In this, their busiest season, tax accountants average 60-80 hours per week of detail-oriented work—work which more than a quarter of Americans avoid until the final two weeks before April 15.
It’s perhaps not surprising then, that the American Tax Association (ATA) commissioned a video contest with a $3,000 prize asking business students, “Why Tax?” Four Haslam College of Business masters of accountancy students gave an answer that won them second place and $2,000.
In their video, Kylie Reed, Rebekah Damron, Katie Robirds and Kelly Schroeder rap about what accountants do outside of tax season and why they find the subject matter interesting.
“I think one of the misconceptions about working in tax is that it is a boring and monotonous job,” said Damron. “I definitely worked my share of hours during my tax internship last spring, but if you find a workplace that you enjoy going to everyday and love the people you work with, it really helps.”
LeAnn Luna, the current president of the ATA and a professor of accounting at Haslam, asked students to participate for their own enjoyment. She finds tax work interesting and meaningful and hoped students could help express its value to their classmates.
“When I first chose tax, I liked the ever-changing nature of the tax laws, the ability to save my clients money and the diversity of the work,” Luna said. “Today, I like thinking about the social and policy implications of tax laws.”
Judges from the big four accounting firms—EY, Deloitte, PwC and KMPG—lauded the video for highlighting the reasons students should consider a career in tax and inspiring undergraduate accounting students to explore career opportunities in tax. Reed, Damron, Robirds and Schroeder chose to rap in the video to be more creative and embrace the spirit of the contest.
“Kelly is actually the one who came up with the idea to make a tax rap, and we all quickly got on board,” said Reed. “We knew we wanted it to kind of look like a ’90s music video.”
The MAcc students plan to respect the spirit of fun inherent in the contest by putting their winnings towards a spring break trip.