The LCN Tax Interview: Nina El-Imad

We are delighted to feature an interview with Nina El-Imad, director of Simpson Booth, an oil & gas recruitment and resourcing business which also provides HR & tax consultancy services. Nina has also held a number of senior finance roles (including tax director) at Subsea 7, a subsea engineering, construction and services company serving the offshore energy industry.

Why did you get into tax?
Half way through my second year at University, I decided that I wanted to train as a chartered accountant and I was looking for some summer work in one of the Big 4 firms (or 6 as it was in those days). I wanted to go down the traditional audit route, but all the audit summer placements seemed to only be for a week and were unpaid. I happened to stumble on details of an 8 week paid placement at KPMG in their expat tax department, which was definitely financially more attractive! After convincing them that I had always wanted to work in tax (!), I got the job, and I am delighted that I did as it convinced me that I didn’t want to work in audit. When I started my ACA training the following year, I joined an international tax department within Arthur Andersen.

Who has been the most influential role model for your professional life?
I have had a number of influential role models, both during my time in practice and my subsequent career in industry. I have been lucky to work with people who have taught me a lot and have allowed me to take on significant responsibility, which has helped me to develop throughout my career.

What do you see as the biggest trend affecting the tax world over the next 10 years?
The focus on Transfer Pricing is going to continue as countries try to ensure that they are collecting a ‘fair’ amount of tax from international businesses.

What is your pet hate when dealing with advisers?
My pet hate is advisers who give theoretical advice without any thought to its practical application in the real world.

In a movie of your life story, which actor would you like to play you?
My life story would definitely not make an interesting film, but if I had to choose an actress to play me, it would be Meryl Streep – I love all her movies.

What would be your dream job if you didn’t work in tax?
My dream job would be to star in a West End musical. Sadly I can’t sing so it’s unlikely to ever come true!

What is your biggest extravagance?
It would definitely have to be shoes – I have far too many.

What do you do to relax?
I have got two boys under the age of 4, so relaxing is not something I ever get to do. Before I had children I used to do some running which I really enjoyed, so hopefully I can get back to it at some point.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I honeymooned in Bali which was amazing, so that would have to be my favourite holiday destination.

What piece of advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Don’t be afraid to take chances.

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