My Tax Journey: Fiona Murphy, Tax Partner, RBK

Mar 01, 2021

Fiona is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and an AITI Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA). Fiona’s career started in the audit department of Crowe and she later transferred into their tax department. She then worked with KPMG before joining RBK in 2004. Fiona advises corporate and personal clients and specialises in corporate taxation and restructuring. She has a particular interest in international tax providing Irish tax advice for many international businesses and holds an Advanced Diploma in International Taxation. Fiona is a regular speaker at RBK client events and provides budgetary analysis at RBK’s annual Budget Briefing. We are delighted to feature Fiona in the first edition of My Tax Journey in 2021. 

How has your work and home life changed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic?

From a work perspective, I predominantly work remotely since March of last year. Moving from an environment where you had constant interaction with your colleagues to the virtual meeting world has been a big change and there is a real challenge in maintaining the connection with your colleagues, both professionally and socially.  We quickly moved to paperless files which is a positive move and one which will continue once we return to the office.  Clients have adapted well to our new way of working making the transition seamless in most cases.  Before coronavirus, I would not have been tech savvy but there has been a huge learning curve over the past year.

On the home front I have taken on a new part-time role home-schooling my three children all of whom are in primary school.  This has been challenging but the support provided by the school and teachers has been amazing. On a positive, working from home has allowed me to spend more time with my children that I, as a full-time working mum, would not have otherwise had.  I’ve also lost my commute!  Time is precious in that regard. 

What is the biggest tax and/or accounting challenge you are currently facing?

Brexit has been a huge challenge for businesses over the past 6 months – from the uncertainty in the earlier days as to whether a deal would be achieved to the practical issues that businesses are encountering on a daily basis such as accounting issues which consume significant time and resources for businesses.

COVID-19 has brought challenges for businesses. We have many clients in the retail and tourism sector who have seen their business reduce significantly. They face huge challenges managing cash flows and staff. COVID-19 has brought opportunities for other clients in expanding their business and we have been involved in structuring their new ventures from an accounting and taxation perspective.

How has Brexit impacted the business community in your experience?

Brexit has been challenging but it has also given companies an opportunity to re-assess their business model and explore new markets and products which they may not have done in the absence of Brexit. Many have been very innovative in their approach to Brexit and have tackled the challenges with careful planning and engaged with us as their professional advisers.

What has changed for the better in the profession since you started working as a professional?

Consistent with a lot of professions the game changer must be technology.  Whilst there have been many innovations in tax related technology over the years from Taxfind to ROS, the pace and pervasiveness of recent changes in technology is what really stands out for me and I think technology will continue to change the way we work as a profession. Being able to connect and work collaboratively with colleagues or clients in different offices in different countries at the touch of a button, extends the reach of the tax professional and makes the world of international tax a lot smaller.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

The tax world is constantly changing and evolving on a domestic level and on an international level which can be challenging but is exciting and dynamic. There is a great sense of achievement and satisfaction in advising clients on structuring their business in a tax efficient manner and achieving their objectives. There is never a dull moment when working in tax (or home schooling!)

What tax policy issue would you most wish the Government to tackle in 2021?

Post Brexit and Covid, our economy will need to be stimulated. The government needs to provide further supports for our SME sector and in particular, our entrepreneurs. There is an opportunity to further enhance supports such as KEEP, EII and CGT Entrepreneur Relief. Remote working will become the new norm and supports should be put in place for businesses to allow them to upskill their employees and upgrade their technology.