How did you get started in your career and what drew you to EY?
Having studied law at university, becoming a solicitor was a natural path for me. Having graduated from the University of Leeds and completing the LPC, I qualified as a solicitor at a silver-circle law firm in London. As part of my training contract, I spent six months in the tax department where I gained exposure to a wide range of taxes, from FATCA to VAT. Given the experience that I received, I knew that tax is the area that I wanted to work in going forward.
With a view to augmenting my tax and finance knowledge, I was keen to undertake the CA and CTA qualifications. As a result, upon qualification, I accepted a position as Assistant Tax Advisor at EY in 2015. In addition to the CA and CTA qualifications, EY offers me the opportunity to work with the country’s leading tax advisors and internationally renowned clients. Furthermore, I am able to utilise my previously acquired legal experience and build on this with compliance and tax auditing experience.
The projects and clients that I have been involved with to date reinforces my decision to move into the Financial Services Tax Team at EY.
How do you manage your disability at work?
I am registered blind. This prevents me from being able to see my computer monitor or to read print. Ordinarily this would make every day office tasks such as responding to emails/printing quite difficult. However, upon commencing at EY, the firm purchased JAWS (screen reading software) for me to use. This simply reads out what is written on the screen and enables me to use my computer akin to any able bodied individual.
Additionally, I have the use of a personal assistant who assists me with every day office tasks such as printing, scanning, file creation and posting documents etc.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
EY purchased JAWS for me to use and enabled me to have the use of a personal assistant (please see above for further detail). Overall, EY has enabled me to circumvent the obstacles that are posed by my disability to ensure that I can maximise my potential.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
Be open and honest from the outset - honesty really is the best policy. Be very clear with your employer/prospective employer as to what you can do and what you find difficult. Only if they are made aware of this can they put reasonable adjustments in place to help negate the difficulties caused by your disability. Sometimes, the company to which you are applying may be experiencing a candidate with your particular disability for the first time. As a result, they may not be aware of certain information relating to your condition that you consider to be obvious.
What qualities or skills have you acquired as a result of having a disability and how have these helped you in your career?
I have acquired vital problem solving skills. At least once or twice a week I will encounter a difficulty in the workplace pertaining to my disability. As I am not aware of any other registered blind person within tax or EY, there is not a person that I can approach for advice. I have to devise practical solutions myself. Within any organisation or career, the ability to solve problems is a vital skill.