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30 years and still learning

30 years and still learning
Jo Reed

By Jo Reed

14 Apr 2021

As the old saying goes, “you learn something new every day”. For Jo Reed, our VAT manager, the pandemic brought about huge change, therefore a time to learn and adapt and the last 3 years have been spent learning lots of new things every day!

This month, we caught up with Jo to learn how she started her career in VAT and why she chose GE.

What do you enjoy most about your role/GE?

It sounds very cliché, but I really enjoy the great people I work with and the variety of work. One day you can have a straight-forward query and then a super complicated case that you need to bring the team into. Even after over 30 years working in VAT, there are still new things to learn and it’s more interesting than you might think.

Have you always wanted to work in VAT? If not, what motivated you on to your current career path?

I mean, no one dreams of being a ‘VAT man’ when they’re growing up. I fell into my career in VAT after finishing my English Degree. My first job out of university was working for Customs & Excise in Newcastle as a VAT Assurance Officer. I did my VAT training in 1991 but also worked in other parts of HMRC including VAT enquiries and DIY claims.

I have always felt very comfortable working within VAT because it’s so logical and ordered but with enough nuance to keep you on your toes!

Why did you choose GE?

GE chose me! I wasn’t initially going to continue with VAT after leaving HMRC but after my chat with Richard and Glenis, I knew I wanted to work with them and the GE team. I was also drawn in by the whole GE ethos of breaking boundaries and looking beyond accountancy to support their clients.

What do you enjoy most about working at GE?

The team! In my immediate team (VAT) my colleagues are so supportive, helpful and, most of all, so knowledgeable. It’s so impressive to see how much knowledge the team have and I’m constantly learning from all of them – I’m lucky. Everyone in the wider team are brilliant! I started during the pandemic meaning I’d never met anyone in person until I’d worked there for almost a year! It was a bit daunting at first, but the whole GE team made me feel so welcome and have continued to be so helpful and patient with all my admin questions.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Developing relationships when I am rarely in the office but, because everyone at GE has been so lovely, this wasn’t the problem I had anticipated.

What’s been your biggest achievement?

I feel like I have little wins every day as I’m always learning something new about VAT, GE or the people I work with. To know you’re valued and feel very much part of a team even when working from your bedroom is a real testament to GE and who we are as a firm.

What are your goals for the future?

Be as knowledgeable as the people in my team, VAT may not be everyone’s cup of tea, maté, herbal teas or similar products (sorry, it’s a VAT joke!).

What advice would you give others that are seeking to pursue a career in VAT?

VAT isn’t classed as your typical career path unlike, say, accountancy or tax. I would say to not dismiss VAT as an ‘easy’ option compared to other taxes – I’m still learning 30 years in! Try and dip your toes into lots of areas of tax including VAT and see if it’s right for you. If you do enjoy the work, try and find a mentor who has lots of experience in the area, VAT is constantly changing and it’s amazing how much more there is to learn even when you think you know it all!

Learn more about what life is like at Gerald Edelman and what we offer to our employees on our Work with us’ page


Learn more about Jo here