What led you to your career in tax technology?
Like many of my fellow freshman at California State University, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. I decided on accounting, which turned out to be a great fit. The debits and credits, balance sheets, trial balance, etc…it all made sense to me because I’m a person who enjoys creating a budget and living by it.
I attended college and worked full-time (sometimes two full-time jobs) to earn enough to support my family. My grades, as you can imagine, didn’t truly reflect my capabilities, but I continued doing my best.
After graduation, I received no offers from accounting firms, so I went to the career center and asked, “What do I do?” The counselor suggested I apply for an internship with Deloitte. I said, “Deloitte is a Big Four firm and won’t be interested in somebody like me.” She said, “Let’s find out!” So, I applied, landed an interview, and got a paid internship doing tax returns!
Once I finished my internship, I asked a partner I worked with if there were a chance for a full‑time offer, and he said, “Apply.” At my last interview in the interview process, the managing partner looked at my college transcripts and asked, “How did you get here?” I told him my story, and I got the job!
Where did you go from there?
Deloitte wanted to use Corptax software across their locations, so I joined a team of tax accountants interested in technology. I worked for three years at Deloitte in L.A. and then moved to Deloitte in Dallas. Several years later, Ernst & Young offered me the opportunity to do full‑fledged technology consulting. I worked there almost ten years and helped implement tax provision software—Corptax and others.
During this time, I completed my MBA and CPA. While finishing my doctorate, I began teaching accounting information systems as an adjunct professor at Texas Christian University.
A former colleague told me about the Corptax trainer position—a role that would allow me to use all my years of experience and knowledge—and here I am.
Tell me about your role at Corptax?
As a trainer, I teach clients how to use our software. Sometimes, my students haven’t used Corptax and sometimes they’re veteran users doing refreshers or attending for CPE credits.
I feel like my current job is something I’ve been working towards my whole life. I get tremendous satisfaction from teaching. There’s a term called “flow” where you’re so involved in your activity, you forget about anything outside of that. When I teach, I’m in a state of flow.
What are some popular topics you’re teaching now?
Nowadays, a tax accountant should not only have a solid understanding of debits and credits but have analytical skills, too. I teach several analytical classes that involve Alteryx, Tableau, Power BI, and Power Query. With strong analytical skills, an accountant can interpret financial data by looking at trends and pinpointing patterns, anomalies, and risk to determine the story. Accountants can then provide senior leadership with valuable information to help them decide how to proceed.
What is one thing that surprised you about working at Corptax?
What really surprised me is the flexibility the company provides. Plus, the ability to be an autonomous decision-maker is very rewarding. I can make decisions knowing my manager will support me.
What lessons has your work life taught you?
The one thing I’ve learned and try to teach my kids (who don’t listen to me) is there are no shortcuts in life; you have to put in the work in order to succeed. Of course, luck plays a part, but luck favors those who are prepared.
Who is someone you admire and why?
Some of my early teachers made a big impression on my life. I’m originally from Pakistan where I went to elementary school. To this day, I still fondly remember a math and an English teacher I had. I really looked up to and respected them and wanted to emulate them. Having that in the back of my mind when I started out in my career has led to many of the things I’ve done.