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Inspiring Indirect Tax Women - Alison Hone


I am delighted to present the second 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 second interviewee is Alison Hone, Charity VAT and Tax Group HR Partner at Saffery Champness.

Alison Hone

Alison is head of the firm’s VAT services for their charity and not-for-profit clients. Alison is a member of the firm’s Not-for-Profit Practice Group and manages a wide portfolio of charity clients, including thirty percent of the top 100 fundraising charities, many household name charities, sports clubs, and charity and not-for-profit umbrella bodies, religious organisations, hospices and approximately twenty different charities within the Wildlife trust network.

Alison manages the firms wholly dedicated team of charity and not-for-profit VAT specialists. She has contributed articles to Charity Finance Magazine, as well as writing news updates, internal guidance and fact sheets for the sector as a whole. Alison sits on the Charity Tax Group’s VAT expert group and attends observer meetings. 

Alison organises the firm’s VAT workshop series for charities and not-for-profit organisations and is a regular speaker at these events. Alison also regularly attends the sector conference on VAT and tax matters and has spoken at the Charity Finance Group and Civil Society VAT & Tax conferences. 

Alison joined Saffery Champness in 2003. Her work prior to joining the firm was with HMRC where she was a VAT visiting officer. 

  1. What gets you up in the morning?
    Having a great team of people that I work with and the most amazing clients.
  2. Can you describe your current role to me in 1 sentence?
    Charity VAT and Tax Group HR Partner at Saffery Champness
  3. What led you to your current position?
    Leaving HMRC, hard work and a fantastic mentor
  4. How did you get into Indirect Tax in the first place?
    By accident. I thought I was having a summer by the seaside following my exams but was told I had to get a job so I took an admin job in HMRC. 30 years later, I am still in VAT!
  5. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Indirect Tax industry right now?
    Retention of staff and uncertainty with Brexit
  6. What barriers have you had to overcome during your career to date?
    Making the leap from HMRC to the private sector was a massive challenge and extremely daunting. Latterly having increased responsibility and the overwhelming challenge of HR matters as well as VAT.
  7. Have there been times when you considered changing career tack?
    Yes I have
  8. And if yes – what made you stay?
    At times my mind wanders but to be honest, I genuinely love my job and the work I do and so feel happy to stay.
  9. What has been your ‘career-defining’ moment?
    That moment when you get appointed Partner.
  10. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
    I always wanted to be a teacher or a chef.
  11. What advice would you give to your younger self?
    Never give up. I didn’t go to university and left college with 8 GCSE’s. I had to work hard to get where I am today and be accepted as a Partner. I think I’m the only Partner here without a degree.
  12. What are your honest thoughts on social media?
    It’s a bit like marmite – love it or hate it.
  13. If you won a big award, who would you thank?
    My family, team and my mentor.
  14. What’s the best thing anyone has ever done for you?
    Spending time with a friend who made me make a life changing decision three years ago and to help make it happen.
  15. What’s the one word you’d want people to describe you with?
  16. Books or kindle?
  17. What is your best time saving tip?
    Ocado online food shopping.
  18. What has been the best part of your day today?
    Having a trip to Harrogate cancelled because of the snow forecast and having a unplanned cheeky coffee with a great friend early.
  19. Favorite holiday destination?
    Lanzarote – I’m going on Sunday…
  20. Tell me one thing that people might not know about you……
    I’m a singer and have sung in a church choir for the last 38 years.

- by Liz Watt

Posted by: Beament Leslie Thomas