A choice that happened by accident?
A choice that happened by accident?
Michaela Tutekova shares her thoughts on James Bond movie lines and how they fit in the world of tax returns
How did it all start?
Like many good things, this one happened by accident. I have an economic background and apart from being able to explain why taxes constitute a necessary evil, I barely knew anything more detailed at first. And let’s be honest, in terms of a dream job, “I prepared your tax return” is not a line you would hear in a James Bond movie. But it turned out to be a great match – now I am a Tax Advisor in the field of indirect taxation. I specialize in VAT, excise and customs. I get to work on various projects with multinational clients spanning different industries. At this point it feels more like building up a career, not just a job.
I remember walking out from my KPMG interview with a positive hunch. I liked that it was more a discussion of interests and drives rather than the common stressful interview.
How did you get to where you are?
It is not an easy journey. I have more than once found myself facing some pretty complex stuff, and my first thought would be “I don’t know if I can do this.” But I have never been afraid of a challenge and, apparently, that is the driver my bosses seek. I show passion and motivation for what I do, and in return I get all the support and training I need in order to learn and grow.
Now that I mentioned training, this is a constant must. You have to be proactive about learning new things all the time. You have to read, research and analyze a lot. Unless you are able to become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics overnight [Laughs].
What energizes you at work?
Coffee. [Laughs] And the people, they create a warm, friendly and collaborative atmosphere. I like that we work in teams and there is always someone who has your back.
Three words that describe your working day
In terms of daily work, I would say that’s where you get to be creative. Sounds funny, right? Taxes and creativity. But the job involves diverse projects with different deadlines and complexities, and a creative solution or an efficient idea is always welcome.
What is the most rewarding moment in your career in KPMG?
There was this big and tough client case, where I accidentally came across something that could help towards a potential solution, without even knowing it. And there comes the director and says “This is great. I totally agree. You helped me learn something new today.” I felt like I made it to the Olympics. And the case outcome was a win as well.
How do you make your work-life balance?
I have no recipe for this yet. But KPMG has adopted different policies like work from home, flexible working hours etc. which, in my opinion, help a lot for keeping such a balance.
I have many after-work hobbies like Salsa dancing, Krav Maga, I often go to yoga classes at lunchtime with other colleagues, which is pretty cool. We even have a book club and our own library.
I am into volunteering and organizing things, so I was very happy when last year our Tax, Legal and TBO practice founded the so-called “People Initiatives Team” which now I am part of. We dig into all kinds of ideas – participating in charity events like “Operation Teddy Bear”, coming up with awesome team-oriented projects (e.g. my team won a prize at the Halloween pumpkin carving contest), and arranging various sports events. Recently we went bowling after work – I was second best… Counting backwards [Laughs]. I also played Santa’s Snow White at our last year’s Kids Christmas party.
I do not know whether this counts as “balance” or is it more of a mixture between work and life, but I enjoy being part of it nonetheless.
What does your favorite Sunday morning look like?
My favorite Sunday morning was in fact a Monday afternoon. Recently KPMG took us dragon-boat racing. Apparently, a dragon-boat is a huge canoe. Imagine a contest between four boats and 150 people on them splashing water everywhere. It was really fun and I am definitely putting “canoeing” on my CV [Laughs].