Gaining real-world skills by helping community


6 minute read

Last month, students from the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) began providing guidance to many Canberrans with their tax affairs.

The assistance they offer is a part of the ANU Tax Clinic initiative – a friendly, student-run clinic where clients receive information from CBE accounting students, under the supervision of experienced tax practitioners.

The Clinic first opened in 2019 and operates for approximately 11 weeks, coinciding with the period before tax returns are due. This year, it is offered exclusively by phone and videoconferencing to comply with COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines. The Clinic has also extended its services beyond Canberra to Yass, Goulburn, Queanbeyan, Jindabyne, Cooma and the South Coast region, from Eurobodalla down to Eden.

Carolyn Drury, the Clinic’s Manager says that students are given the chance to help real clients, with real tax issues, in a positive environment. “It is great to see them improve their confidence and knowledge as they gain such valuable and unique experience,” she adds.

“In the challenging circumstances of 2020, the Clinic is providing CBE students with a rich opportunity for work-integrated learning. Operating on a virtual basis this year has made it more accessible to the community, including regional areas,” shares Dr Sonali Walpola, the Clinic’s Academic Lead.

Five CBE students interning with the Clinic – Nikunj, Wei, Yunfan, Linpei and Jason – feel they have benefitted immensely from the initiative.

Nikunj Agarwal Ishita Moghe

Nikunj Agarwal, Master of Accounting

How has the ANU Tax Clinic prepared you for the professional world?

The internship has given me an experience into the real-world working environment. It has helped me bridge the gap between my theoretical and practical knowledge. Dealing with clients with real problems has provided me an experience that I would not have gained from the classroom.

Wei Hao Leong PC CBE

Wei Hao Leong, Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)

How have you benefitted from interning at the ANU Tax Clinic?

It’s been a one-time opportunity for me to explore other fields in accounting and potential career paths while studying at CBE. Personally, the internship has really helped me with my taxation law course, as I’ve gained an experience beyond my syllabus.

Yunfan Bi CBE Careers

Yunfan Bi, Bachelor of Accounting and Bachelor of Finance

What are the most valuable insights you acquired through the ANU Tax Clinic?

Through my appointments, I have realised the value of several skills, such as holistic and quick thinking. Communicating effectively with clients, particularly those with diverse backgrounds, is a professional skill that I believe is of paramount significance in any industry. 

Linpei Liu Min Xu

Linpei Liu, Master of Accounting

How does your internship influence your career choices?

The ANU Tax Clinic provides a dynamic working environment where different insights are gained every day. I keep refining my knowledge and improving my soft skills with every case and client that I come across. Interning at the Clinic gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I can now more clearly see myself being a tax accountant in the future.

Jason Yeo Timothy Yeo

Jason Yeo, Bachelor of Commerce

Could you share an experience from the ANU Tax Clinic that changed and challenged you personally?

During my first appointment, I had a client who asked a plethora of questions that challenged me. This experience established how I would approach my future client appointments – by being better-versed with my tax knowledge and improving the clarity of my answers. My first appointment was a humbling moment; it gave me a taste of what’s to be expected in the real-world when I start my career.

The ANU Tax Clinic is open until 23 October 2020. Click here to learn more and make an appointment.

The ANU Tax Clinic is holding the information session Hot Topics in a Challenging Tax Season on Thursday 8 October, 7pm. Click here to register and better understand what changes may affect you this tax season.   

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.

Photos in the order they appear:
Ishita Moghe
CBE Careers
Min Xu
Timothy Yeo

Image: Zadorozhnyi Viktor,