Success story: Catriona Swaine Chartered Tax Consultant

Jun 14, 2016

Since completing my FAEs in 2010 I’ve always worked in practice. It allows me to work in all aspects of accountancy including tax, audit, bookkeeping, and financial reporting.

Added client services

I wanted to study a course in tax as I feel it’s essential for an accountant in a small/medium practice to provide the most rounded service to clients. Long term, I wanted to future proof my career. As there is nothing certain in life except death and taxes, I thought that studying tax was a good choice.

I chose to study in the Chartered Tax Consultant course in 2015. Since then, I use aspects of the course in my current job, every day.

Weighing up the options:

 I looked at a number of courses before deciding to study the course with Chartered Accountants Ireland.  The top two courses that I found were Chartered Tax Consultant by Chartered Accountants Ireland and Chartered Tax Advisor by the Irish Tax Institute.

The course with Chartered Accountants Ireland stood up above the Irish Tax Institute course for me as I studied with them before and knew their education standards are very high. The course takes just one calendar year to complete so it was the obvious choice for me.

Excellent lecturers

The lecturers were excellent. As they are practising professionals, they really knew what they were talking about and how to explain it. I felt very confident in their abilities and learned a lot from them. They answered challenging questions expertly.

Case Studies

The case study sessions really brought the theory and practice together. They taught me how to apply the information into real life situations. The case study sessions also gave me the chance to discuss similar situations I came across, and how the legislation applies to it. 

Putting a study plan together

The course ran from January to December and it required huge commitment. The course is a lot of work – there is no point pretending otherwise.  When I realised the amount of work involved, I was able to put a plan in place to get the most out of it.


It’s amazing how you can carve out pockets of time when you need to. I watched the online tutorials during lunchtime and read the upcoming chapters in the evening. I live in Wexford, so travelled up by DART. I used my commuting time to study.

My attitude towards it was that it’s one year. it did mean having to limit pretty much everything else, be it weekends away or nights out.

I gave myself a cheat day to unwind and keep me motivated. Sundays were for me (provided I had no assignments due).

Unexpected benefits: group dynamic and new friends

The course was a great opportunity to meet new people; it gave an insight into how other practices run and the roles of other course participants. This isn’t something you can ask another practice over the phone, but over coffee it’s easy. I enjoyed the camaraderie in the class group.  As it was challenging, we pulled together to help each other through it.

Chartered Accountants’ staff & facilities

During the course, I met a number of staff from Chartered Accountants Ireland.  They were all excellent to deal with.  Emails were always promptly replied to regardless of how minor the queries were.  They put me at my ease.

The classrooms upstairs and case study rooms were good sizes for what was needed.  The classrooms had two large projector screens, good space for everyone and it was easy to hear the lecturers and see the slides.

Confidence boost

The course increased my confidence, how I approach work assignments and my role as a whole.  Placing third in both Applied and Integrated Tax and having the Chartered Tax Consultant qualification is something that I am extremely proud of.  It has given me the belief that I can do whatever I put my mind to.

Added services

Completing the course also means that I can assist colleagues with queries that previously would need to be dealt with by the partner. It also means that I can identify issues for clients that I never would have in the past.


Having the knowledge and confidence to apply the legislation has proved key on a number of occasions in relation to VAT, CGT and corporation tax.


The time spent during the course and the emphasis that was placed on legislation is something that I have implemented across the board as part of my role.  I have used the training of reading and interpreting legislation in implementing the new Companies Act 2014, Criminal Justice (Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act.


Standing out from the herd

Being a Chartered Tax Consultant is something that distinguishes me from other accountants.

The course also inspired me to sign up for another Specialist Qualification – Certificate in UK and Irish GAAP which I am currently completing.


I recommend the Chartered Tax Consultant course to anyone interested in tax. It enables you to take on more projects and really add value to your employer and clients. If you want to get advanced skills in accountancy, finance and tax I advise you to learn with Chartered Accountants Ireland and find out why they are the leaders in the industry.