An Inside Look at the Tax Field: Agility, Balance, and Other Keys to My Successful 30+ Year Career

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Lee Anne Sciambra. Photo courtesy of KPMG.

Lee Anne Sciambra. Photo courtesy of KPMG.

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May 23, 2024 at 9:32PM UTC

What does it take to work in the tax services field? According to Lee Anne Sciambra, Tax Partner and Office Managing Partner at KPMG, one key ingredient to succeeding in tax services is to find mentorship

Reflecting on her 30 years of experience in providing tax compliance and consulting to both publicly held and privately held companies, Sciambra notes that mentorship has been “such an important part” of her career success. “I had the best mentor who pushed me when I needed a push and pulled me when I needed help sticking with it,” Sciambra tells us. “I value that relationship more than anything when I think about my success.”

Today, Sciambra is paying this help forward by mentoring and empowering other women in multiple ways, including serving as the co-chair of the KPMG Women’s Advisory Board (WAB) and KNOW — KPMG's Network of Women Business Resource Group (BRG).

“In my role as the co-chair of the WAB, I am intimately involved in the development of our female professionals,” shares Sciambra. “I focus on where in their careers women need the most support, what are the biggest challenges to continuing a career at KPMG, and what leadership skills are most important to develop in women leaders. The KNOW BRG seeks to provide training, development opportunities, and connectivity to help support women in advancing their careers.”

Throughout her work at KPMG and in KNOW, WAB, and beyond, Sciambra focuses on leading by example and sharing her full story, including her struggles and successes. “I thoroughly enjoy paying it forward because I know that I have been successful due to great mentors,” says Sciambra. 

Here, Sciambra took the time to share her great advice and story with Fairygodboss. Whether you're looking for advice about the tax services/consulting fields, looking to find a supportive company to grow your career, or for inspiration, Sciambra has you covered!

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s your current role, how long have you been in this role, and what’s your day-to-day like?

Currently I am a tax partner, serving clients in various industries. In this role, I am responsible for overseeing a team that prepares tax returns that are required to be filed with relevant tax authorities. I am also responsible for supporting clients’ other tax needs, including determining how tax law changes, reorganizations or acquisition/disposition activities, and more impact their business decisions. Additionally, I serve as the managing partner of two offices in Louisiana. In this role, I represent the KPMG brand in the community as the lead partner. I am responsible for our people initiatives and overall culture of the offices, as well as our community impact.

How has KPMG supported you in your career?

Having been with the firm for over 30 years, I have had many opportunities to develop and direct my career path. KPMG offers not only technical training and support to ensure that I can provide the highest quality to my clients, but also training on more soft skills and managerial skills to ensure that I can continuously develop my leadership abilities. I have been afforded the opportunity to be a part of many select groups over the years, which have given me exposure to our top leadership, as well as the chance to network with peers from all over the country. These are the most valuable experiences to me.

What do you find are the most rewarding and challenging aspects about working in tax services? 

Deadlines and the forever-changing tax laws are always challenging. This field involves continuously learning, which is challenging and rewarding. My best days are when I have collaborated successfully with coworkers to provide a client with a solution or positive result. I also love a good new client win!

Over your 30 years in the tax/consulting fields, what traits and skills have you developed that helped you succeed?

In this field, being agile and flexible are very important. You also must gain the trust and respect of your clients and be able to maintain those relationships. Balance is also important. Knowing when to take time for yourself and balancing this with your career is necessary to work in this field long-term — balance is a responsibility you have to prioritize. I have learned no one is going to do that for you, so you have to make this a priority yourself.

Switching gears, could you tell us more about how you empower other women in the WAB and KNOW groups?

My work with WAB and KNOW is about my passion for sharing my story of success with other women and being a role model. This group of leaders is focused on the success of our women professionals and helping develop more women leaders in our firm. We support programs such as Stacy Lewis Rising Stars, which focuses on successful senior managers and directors in our firm. Participants get the opportunity to network and interact with women in leadership roles and benefit from our golf sponsorship with Stacy Lewis to help them focus on relationship-building and other necessary skills for successful leadership. We are also a conduit for networking and sharing across our KNOW chapters which are organized in our local offices.  

In addition to your plethora of roles at KPMG, you are also an active member of your community. How do you balance everything?

We make time for the things that are important to us. You have to learn to say no sometimes, which can be difficult. I have focused on the things in the community that I am passionate about. I also think they connect to other things that are important to me, like my children and my career. That makes it a little easier when it comes to balance.

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