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ATT exams: meet a top performer

Lewis Richardson achieved the best performance by an apprentice in the November 2015 ATT exams. So we asked him how he did it

October 2016

What attracted you to a career in tax? It is a funny story. I applied for a job working in audit at BHP and I was turned down but offered a job in tax. I have not looked back and most certainly do not regret working in tax rather than audit!

What is it like working for BHP, do you have a typical day? No two days are the same. Being an independent, regional firm I am working across all areas of tax to gain a wider exposure to everything. This means that I can begin work with a plan and have different things given to me Ė meaning my plan goes out of the window!

How is the ATT qualification helping you with your work? It helps a lot initially, given that everything is fresh in your mind. Long term it gives you an awareness of everything. For example, even if you have forgotten the specifics, you are still aware of things such as pre-owned asset charges, etc.

As an apprentice do you feel you missed out not going to university? Absolutely not. People only talk about the good parts of university, which means some people feel they have missed an opportunity, but I feel I can live that lifestyle outside of work, regardless.

What are your top tips for studying? I would say do not change anything about your lifestyle to fit revision in. My technique is that I never sacrifice anything for revision; however, the times that I would get home from work and watch TV or watch TV all day on a Sunday I would spend revising. Also, I am a night owl so I would revise late at night.

Do you find it difficult to be studying hard when your friends are out partying? As above! I never sacrificed going out partying to revise, I just fitted the revision around a busy lifestyle.

What do you do when you are not studying?
When Iím not studying Iím usually on a football pitch, cricket pitch or in a restaurant with my girlfriend (all of which I pay for!).

Have you ever lied about the fact that you work in tax? Iíve called myself an accountant rather than a tax adviser just so people donít get confused! My brother thought I collected tax from people, which didnít go down very well!

If you could change one tax law what would it be and why? I would bring tax rates for myself down to zero and increase everybody elseís tax to compensate!

Where do you see yourself in five years time? I see myself at BHP but managing a team of people like myself and trying to nurture them and develop them into the ways of BHP. I would like to be ACA and CTA qualified and making my first steps to becoming a partner.

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