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Alex Just

What's your job about?

EY teams work with clients to build a better working world. My job is to be an interpreter and storyteller - financial statements are like another language for many of my clients so it is my job to help them understand and decide which direction to head next.

As a consultant in Private Client Services (PCS) I prepare my clients' financial statements and income tax returns. To do this I collate the information provided by the client, then, using my tax and accounting knowledge, I present the information in the formats needed to meet the client’s compliance and accounting needs.

When these documents are presented to the client it’s important that they understand the reports and the picture they paint for the entity. So, another part of my job is helping clients go beyond the numbers. For some of my smaller clients, I will meet with them in person and go through the reports with them. For my larger clients with in-house accountants, we add value through our tax knowledge and know-how.

Outside of financial statements, tax returns and accounting & tax literacy, my other responsibilities consist of tax consultancy work. This type of work usually revolves around a problem that our client has. I need to explain to the client how the problem impacts their tax or accounts or their business generally and present to them the best way to resolve the issue.

What's your background?

I spent the first half of my childhood in the Waikato. I moved around a lot when I was younger living with my mum, my grandma and then with my dad - before I was 10 years old, I’d attended 6 different primary schools! Although this meant lots of goodbyes, this experience early in my life taught me how to adapt to different audiences and make friends & networks quickly.

When I was 9 years old my dad remarried and we moved to Wellington where I have lived ever since. This move was huge for me. I moved from Tokoroa, a town with a population of 13,600 people, to Wellington, a city with 212,700 people. With this change came challenges and opportunities. My step mum helped me navigate this change and became a strong role model in my life.

At college, I began to think about my life after school and where I wanted to work. I decided that I would study commerce and become an accountant like my step mum. I wanted to learn skills that would enable me to work anywhere and with anyone. I also wanted a job that would allow me to be self-sufficient and support my love of travel.

I interned in the EY Tax team in Wellington in 2016, after which I accepted my grad role. I’ve been a tax consultant with EY for over 2 years now.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

YES. We look for people with all sorts of backgrounds. We think the best teams, are diverse teams!

There’s no cookie cutter personality necessary to do my job but a similar bunch of characteristics certainly help. I think people who are curious and like to get to the bottom of things would find my job interesting, and be great at it. I enjoy working with people who have a “give-it-a-go” and “can-do” attitude. These people are really team players and will learn quickly in a job like mine at EY.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The people. Every day I get the opportunity to work with professionals, whether it be tax partners, my peers or my clients themselves. Although this can be demanding, it pushes me to deliver my best. These opportunities to learn from the best and eventually pass that knowledge on is the coolest part of my job.

What are the limitations of your job?

The Tax team in Wellington is small, meaning I get to work directly with amazing people every day- but the smaller the office the bigger the responsibility. Our smaller team presents the opportunity to take on responsibilities early in your career. These could be managing client relationships, client billing or new proposals. These opportunities make for steep learning curves and are roles which you will be held accountable to. This accountability can be difficult to manage at times and will limit other commitments you may like to take on.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Get to know your peers – chances are you’ll work with some of your university or high school year group.
  2. Get those study habits right from the start – if you can study smarter not harder you’ll save yourself a lot of time and get the grades you deserve.
  3. Make time for you – your interests and passions make you interesting, so take time to work on these for yourself… it will also help shape your CV!