Second year BSc Economics student Victoria shares her experiences during her 3 week summer internship at Deloitte as part of the College of Social Sciences Case Study competition. Students from Birmingham Business School, Education, Government & Society, or Social Policy can enter here to win £40!
Deloitte – Indirect Tax (VAT) – Summer Internship – 3 weeks – Birmingham
Firstly, Indirect Tax never crossed my mind when thinking about careers but there’s a lot more to VAT than you may think. In Indirect Tax, we offer advice to clients regarding what the correct VAT treatment is. Many people come from a Law background as VAT is primarily about legislation. However, when I talked to colleagues, they had a variety of degrees from Chemistry and Engineering to History and Psychology.
So, what did I do?
It all started with the interns from all of the regional offices meeting at a hotel in Solihull (Birmingham), where we collected our hoodies and began ‘networking’. London interns were separate from us as there were the same amount of interns in London as there were across all of the regional offices! Sixteen interns came from the Birmingham office in total but only two of us were for Indirect Tax. The weekend consisted of meeting some Associates and Senior Associates and asking any questions that we had over a three course meal. The following morning was an early start with talks and presentations with advice on what we should and shouldn’t do on our internship as well as a commercial awareness exercise.
I started properly on the Tuesday with a full morning of IT training and important information. We were all then taken out to lunch with our buddies, after which we then separated into our service lines. It began with a general VAT introduction, starting with the basics and how the process works. We were then shown around the office, introducing ourselves to the VAT team (approx. 30 people). Everyone was really friendly so I definitely felt welcomed.
That’s when the real work started. Straight away I needed to write a ‘to-do’ list as there were so many things to keep up with. Despite being there for only 3 weeks, I got involved in so much and worked with a range of people across Indirect Tax, from Associates right up to Directors. I can honestly say that I could ask a question to anybody and they would stop their work and help me. That was something I really liked about working there; everybody had time for you no matter how busy they were.
I had the opportunity to go to three client meetings which was a great experience although some of it was a bit too technical for me to understand. I worked on drafting emails to clients in Belgium and Spain. As well as this, I drafted shorter emails to UK clients who needed other VAT advice such as recovering VAT and what the correct procedure is if Company ABC did XYZ. There are so many rules in the legislation, as well as exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions so I was constantly learning new things every day. This is what attracted me to considering a career in Indirect Tax after my first week; I thoroughly enjoyed working on new projects as there was so much to learn. Moreover, I worked on some past technical queries to give me more of an insight into what I would be doing as a future Indirect Tax Consultant. There were so many different aspects to think about so it was challenging but at the same time I enjoyed it because it kept me on my toes.
The Social Side
I had a great laugh on my bay, so I felt like I was made a real part of the team. There was good banter with the Assistant Managers’ right up to Directors. Every Friday is ‘Dress-Down Friday’ (unless you have a client meeting), so the majority of people will wear casual clothes. Moreover, every first Friday of the month is ‘Free-drinks Friday’. This is held in the reception of the office where there’s a wide range of drinks as well as a buffet. This was a great start to my internship as I got to interact with people from different service lines.
I went out for lunch once with some of the VAT team, which made a nice change from the canteen. I also went out for drinks after work about three times (they paid which was great!). Again, it was good to just relax and really get to know the team. Events were also organised for the interns by Deloitte including bowling and a meal out which was great fun.
In addition, amongst a few of the interns, we organised our own drinks out, meals at lunch time and a meal on our last evening. However, the Tax and Audit interns never really interacted as Audit were often on client sites and thus never in the office.
In general, the canteen was decent, with a good choice of food and it wasn’t expensive. In the summer however, many people eat outside in Brindley Place which has a great atmosphere. Being honest, I thought I’d have to eat at my desk most days but I didn’t, I got a full hour every day which meant I was refuelled to start an afternoon of work. In terms of starting and finishing work, I got to the office most days between 8:30 and 8:45am. I also had the impression that I’d be working most evenings in the office but it’s not like that at all. The latest people will stay is until 6:30pm and that’s just people finishing off work. I was usually gone by 5:45-6pm.
I wish this internship was longer although it was enough for me to decide that it’s what I want to do in the future. With tax, it’s a lot more office-based and that’s what I like because you get to know the people in your team. Finally, working in Indirect Tax with Deloitte, I learnt that there is a much better work-life balance. This is something I am keen on as I don’t want to spend all hours of the day working with no time to enjoy the money I’ll be earning!