Partner in Birmingham’s International Tax team, Alex Christoforou thinks EY Birmingham is a springboard to wherever you want to go in your career. Here’s how he did it.
In a smaller team, you’re closer to clients and managers
I joined Birmingham straight after graduating. I recently made partner, after only 10 years with EY.
When I reflect on how I made the promotion so fast, I think the opportunities in Birmingham really helped. For example, in a smaller team, you’re closer to your managers and can more easily ask questions. From early on I was leading projects and getting to know clients – my first client was a FTSE 100 company.
I’m not alone — a lot of EY's senior UK people trained and made partner in Birmingham. What they learnt led them into national leadership positions.
Travel opportunities abound
International Tax involves helping large, complex global groups make sure their international tax activities are efficient, accurate and timely. My clients are typically operating in a number of countries, so they need to exactly how the laws in each are working to be sure they’re paying tax properly.
I often travel to my clients — usually three to four trips a year. Recently I've been to New York, Detroit and Dubai.
We have a group of UK tax professionals who work in New York. High-performing Advisors get to go, as well as Senior Managers. Most people in my team have been. The EY office is in Times Square, so you can live and work in Manhattan!
The team also holds global and European conferences. The recent European conferences were in Barcelona and Zurich.
It's a lot of fun, meeting and sharing a drink with clients, and getting to know colleagues in other countries. You get to meet the real people behind the email, whom you rely on every day.
What makes Birmingham special
Birmingham has changed a lot in recent years, and it’s still changing. The lifestyle here is great – it’s vibrant, commuting times are short and you get more for your money when it comes to buying or renting your home.
Now I'm partner I work more with large funds, like private equity, pension and sovereign wealth. I spend a couple of days a week leading a team in London.
I could have started my career in London and might’ve ended up in the same place I am now and just as fast – some others have. But being in Birmingham has given me all I needed. My career progression here has been smooth and the opportunities truly global.