Don't be daunted by tax

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Beryl Heath had never intended to work in tax, but now she tells Natasha Mckim why she enjoys her job

Beryl Heath had never intended to work in tax, but now she tells Natasha Mckim why she enjoys her job.

Exercise is known to have many benefits to your personal and working life. Beryl Heath proves this through her love of dancing – she attends classes in Aberdeen and feels that it does help her in her job as a tax manager.

Beryl has been with James Milne Chartered Accountants for 15 years and has 25 years of experience in the tax sector, but at the point of leaving school, her goal had been very different. Beryl wanted to be a home economics teacher, and had never been interested in tax. After school, she went into college but was told in her third year that she wouldn’t pass her English exams due to dyslexia. A mass recruitment drive led her into the civil service.b

She said: “I always wanted to work in home economics. I was creative and used to do my own sewing and cooking and baking.”

She moved to Aberdeen with her first husband before they separated and has luckily found a new husband who can also cook and bake. It was his brother who first took Beryl along to dance lessons in Eastbourne for a whirl, many years ago.

Beryl said: “I am the kind of person who doesn’t need a drink to dance. I went along to a Ceroc dance class in Aberdeen, by myself. I learned from my first husband that no one would ever limit me, so long as it wasn’t hurting anyone.b2

“The creative outlet is a form of exercise. It gives me a buzz and can go from fast to slow so helps me to keep fit and lightens my mood.”

In Beryl’s job as a tax manager she is sitting down all day, staring at a computer, so the exercise is fun and the dance classes help with communication skills, necessary when working with two assistants, dealing with enquiries and accounts and clients on a daily basis.b3

The sector has changed a lot in the years Beryl has been working in it. Everything is done online now, which makes the work easier but also increases the workload. No longer are there boxes of paper which have to be moved around on deadline days, and doing taxes online gives her three extra months to work on them. Working so much with computers, Beryl feels that keyboard skills are necessary to work in that environment. A touch typing course was helpful and she has taught herself how to work with spreadsheets.

She said: “It’s important to have a good grounding in computer skills. And you don’t have to be good at maths, but it helps.”

A career in home economics isn’t something Beryl would think about now.

“I enjoy my job,” she said. The firm is friendly, with lots of people Beryl enjoys working with, which makes the job fun.

“Don’t be daunted by tax,” she advises anyone considering a similar career.

“It’s like anything – you learn how to do things. You can have a career, it’s not as hard as you might think.”

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