Breaking Into the Accounting Field: How to Become a Tax Manager


Breaking Into the Accounting Field: How to Become a Tax Manager

Are you looking to advance your career in accounting and become a tax manager? This comprehensive guide will provide you with the essential steps and tips to help you break into the accounting field and achieve your goal of becoming a tax manager. From obtaining the necessary education and certifications to gaining relevant experience, we will cover everything you need to know to succeed in this competitive industry. Let’s dive in and start your journey towards becoming a successful tax manager.

Education and Certification Requirements for Tax Managers

When it comes to breaking into the accounting field and becoming a tax manager, there are specific education and certification requirements that aspiring professionals need to meet. Here are the key requirements to consider:

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or Finance

One of the foundational requirements for becoming a tax manager is obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. A strong background in these fields is essential for understanding the intricacies of tax laws and regulations. Coursework in areas such as auditing, tax accounting, and financial reporting can provide a solid foundation for a career in tax management.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Licensure

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, many employers look for tax managers who hold a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. This certification demonstrates a high level of expertise and knowledge in accounting and tax matters. To become a CPA, individuals must pass the CPA exam and meet specific education and work experience requirements set by the state board of accountancy.

Additional Certifications

In addition to a bachelor’s degree and CPA licensure, tax managers may benefit from obtaining additional certifications such as Enrolled Agent (EA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA). These certifications can help professionals specialize in specific areas of tax management, such as representing clients before the IRS as an Enrolled Agent or focusing on management accounting practices as a CMA.

Overall, meeting the education and certification requirements for tax managers is essential for establishing credibility and expertise in the field. By obtaining a bachelor’s degree, CPA licensure, and additional certifications, aspiring tax managers can position themselves for success in this challenging and rewarding career path.

Skills and Qualities Needed for Tax Managers

Aspiring tax managers should possess a unique set of skills and qualities to excel in their role. Here are some key attributes that are essential for success in the accounting field:

Strong Analytical Skills

Tax managers are required to analyze complex financial data and interpret tax laws and regulations. Strong analytical skills are crucial for identifying patterns, trends, and discrepancies in financial statements. Being able to think critically and solve problems efficiently is a key component of a tax manager’s role.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is a critical skill for tax managers, as they are responsible for ensuring accuracy in financial reporting and compliance with tax laws. A small mistake in tax calculations or reporting can have significant consequences for a company. Tax managers must pay close attention to every detail to avoid errors and ensure compliance.

Good Communication Skills

Effective communication is essential for tax managers, as they often need to explain complex tax concepts to clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders. Tax managers must be able to communicate clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing. Strong communication skills are also important for building relationships with clients and collaborating with other professionals in the accounting field.

By developing and honing these skills and qualities, aspiring tax managers can position themselves for success in the competitive accounting field.

Gaining Experience in the Accounting Field

One of the key steps to becoming a tax manager is gaining valuable experience in the accounting field. This experience will not only help you develop the necessary skills and knowledge but also build a strong foundation for your career progression.

Internships and Entry-Level Positions in Tax Departments

Internships and entry-level positions in tax departments are great opportunities to gain hands-on experience in tax accounting. These positions allow you to work closely with tax professionals, learn about tax laws and regulations, and assist in preparing tax returns. By taking on these roles, you can start to develop a deeper understanding of tax accounting practices and begin building your expertise in the field.

Progressing to Tax Accountant or Tax Analyst Roles

As you gain more experience in tax accounting, you can progress to roles such as tax accountant or tax analyst. These positions involve more advanced responsibilities, such as analyzing financial data, preparing tax reports, and providing tax planning advice to clients. By taking on these roles, you can further enhance your skills and knowledge in tax accounting and continue to grow in your career.

Taking on Leadership Opportunities within Tax Teams

Another important aspect of becoming a tax manager is taking on leadership opportunities within tax teams. As you gain experience and expertise in tax accounting, you may have the opportunity to lead projects, mentor junior staff, and take on managerial responsibilities. By demonstrating your leadership skills and ability to effectively manage tax projects, you can position yourself for a promotion to a tax manager role.

Overall, gaining experience in the accounting field through internships, entry-level positions, and progressing to more advanced roles, as well as taking on leadership opportunities within tax teams, are essential steps to becoming a successful tax manager.

Networking and Professional Development

Networking and professional development are crucial aspects of breaking into the accounting field and becoming a successful tax manager. By actively engaging in networking opportunities and investing in your professional growth, you can enhance your skills, expand your knowledge base, and build valuable relationships within the industry.

Joining Professional Organizations (e.g. AICPA, NATP)

One of the best ways to network and stay up-to-date on industry trends is by joining professional organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP). These organizations offer a wealth of resources, networking events, and continuing education opportunities that can help you advance your career in tax management.

Attending Tax Seminars and Conferences

Attending tax seminars and conferences is another effective way to network with industry professionals and stay current on changes in tax laws and regulations. By participating in these events, you can gain valuable insights, learn new strategies, and connect with like-minded individuals who can support your career goals.

Building Relationships with Tax Professionals and Recruiters

Building relationships with tax professionals and recruiters is essential for advancing your career in tax management. By reaching out to experienced professionals in the field, you can gain valuable advice, mentorship, and potential job opportunities. Additionally, connecting with recruiters who specialize in accounting and tax management can help you explore new career paths and secure positions that align with your goals.


In conclusion, becoming a tax manager in the accounting field requires a combination of education, experience, and dedication. By obtaining a relevant degree, gaining practical experience, and obtaining professional certifications, individuals can position themselves for success in this competitive field. Developing strong analytical and communication skills, staying updated on tax laws and regulations, and continuously seeking opportunities for growth and advancement are essential for aspiring tax managers. With hard work and perseverance, anyone can break into the accounting field and achieve their goal of becoming a tax manager.