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Experience of working in a high street agent for HMRC trainees

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calculator with a pen and piece of paper with figures on

Back in the Spring I asked contacts within the larger representative bodies to help me find places for our tax technical trainees to experience a day in the life of a high street agent.

These trainees spend most of their office time in our compliance teams and so are unlikely to know what the day-to-day work involved in delivering clients’ returns to HMRC entails.

My grateful thanks to all those who offered to host one of these visits, and particularly to Philippa Stedman (ICAEW) and Tina Riches (CIOT) who helped to pull together a summary of the role of agents, including their legal and professional obligations, together with a suggested itinerary for the visit.

Many trainees have now made contact with their hosts and some visits have taken place or are planned for the next few months. Sadly we may not be able to take up all the offers because of the geographical spread of trainees, but they are appreciated none the less.

The feedback from our trainees so far is very positive: they really appreciate the chance to see things from another viewpoint. One was surprised at the detail required in an engagement letter; another at the number of quality checks involved. One shadowed a number of telephone calls with clients and noted that some of the issues and problems that arose in the calls were the same as those that arise in calls with HMRC.

A number of trainees commented that the structures and processes were similar to those they experienced back in their own offices. Maybe we aren’t that different after all?

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  1. Comment by John Jenkins posted on

    One day is not enough. I have always advocated that swapping tax trainees and accountant trainees should be part of any qualification and the minimum term should be 3 months for starters with a 6 month goal in mind.