Private Client Tax Review 2018/19

Kerry McLaughlin 03.05.2019

Private client tax across the whole market including Big 4, top-tier, Boutiques and General Practice has remained consistently busy, with Brexit appearing to have no direct negative impact on workload and hiring trends.

Overview of Private Client Tax Recruitment

Whilst the general sentiment across the tax recruitment market has been quite uncertain in light of the political environment, private client tax across the whole market including Big 4, top-tier, Boutiques and General Practice has remained consistently busy, with Brexit appearing to have no direct negative impact on workload and hiring trends.

In fact, when we have spoken to our clients across the whole market, it seemed that January 2019 and the tax year end were the busiest experienced in quite some time with very little downtime so far for private client professionals. Given the constant need and desire to be compliant with reporting, coupled with the fact that HMRC are becoming more aggressive on ensuring individuals’ tax affairs are correct, it’s hardly surprising that the profession has been up against it.

Hiring trends

We have experienced a real appetite to hire, demonstrating that the private client tax market is still growing despite the crack down on non-domiciles, with advisory services still in demand. The additional layer of advisory services seen now comes in the form of tax risk management which is seen to compliment and safeguard planning, subsequently increasing revenues.

However, despite the desire to hire and the funding available, it’s proved difficult to secure talent with the specific expertise that hiring managers seek, and generally, we have seen that candidates are quite reluctant to explore the market and opportunities.

Most desired hires have been at the Manager and Senior Manager levels, with advisory skill sets, as well as Director and Partner. For the first time in a few years, the need at the Senior Manager and Director level has surpassed that of Manager – showing that the gap is finally being narrowed with graduates progressing through the ranks.

Senior Manager hires have been challenging to secure, which has impacted the levels of revenue teams can generate as this gap hinders both the development of junior members and the ability to win new work.

The general practice market overall saw real growth, much of which being organic with many expanding their client base. As with the Big 4 and top-tier, GP firms respond well to CTA qualified candidates, often creating a business case around a candidate where there perhaps wasn’t the specific need.

Private Client Tax Specialists

Outlook for 2019/2020

It will be interesting to see how the profession evolves as the advancements in technology have been such that this could impact the way businesses look to hire. Many clients have suggested that they no longer want to plan to recruit junior candidates/graduates as the work they would have done (compliance) will be undertaken by technology, and so will only look at experienced hires.

Additionally, the Big 4 are leading the way with ‘flexible workforces’ using a bank of contractors to undertake specific tax projects. This way of working could also affect the hiring trends within private client moving forward. The next year or two looks set to be an interesting year for the profession!

Should you wish to understand more about the market and indeed discuss any hiring needs, please contact Harriet Stocker or Kerry McLaughlin.

Kerry McLaughlin's picture
Senior Consultant | Private Client and Indirect Tax Recruitment
kmclaughlin@morganmckinley.co.uk