Why I chose a career in VAT
For many, the idea of a career VAT or tax can sound somewhat dull, monotonous and some may say outdated.
However, for Senior VAT Manager, Glenis Gibbs, the expectations haven’t met reality as she explains how no two days are the same and the fantastic relationships she has built with clients throughout her role.
In our latest team story, she shares a glimpse into working in VAT – starting with her love for subjects such as Maths and Physics, to moving into clerical and Account Management roles, Glenis shares her experience below.
Have you always wanted to work in VAT? If not, what motivated you on to your current career path?
I had a series of really boring clerical jobs until I became an Accounts Manager when I was 20. I moved into VAT on promotion when I was 25 and really enjoyed meeting different people and finding out about how they made a living and how VAT affected their business. I especially liked visiting businesses just after they had registered for VAT to help them understand what they needed to do to be compliant. I left VAT to go back to Customs three years later, and I became a specialist within a unit of expertise that dealt with imports and exports of food and other animal products.
After eight years in customs, I moved back into VAT when I relocated from Tilbury to Plymouth, when I was 34. It was my good fortune to have that VAT experience as customs jobs were scarce in the West Country! I stayed in VAT with HMRC for another 14 years, when I got a job in the private sector as a VAT advisor, and I haven’t looked back since!
Why did you choose GE?
Over three years ago, I joined GE with Richard and Anne because we worked so well together in our previous firm, so that was the initial motivation, that and being able to work from home! I find GE has more of a family atmosphere than my previous firm and everyone has been so lovely. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone at GE that I have had the good fortune to work with.
What does your average day look like?
I log in early so I can try to plan my day and prioritise the work. Unfortunately, any amount of planning often goes out the window when I get very urgent work to complete at short notice. That happens fairly regularly so there’s never a dull moment!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Working from home 100% of the time is new to me so I had to get to know my colleagues in GE without physically seeing them, although with the pandemic came Zoom and Teams so that has been of great benefit and I can put names to faces now, which is great. Also, taking regular breaks has been a challenge to me as it’s very easy to work away for literally hours without moving from my desk. I’m still working on that. I bought myself a half-hour glass, like an egg timer but bigger, and try to use that and move away from my desk every 30 minutes. Well, that’s the plan anyway.
What’s been your biggest achievement?
I think onboarding and getting to know lots of new clients within the first couple of months when we took over from another VAT advisor in 2018. I have struck up a really good relationship with so many of these clients, and without seeing very many of them in the flesh. I have also gone on to build really good relationships with many GE clients too since then.
What are your goals for the future?
I would like to see the VAT team build in numbers and be a part of that, mentoring new colleagues so that they can continue providing an excellent service to our clients for years to come, long after I retire, which isn’t so very far away!
What advice would you give others that are seeking to pursue a career in VAT?
Join our team or at least do some training/work experience with us. There are formal courses that you can do too to build on your knowledge and there’s lots of friendly support within the team. I often say that working as a VAT advisor is like studying for an exam every day so we are constantly learning new things and the changes keep us on our toes – you can’t say it’s boring!