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Read Najma’s interview below, where she talks about the difficulties of being a working mother, but was determined to progressed in her career…

Name, job title, and how many years have you worked in Claritas?

Hi there, my name is Naj Qamar, and my role is Senior Manager at Claritas Tax. I have been within the firm for almost four years now.

Tell us a little bit more about your role?

I oversee the Corporate Tax Compliance for the Birmingham office, ensuring that the process is not just smooth but that we meet all our clients’ tax compliance obligations efficiently and deliver on time. The increasing tax compliance complexities mean, more than ever, that stringent working methods are in place to capture the tax specialist issues that arise out of corporate tax compliance. By keeping communication lines open with the client constantly either face to face or virtually, it means that I am able to assist our clients in the best way possible.

Describe your career progression and what has supported you to progress to this position?

I started almost 25 years’ ago, within a Big Four firm, in the Corporate Tax Compliance sector slowly moving onto more mid- tier firms, which I believe has provided me with the opportunity to harness considerable experience in corporate tax compliance and understanding the level of information HMRC require as well as gaining exposure across other areas of taxation. I have been resolute in making the most of career opportunities that have come my way, setting personal as well as professional goals.

Through the encouragement and advice provided by the team at Claritas I was able to build upon that experience and pursued my ideas and approach in expanding the corporate tax compliance work within the firm.

How do you feel the business has supported you to grow professionally and personally?

Being in a firm that shares my values and ethos of putting the client first and the willingness by colleagues to share knowledge, give up their time and work closely together in delivering to a client, has made my path to grow professionally at Claritas easier.

It’s motivating to work with colleagues who value and appreciate the input you provide. No-one is ever too ‘senior’ to reach out to for any problem, whether it be professional or even on a personal level when you need it, despite how busy they themselves may be.

The firm encourages me to take advantage of the training and development that is available from many resources. So it’s good to feel that I can utilise a different training provider if required where there isn’t a suitable course on offer.

On a personal level, Claritas has given me the confidence to believe in myself and enjoy what I do. There are no timesheets to feel the intimidation that they can present, but instead allow you to manage the workstream freely, with time to prioritise your personal well-being and take breaks.

What barriers have you personally faced in your career and what advice would you give to others to overcome these?

As a working mum throughout the whole of my career, it has been very hard at times to juggle work and home life. Peak season, guilt of taking (or not!) time off to look after children to name a couple may sound too familiar but can present each mum with their individual challenges, which at the time, feel huge to overcome and like you’re the only one that is struggling. This presents a self-made barrier and as a result impacts your work output as well as health.

The important thing I learnt was to talk about your struggles at home and at work. You soon realise you’re not alone and can pick up lots of short cuts and neat tricks! Organisation and delegation of what you are able to also helps lessen that load and work effectively.

To overcome this, I suggest setting yourself small goals, which include personal time out for yourself, all which contribute to a positive mind-set and boost your self-confidence.

What advice would you give to the next generation of females wanting to grow into your position?

Be determined and believe in yourself, because then you have a better job at convincing anyone else!

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