I am delighted to present the sixth in a series of profiles of senior women in Indirect Tax. The aim is to showcase the talents, experience and stories of these amazing women, and provide some insight into their professional and personal lives, what inspires them and what wisdom they can share. My sixth interviewee is Astrid Krause, Senior Manager, Global Oils Europe (Indirect Taxes) at BP.
After qualifying as a solicitor, Astrid joined the Corporate Tax practice of Arthur Andersen in Johannesburg. The decision to transfer to the London office twenty years ago marked the start of a career in Indirect Taxes, initially with Andersen and subsequently with Deloitte. She took her first industry role with a FTSE250 engineering company, managing the group’s UK VAT as well as R&D credit activities. A move to BP in 2012 offered the opportunity to work in a dynamic and multi-faceted business, where she first supported the Upstream segment before moving into a global indirect tax risk management role.
A return to the UK portfolio in 2016 saw her lead the team of VAT and Customs & Excise advisers supporting all of BP’s segments during a time of considerable transformation internally, but also in the external environment. Early in 2019, she moved to BP’s trading and supply business where she oversees the UK and European advisory and compliance activities, and also supports the business’s global growth agenda.
Astrid is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation as well as the CBI’s Indirect Taxes Working Group. She is also a mentor for the BP Aspire programme, aimed at identifying and nurturing emerging talent within the organisation.
- What gets you up in the morning?
Morning Report on BBC Radio Five Live!
- Can you describe your current role to me in 1 sentence?
I lead the Indirect Taxes team supporting BP’s Supply & Trading business in the UK and Europe.
- What led you to your current position?
A series of great opportunities within BP have opened a number of doors for me during the last seven years. I have been continuously challenged to step out of my comfort zone to where I now partner a very dynamic business with a remit beyond just Indirect Taxes.
- How did you get into Indirect Tax in the first place?
I studied Law and was subsequently recruited by Arthur Andersen’s Corporate Tax team in Johannesburg. When I interviewed for a role in the London office, the vibe in the VAT team appealed strongly. So.. like many of my peers, I ended up in Indirect Taxes more by accident than design, but certainly no regrets.
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Indirect Tax industry right now?
The level of scrutiny from fiscal authorities has never been greater and the challenge we face to remain compliant whilst also adding value to operations continues to be an area of focus for leadership teams globally.
- What advice would you give to young professionals – especially women – starting out on their Indirect Tax careers?
Trust your ability to learn new things, have the courage to challenge existing ways of working and take responsibility for the consequences of your actions – good or bad.
- What barriers have you had to overcome during your career to date?
Upon reflection, I think I created my own internal barriers..! Thinking here of second-guessing myself unnecessarily or waiting for others to take the initiative. So many opportunities missed….
- Have there been times when you considered changing career tack?
The dynamic nature of global Indirect Taxes has always appealed to me. I guess the only time I changed tack was the move from practice to industry.
- What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A professional tennis player..!
- What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be brave enough to make your own decisions – you know more than you think you know, and you are stronger than you thought.
- What are your honest thoughts on social media?
I am mindful of social media’s ability to be disruptive in a negative way, but I am also encouraged by the opportunities it offers to introduce us to new sources of information and different ways of thinking. As with many things, it is all about balance.
- If you won a big award, who would you thank?
My parents – who have never (let on that they) doubted my ability to achieve whatever I put my mind to.
- What’s the one word you’d want people to describe you with?
- Books or kindle?
Kindle… all day, every day!
- If you could have a Skype chat with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Roger Federer for sure – what an inspirational icon, on and off the court.
- What is your best time saving tip?
We do lead very full lives – sometimes self-imposed but mostly not. I find that meticulous planning in advance mostly seems to pay off when trying to keep all the plates – at home and in the office – spinning as they should.
- What has been the best part of your day today?
A member of my team being publicly called out by the business for a complex project very well delivered. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing someone making the most of their opportunities and being recognised accordingly.
- Favorite holiday destination?
Anywhere hot and sunny, thank you.
- Tell me one thing that people might not know about you……
Listening to Country & Western music while baking is my happy place… escapism at its finest.
- by Liz Watt