A word with our latest recruit – Dr Marilyn Mifsud

PKF is an audit and accountancy firm and you are an advocate. So the first natural question to pose is why financial services?

A: When I was doing my practicum my dream (like most young lawyers) was to be a criminal court lawyer. Just walking through the corridors of court gives one a certain air of grandeur and the hearing halls that are like stages where lawyers become performers appealed to me greatly. However¸ as often happens in life¸ a chain of events propelled me in a different direction.

You graduated a few months ago¸ but have been working for longer¸ tell us about your previous experience.

A: I was still in my sixth year of Law at University when I took my first job as a Legal Officer within an International Fund Administrator. I was working full-time and writing my thesis¸ while still technically a full-time student juggling lectures and sitting for exams. It was pure madness. But I wanted a head-start and I wanted to learn. In the end I got both and I am very grateful for that. Admittedly¸ I was not in love with the work and being a passionate person I sought a connection with everything I did. Someone once told me that ‘when your work ceases to be your pleasure it should cease to be your work’- perhaps an ambitious thought in the back-drop of the constant economic melodrama¸ but I went with it just the same. Nothing is ever lost in experience. One should be grateful for every experience given because each new venture becomes a stepping stone to the next- a cliché¸ but a truthful one.

Now that you have been with PKF Malta for a few months¸ what is it that most endeared you to the firm?

A: Although PKF Malta is a member of PKF International¸ the local firm is a small family-run business and this invariably lends the work-place a family-like atmosphere. PKF also incentivise and actively support continued learning of their staff¸ a quality I find to be most commendable. Another desirable quality of PKF is that Management is accessible as well as the fact that albeit a small firm¸ internal training is an ongoing process. As a young lawyer starting my career I feel I was really given a chance here and it is an incredible driver to be believed in. It is hard to explain but it is the feeling of being given the chance to give something as opposed to the feeling of being taken from. There is a difference. Job satisfaction¸ pride and initiative often accompany the first but are missing from the second.

What is the biggest challenge you have had to face so far?

A: Definitely Tax. In tandem with working at PFK Malta I am reading a Masters in Financial Services of which a core subject is international taxation. Taxation issues also enter many audit/accounts client-related matters and in never having studied the subject before I struggle with the interplay of concepts. That and the fact that tax draws on logic which presupposes a scientific mind¸ while I draw from language¸ literature and the arts¸ so there is a clash of ‘heritage’ which makes being a taxation student very challenging for me. However it is necessary¸ and desire does not stand in the path of necessity.

Do you have any words of advice for young people at career cross-roads?

A: Nothing ventured¸ nothing gained. That’s a truth. Knowledge is power. That’s another. Everything’s a gamble so try not to let your happiness depend on anything that can change. And never take yourself too seriously