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Gemma Paterson

Tax Technology - Product Owner @ EY
785 karmaJoined Oct 2022Working (0-5 years)Whitechapel, London, UK
bashingthearc.substack.com/

Bio

Participation
4

London GWWC group co-lead: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/london

Organiser of the EY Effective Altruism workplace group and EA London Quarterly Review coworking sessions

In my day job, I'm an accountant turned product person in tax technology.

Comments
51

Topic contributions
22

Really excited to see this post! I've written a very early draft of something similar so very pleased that it’s already been done (likely better than I would have) so thank you 🤓

My background is Transfer Pricing at a Big 4 but I’ve moved into tax tech. I'd be interested in coordinating tax nerds interested so anyone reading this that would be interested then please message my EA forum account (I’ll make something happen if there’s enough people but also very happy to just chat about tax).

I think this would be valuable since:

  • I’ve had some great conversations with other EAs interested in tax policy
  • I'd love to see more posts like this [1]and it’d be great to get help building out the Tax Policy wiki on the EA forum 
  • Having a space like this would be a great gateway for mid career folks already in Tax to think about how to use their skills for good (or to start donating effectively)
  • My take is that, for those just starting their careers and looking to build career capital, a tax graduate scheme with a large international firm is a decent career first step.
    • Pay is solid for a fresh graduate meaning you can have an immediate impact by giving a % to effective charities.
    • Depending on the department, the hours are not crazy meaning you can do side projects and volunteer to keep engaged in EA stuff.
      • In particular, working on EA workplace groups in these key orgs seems valuable for broader community engagement
    • Large firms tend to have great learning and development opportunities. They will often pay (and give you time off to study) for professional qualification in accountancy and/or tax which is very transferable to an operations/organisation building skillset.

Other links readers might be interested in:

  1. ^
    • The international tax space was also an area that I thought might have been an interesting case study for AI Governance (there was a request for those here) given the conflicting incentives between countries. There's potentially interesting overlap between International Tax Policy and AI Governance if the technology is as economically transformative as some think and how tax policy could be used to redistribute benefits globally.

 

Since they were well received last year, I'm going to be hosting the EA London Quarterly Review Coworking sessions again for 2024. 

You can register here: Q1 FY24 session sign up; Q2 FY24 session sign up; Q3 FY24 session sign up; Q4 FY24 session sign up

Thanks to Rishane for making this poster and to LEAH for hosting us. 

Thanks for all your support!!! Very excited to have you join us in London ❤️

Absolutely agree - although I'm one of the other GWWC London co-leads so I am also biased here. I think low commitment in person socials are really important and tbh the social proof of meeting people like me who donated significantly was the most important factor for me personally.  

I'd would like to see people be a lot more public with their pledges. I personally think Linkedin is underutilised here - adding pledges to the volunteering section your profile is low effort but sets a benchmark.

I've personally added my pledge to my email signature, but I think this depends a lot on the kind of role you have, the company you work for and if you think the personal reputation risk is worth the potential upside (influencing someone else to donate more to effective charities). 

I think this could be especially powerful for senior people who have a lot of influence but equally I've had a few meaningful conversations with people off the back of it. 

I've got a half-written post on this for this forum series and Alex from @Giving What We Can has created some fantastic banner images for LinkedIn profiles. Some resources from GWWC:

Donating anonymously: Should we be private or public about giving to charity? · Giving What We Can

Why you should mention the Pledge in your LinkedIn summary · Giving What We Can

Great comment - I'd add that usually GWWC pledges in the UK are based on pre tax so it wouldn't actually cost the full £5k. Donations reduce your income for income tax purposes (but not NI) - Payroll Giving (UK) or GAYE - EA Forum (effectivealtruism.org)

ie. 

£50k salary 

£3.75k donation which is grossed up by 25% from your taxes with gift aid to £5k

If you actually donated £5k then that would be a £7.5k total donation when grossed up with gift aid. 

However, the higher rate tax (40%) band starts at ~£50k a year so every £1 donated above that costs 60p 

(Working on a longer explainer on this which updates this piece UK Income Tax & Donations — EA Forum (effectivealtruism.org) but you can check out the underlying spreadsheet which create these graphs here: UK Income tax (including NI) - Google Sheets)

Apologies for the delay in response - it has been a busy month at work!

Thank you for asking!! I have a lot of suggestions on this so have been trying to legibly structure my thoughts.

However, it has ended up turning into a bit of a monster answer and tbh replying to this comment is blocking me doing effective giving posts.

So I'm going to prioritise writing those this week and get back to you later.

Thanks for understanding!

Fantastic post and thank you for articulating this! I feel really similarly doing workplace organising - a lot of the value seems to be driven from connecting people to other people that take doing good seriously. 

Some people struggle to work out what the EA community is supposed to do for them, or what the point of it all is. For what it's worth, my experience has been that this confusion extends to all levels of seniority within the community. But for me, participating in the community was the obvious way to counter the attrition Brooks warned of. I tend to agree that you will tend to become more like those around you, but that applies to people other than your colleagues, and you can choose who those people are! Maybe those 'EAs' even find what you are doing praiseworthy, but a lot of the power is just in feeling less weird for trying.

I often feel like people working at core EA orgs forget how valuable this is for the vast majority of EAs, who do not work with other EAs. Almost everyone I know outside EA, from my parents to my colleagues to my neighbours, is not seeking to improve the wider world with any significant fraction of their resources. They're just getting on with their lives and trying to do right by the people they meet. To the extent they are aware of my giving, their attitude is one of curious fascination. 

Do you have thoughts on what you'd like to see more of in community building to support E2Gers? I'd be particularly curious about what you think made a difference when you were younger vs now

Oh wow!!! We'd love that!!!

I can arrange for there to be a physical certificate for you to sign.

Hi Mohammad - apologies for the delay in my response. 

I understand how you feel. It was easy to get caught up in the opportunities to get lots of money to tackle the suffering and pressing problems in the world. But, retrospectively I think this was a big mistake on their part and everyone involved in EA needs to take a serious look at their approach to risk. 

Hopefully, we can avoid falling into this trap again in the future. 

Thank you! That's very kind! 

I feel similarly about finding EA later in my life - I heard about it when I was a few years into my career rather than in university. I'm glad I did because if I'd heard about it in uni, I could imagine it becoming my whole deal. I've got a lot of value from working a normie corporate job first and I'm glad a lot of my friends really don't care about EA at all. 

One of my other half-written drafts is about the benefits of doing graduate training at an employer that churns out dozens of graduates a year rather than a small EA organisation (where the quality of management, mentorship, training and support is more variable). I think the 80k advice on career capital for new grads is great and getting people to think about their long term output (thinking 20-30 years head rather than just 5) is excellent, but I think their ideas for initial first jobs are limited (and so obviously written by cerebral oxford grads who would have access to top of the range opportunities). 

IMO they underrate graduates spending their first few years post-grad joining professions where there are existing networks and professional ethics requirements. Examples would be law/accountancy/engineering/medicine/teaching etc. I think there are downsides (time requirement, skills you might not use later) but I think there are benefits to having a more diverse non-academia EA talent pipeline and I want to spread effective giving into those spaces!! Having the pipeline mostly filled with early start up employees, policy people and management consultants is high risk - none of these roles are accountable to external ethical or professional standards. Plus, having worked in international tax, I now have opinions on potentially high impact tax policy work that isn't obvious to people without that background - I like being able to bring a different perspective.

***

Good for you on bad criticisms! Keep at it 💪

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