Lenka Bentall (July 2019)

Lenka Bentall (Líšková) is from Trnava, Slovakia and she graduated with a master’s degree from the IES in 2015. Before she joined the IES, Lenka studied at Masaryk University in Brno, during which she spent a semester studying at IÉSEG School of Management in Paris. After her bachelor’s degree in Brno, she decided to pursue further studies at Charles University in Prague. During her time at the IES, she joined the tax department at Deloitte in Prague. Shortly after graduating from the IES, Lenka moved to London where she has now been living for 4 years. At Deloitte London, Lenka continues to focus on expatriate personal income taxation and global mobility and successfully passed Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) exams in the UK. Lenka mainly works with technology, media and telecommunication clients and thanks to that she had a great opportunity to spend a month in Silicon Valley, California.

 

 

 

Lenka, you came to the IES after graduating from bachelor studies in Brno. What brought you to Prague? Why did you decide to continue with Master’s at the IES?

Lenka: I applied and was accepted to IES for a Bachelor programme originally but eventually made a choice to study Finance and Law in Brno. Following my Erasmus in Paris, I decided that I would like to move to Prague. The prestige of IES and Charles University itself played a big role in my decision to pursue Master’s studies there. I knew a few people studying at IES whose great feedback reassured me that IES was the right choice for me.

The community at IES is very international and friendly which made it very easy for me to adjust to the new environment. Being able to study in the heart of Prague definitely added to the charm of the university experience.

Moving from a Bachelor’s degree at Masaryk University into a Master’s at IES was definitely a challenge, in particular a subject such as Advanced Econometrics, given this was something I had not studied before in great depth. Given the choice again, I would not chose otherwise and loved studying at IES so much that I recommended my younger sister to study there too – which she did!


You worked for two years at Deloitte's Prague office, then you moved to London. Was it difficult to move abroad within the company? Did you have to go through some special interviews or exams etc.?

Lenka: I started working at Deloitte in Prague during my second year of Masters Studies at IES. Deloitte were really great at accommodating this, in particular during the times when I was writing my Master Thesis. After I graduated at IES, I decided to move to London. As part of my job, I speak to people who move across the world with their job and therefore moving to another country seemed like a natural step for me. As my move was a personal move, rather than a company driven move, I had to approach Deloitte in London and go through an interview process to get a job. I was very lucky that both leadership in Deloitte Prague and London were supportive of my move. Understanding the relocation process can be lengthy helped me, however I still found it a bit difficult. After a few months, I was offered a position in Deloitte London in the Global Mobility team focusing on clients in Technology Media and Telecommunications industry, which was a great fit for me. Since joining Deloitte London, I have had some great opportunities, a particular highlight was spending a month at a client in Silicon Valley, California. Whilst I’m now based in London, I still often come back to Prague to see my old team at Deloitte and friends.


In both the Czech Republic and Great Britain, you are working on tax issues. Do you need some special skills except from knowing a lot about the taxation systems? You became a member of Chartered Institute of Taxation, what does this exactly mean for you?

Good question! To start with, working in tax might be a bit daunting. Even though I had some basic knowledge about Czech tax law from my studies, I went through initial tax training as part of on-boarding at Deloitte Prague and worked towards Registered Tax Advisor exams in Czech Republic.
When I moved to London, I had to learn about how UK taxes work. I am very grateful to my team who have been patient with me, especially at the start when I was learning about a completely new tax system.

I knew I wanted to complete a tax qualification in the UK to become a Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA). In the UK, unlike in the Czech Republic, you can complete a few levels of tax exams. First, you need to complete Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) qualification which I have completed within my first year.

I then moved onto the next qualification, CTA, which is more similar to the Czech Registered Tax Advisor exam in its difficulty and prestige and is more challenging to pass, especially first time. Whilst my focus is personal income tax, in particular for expats, I had to learn about other taxes. Deloitte London have been great at supporting my through my studies and I was able to take study leave to fully focus on the exam. I successfully passed the CTA exams at my first attempt and have been admitted to the Chartered Institute of Taxation in the UK. It is great to have the recognition for my hard work and be part of the leading professional body in the UK for tax advisors. It is particularly special to have achieved a professional qualification in another country in such a short period of time.

 

You were in Paris for a study stay at the university, now you live in London. What is your favourite city and you pick up something that interests you in both?

Lenka: Both Paris and London are great and such diverse cities. I love the French café culture in Paris and just a quick train ride away means that I have been back to Paris almost every year since I have lived in London. Paris is definitely a city I love to come back to and enjoy walking around Jardin de Luxembourg or eating crepes in Saint Germain des-Prés.

When I moved to London, I lived very centrally and therefore a lot of the main London tourist sights were just a short walk or cycle away and it was a great way to experience the city. One of my favourite things is to go for a run in London and explore new streets and parks – there are so many of them!

Both of these cities have so much to offer and what interests me in both is the fact that street to street you can have a completely different experience, one minute you are surrounded by amazing historical buildings and next thing you know, you feel like you are in a little village. Despite being such large cities, there is a lot of greenery in both which is very important to me.

You recently got married (congratulations!). Are you planning to live in the UK, or is your husband (foreigner?) ever thinking about moving to the Czech Republic? Can you imagine?

Lenka: Thank you! My husband is British and actually lived in Prague with me for a year! In the near future, we are planning to stay in the UK as we own a house here in London. At the moment, I would like to continue my career in the UK, especially after completing my professional qualifications here. I absolutely love Prague and take every opportunity to come back and visit, so you never know what might happen in the future!

 

 

 

 

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