonal skills, including the ability to manage difficult clients and negotiate outcomes.

My current role involves regular contact with clients on a daily basis and I have had experience dealing with difficult clients. In doing so, I maintain a positive and proactive disposition, remaining non-reactive to clients’ demands or challenging temperaments. On one occasion, I prepared a quarterly Business Activity Statement (BAS) for a new client who used MYOB and maintained his own records. The first step I took was in examining my client’s MYOB files to obtain the necessary information for preparing the BAS, and I immediately identified numerous mistakes. I decided the next and best approach was to make direct contact with this new client. Prior to doing so, I thought it best to gain some understanding about my client and to prepare a solid communication strategy. Viewing his profile provided me with knowledge of his experience in business trading and that he lacked experience in accounting and tax. Therefore, I was expecting to touch on some sensitive issues as I needed to advise him of the mistakes made. To avoid any disagreement and to convince him to let me fix the errors and prepare the BAS for him, I delivered the outcome carefully and sensitively by sharing my own personal experience with a similar situation in the past.

Subsequently, in my initial meeting with this client, I deliberately informed him of changes in the BAS as a result of the mistakes in the MYOB file. He was upset when I informed him of the errors as he considered himself to be very experienced and knowledgeable in his business. However, after explaining and sharing my own experience regarding BAS preparation, and the common mistakes I had made when I first worked with GST, he became less upset and more understanding of the situation. Thereafter, he commenced communicating openly with me on the difficulties he was having in recording transactions into MYOB. I also explained why the errors had occurred and how I was going to fix these; and I advised that fixing the GST errors may reduce the GST refund and it could save him incurring a larger bill from the ATO. Subsequently, he agreed and was satisfied with the explanation and used my services to prepare the BAS as discussed. Importantly, he developed trust in me and the professional service I provided. Furthermore, moving forward, he maintained regular contact with me to gain advice prior to planning new business opportunities or investments.

Tertiary qualifications in a business or related discipline and/or equivalent relevant experience.

I graduated from University Of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in 2007 with a major in Professional Accounting. I developed solid knowledge on Australian taxation in this program. In 2009 and 2010, I completed the Income Tax Preparation Course with H&R Block Accountancy; I learnt practical skills in preparing Income Tax Returns (ITRs) and tax compliance. In my three years’ experience working in accounting practices/firms, I have dealt with tax law and the ATO on daily basis basic, applying the knowledge I gained in tax law from my studies in accounting practice. In 2011, I completed a BAS Skill Set module (as part of the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping) at St George College, TAFE NSW. I developed knowledge and understanding of state (NSW) taxes such as payroll tax, land tax, and stamp duty. I applied this knowledge when I instructed students at AAA College as well as in my current role.

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Annie Cerone