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Interview: Amanda Thorpe, Product Owner

Posted by Wolters Kluwer on 25-Oct-2018 14:42:00

We spoke to some of our employees about why they changed career paths from being tax and accountancy professionals to working at Wolters Kluwer. Here's what they had to say.



Amanda Thorpe

Product Owner for Online Tax





What do you do at Wolters Kluwer?

My job title is Product Owner for Online Tax, but there are a few strands to what I do in my role. I am one of the team members who have been driving our Making Tax Digital development, which is included in CCH OneClick. I am also working on the development of our new cloud compliance solution which is currently in the early stages. I work closely with the Product Management team on these.

I also look after one of our agile development teams, working alongside developers, QA and a scrum master, where I help guide the team with the features we are working on developing at the moment. It is my job to prioritise the work for the team to ensure we’re working on the right things, which requires adapting to any changes both internal and external.


What made you want to change your career path?

Prior to joining Wolters Kluwer, I was a Chartered Tax Advisor, working for six years in practice for an accountancy firm. It was a job that I came across and thought the description suited me, not knowing what I particularly wanted to do for a career.

I particularly enjoyed the tax planning aspect, which is a mix of using tax technical knowledge and being able to apply that to your client’s particular situations. However when I would picture myself in the future, when asked the “where do you see yourself in x years time” question, I just couldn’t see me doing the job for my whole career.


What was it that attracted you to the Wolters Kluwer role?

I had a natural affinity for computers and was jokingly referred to as the “IT department for the tax team” by my colleagues, as they would ask me to help sort out any problems that encountered with the various software products we used. I hadn’t thought about moving into a software role until I heard about a job opening at Wolters Kluwer and I realized that it seemed to play to my strengths well; involving both tax and software, and allowing me to use my more creative side too.

I remember thinking that I really wanted the job when I walked out of the Kingston office after I had my interview.


What has been the most rewarding thing about making that career change?

I think there are a few things I’ve found rewarding. The first is simply having picked up my knowledge of development to the extent that I can participate in relatively technical conversations; it’s opened a new world of knowledge to me. There’s also the fact that working in the software industry allows me to be creative in a way that tax practice did not let me.

I’ve been very lucky to have been involved in a number of projects since joining Wolters Kluwer a little over 3 years ago too. I joined as a Business Analyst, working on our Personal Tax and Corporation Tax products, before moving on to working on our Making Tax Digital project when HMRC announced the initiative. Earlier this year I changed roles to Product Owner, and have been helping to drive the direction of our online tax projects. It’s been really interesting to be involved in so many different projects.


Has the career change been what you expected?

I think the answer is both yes and no. The side of the work that involves tax compliance and being the “translator” between tax technical knowledge and the development team is what I thought it would be. However I don’t think I imagined I would be so involved in the direction a product takes as we develop it. Nor did I expect to be involved in cloud development, understanding the technologies involved in that, and to gain a detailed understanding of things like APIs. But I have always very much enjoyed learning new things, so it’s definitely no bad thing!


How have your accountancy skills benefitted you in your new role?

My tax knowledge, from both studying and practicing tax, allow me to fulfill the translator role I mentioned. In practice, you need the technical knowledge, but your clients are unlikely to speak in tax technical terms, so you learn how to word things in a way a non tax technical person will understand. This has been key in working on tax compliance.

Additionally, using CCH Central and other products in practice, along with understanding the processes we used in practice to manage our work, have been very beneficial in giving me good insight when we look to resolve customer pain points. Even where firms of a different size to the one I worked for have different processes, there is still a commonality across the accountancy world.


What do you enjoy most about working at Wolters Kluwer?

I really enjoy being involved in the end to end development of our products; seeing something in the planning stages and it reaching the point of being developed and released to customers. And it’s a pleasure to work alongside innovative and talented colleagues in this process, who I have learnt a lot from.


If you're a qualified tax or accounting professional with experience working in practice and an interest in technology who's interested in a career change, Wolters Kluwer could be the place for you! Please send us your CV and we'll be delighted to discuss what opportunities might be possible for you!


Read the other interviews in this series:

Morag Matthews, Professional Services Consultant

Dean Shepherd, Senior Product Manager

Phil Thornton, Senior Product Manager