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BDO Australia

  • #4 in Accounting & advisory
  • > 100,000 employees

Isabelle Silberling

6:15 AM

My alarm goes off (most likely waking up my household and neighbours due to the volume) and I get ready for the day. I am not much of a morning person so I make sure that everything is laid out nicely the night before to maximise my morning sleep in.

6:30 AM

Double checking that I have my keys and office swipe card, I leave the house and catch the bus into the city to head to the gym before work. The earlier I leave, the faster (and cheaper) the public transport is which is a great incentive!  

Isabelle BDO Leaving home

7:50 AM

I leave the gym and head into the office. The facilities in our building make it easy to have a shower and get ready before work- they even provide towels and hair straighteners! As I have forgotten to iron my shirt, I quickly iron it before heading upstairs.

8:10 AM

I’m just in time to grab breakfast! Each morning, there is breakfast provided in our main office break out level, with a great continental breakfast spread with some of the basics such as yoghurt, toast, cereal, juice and fruit. Nothing better than a hearty (and free) breakfast to start the day. There are newspapers available and news broadcasted on a television next to the kitchen, which helps me get my daily news fix.

Isabelle BDO having breakfast

8:30 AM 

Work begins for the day. Each day, I start by checking my emails in case something urgent has come through. I like to keep a clean inbox and separate everything into folders. It is also useful to read the tax updates sent through from our company subscriptions to stay up-to-date.

Isabelle BDO checking email

9:00 AM

I meet with my manager to be briefed on any new jobs and she gives me an income tax return to complete for a credit union. During the briefing, we discuss the budget and timing for the job, any tricky issues that may come up (especially as we have completed the income tax return for this client previously) and the type of operations that they are running.

Meeting with manager

We are still waiting on some information from the client, but I can prepare everything else ahead of time. This involves working through the information that the client has sent us and using our company tax return template. By the end of this job, I will have a completed excel tax return, draft tax return, completed risk checklist (our internal policy), draft letter and email to send to the client.  

10:00 AM

It is time for our team workflow meeting. We have such a large Corporate Tax Team that we are split into smaller workflow groups to effectively manage tasks that come in. During this meeting, we run through the monthly budget and estimated costs for different jobs that we will be working on. This is useful as it allows us to check whether we are on track for the budget. Members of the team also have the opportunity to communicate that they have capacity for work. Another function of this meeting is tracking our wins and opportunities, which is a nice way to celebrate our colleagues’ hard work.

Isabelle BDO team meeting

10:30 AM

After the workflow meeting, I make myself a cup of tea before going back to the same job that I was working on earlier. As there is still outstanding information, I inform my manager once I have completed as much as possible. As I have some queries for the client, I also send my manager a draft email with all of my questions outlined. 

1:00 PM 

Time for lunch! I like spending my lunchtime by sitting outside in the sunshine near the Brisbane River with friends so I try to pack my lunch each day. On Friday’s, my tax team organise a group lunch which is always something to look forward to at the end of the week.

2:00 PM

When I return to my desk, a different manager in my team has sent me some details about a client requesting remission for a general interest charge from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). I need to call the ATO to explain why the client is requesting a remission. Depending on how busy they are, a phone call to the ATO can take as little as five minutes or more than 20 minutes. As they are busy today, I am stuck on hold for a while until they can take my call.

2:30 PM

A client has emailed in some fringe benefits tax (FBT) questions relating to their company making monthly payments for their employee’s private vehicle. My manager has asked me to draft an email response. I start by outlining what the exact issues are and then research the relevant legislation and ATO guides (which are really useful for FBT). I then apply these rules to the client’s situation and draft a response for my manager. It is always a good day when I get to mix both my legal and accounting background.

5:00 PM 

And work is finished for the day! Tonight, I have a game of social netball for our Tax Team “Net Loss”. Depending on the time of year, we play netball or touch football, which is a fantastic opportunity to get to know my team outside of the office. Before heading to our game, I head to my best friend’s house (who started with me in the graduate program) and we hang out until the game starts.

On other nights of the week, I have orchestra rehearsal or meetings for youth organisations that I volunteer for (such as UN Youth Queensland). It is important to keep a work-life balance and stay connected to your passions.

8:00 PM 

We had a late game today and only just finished. I head home and make dinner before laying out everything in preparation for the next day.

9:30 PM

I attempt to go to sleep. Often, I find myself attached to a good book that I cannot put down (I am looking at you Liane Moriarty), or scrolling aimlessly on my phone for an hour.