60-second interview with Irene Liew

Irene Liew, 7/10/2019

Irene Liew TEP is Manager – Estates and Trusts, at BNR Partners, Victoria, Australia.

How did it feel to win the STEP Private Client Award for Accountancy Team of the Year (midsize firm)?

It was humbling, especially knowing many international and well known firms entered submissions, when we are a little-known firm from Australia.

Why is winning a PCA important to your firm?

For us it provides recognition that the Australian tax consulting services we provide to our clients are as important as other trustee and legal services in this area.

What are the main challenges facing your organisation at the moment?

I would say continuing to be innovative, and staying ahead of our competitors. More and more accounting firms are now moving into this area in order to remain competitive, and jobs are moving offshore.

How will you deal with these challenges?

For the most part, being more creative in our thinking and marketing, and providing the best services possible to our clients to encourage further referral work. Referrals are the best endorsements and are key to staying ahead.

What do you like best about your job?

For me the best thing is the variety of issues in each new job. No two cases are the same.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

What’s worthwhile for me is being able to assist our clients; whether via solicitors acting for them or with the clients directly. It is good to be able to tell new clients we can assist them, particularly after they have tried other accountants without success.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

This is a very specialised field and very different to the usual accounting and tax positions. If they are inquisitive, creative and want a sense of satisfaction in providing a solution; this job will keep a person on their toes.

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

With Australia’s ageing population, this area will continue to grow, with a high proportion of individuals with overseas assets or private wealth. The tax implications on issues surrounding wealth passing to the next generation will increase, as Australian tax legislation has not been designed to directly address death taxes. In future, inheritance tax may be an area that our government will start to consider, in order to address some of the inherent drawbacks of current legislation, and to follow the rest of the world on inheritance taxes.

Which social media channels do you use and why?

We use LinkedIn. When we commenced in this area, taxation was never a consideration of estate administration for many executors and solicitors. We needed to get our message out to a broader audience that tax is also an important issue, and all executors need to consider it, so social media helps with this.

Irene Liew TEP joined BNR Partners in 2011, where she manages the Estates and Trusts section. Irene is a qualified chartered accountant, chartered tax adviser and a Full Member of STEP.