Tax Recruitment Industry Update

William Hepworth 30.08.2013

Our latest Tax Recruitment Industry Update is part of our constant commitment to add value and keep professionals updated. We have complied this interview with specialists in our Tax team, to provide insights to both candidates and employers.

What has surprised you in the past quarter in the Tax recruitment market, both from a positive and a negative perspective?

One normally expects a slight lull in the summer months but based on a year-on-year comparison, the situation in Q3 2013 gives further grounds for optimism.  Recruitment into tax and accounting practices maintained the momentum achieved in Q1 and Q2 but the jobs flow is down slightly on the in-house side, especially at the more senior end.  Accounting practices made significant redundancies 18 months to two years ago and this has now left a gap at assistant manager level, where we are seeing most demand, though many potential candidates are still reluctant to put themselves in the current climate.

Over recent months companies have been under increasing pressure to demonstrate full compliance with the letter and the spirit of tax regulations and this has had a significant impact on the Tax recruitment market. There is more focus on day-to-day activity as opposed to tax planning, which means there has been a rise in demand for staff at more junior levels, especially as it is easier for recruiting companies to get sign-off for these positions.  The downside of the recent media attention to corporate taxation is that companies are less aggressive in their tax planning than might otherwise have been the case, and this seems to have put a brake on recruitment at the senior level.

With globalisation and increasing international job mobility, there is growing demand for qualified tax professionals who have knowledge of the regulations in more than one country, and for specialists on the human capital side, who can advise companies on tax liabilities in more than one country.  Within the human capital and corporate specialisations in general, the market is very candidate-driven so exceptional tax professionals are likely to find openings.

Which tax qualifications are boosting the value and career options of tax professionals?

Candidates looking to build a career in the growth area of expatriate and international taxation are advised to sit the Advanced Diploma in International Tax (CIOT/ADIT).  For dealing with American tax issues, candidates should pass the Internal Revenue Service’s Enrolled Agent programme.

What is your outlook for the coming quarter and the rest of 2013 for tax recruitment?

We normally see an uplift in activity in September and October with the influx of recently qualified tax accountants onto the market and the Big Four announcing promotions for the coming year, which stimulates some professionals to look more actively for a new role.  In addition to these seasonal factors, the banks have been stepping up recruitment in general. This is always a sign of good things to come for the rest of the market and we expect this to translate into more in-house recruitment in the specialist tax discipline.

A new focus area that appears to be emerging is tax transparency, as organisations set out to demonstrate that they are fully compliant across the board and streamline enterprise-wide tax processes.  We are therefore also likely to see a growing demand for professionals with knowledge of tax technologies, i.e. software that sits on top of accounting systems to ensure compliance, identify savings and make the overall tax function as efficient as possible.  The big four practices have been developing their own technology offerings in this area.

We expect to see a growing demand for candidates with expertise in foreign tax regimes and emerging niche areas of taxation.  An example is the new Patent Box, which came into force in April 2013 and gives a reduced 10% rate of corporation tax on profits from patents.

Moving into such new areas is often a leap of faith but candidates with an entrepreneurial outlook will not only find opportunities with interesting companies (for example in the creative sector) but are likely to reap considerable rewards and advance their careers quickly.  The Big Four are actively recruiting candidates who have an interest in Patent Box and fit the personality profile.

What is happening in the contracting area?  Are employers looking for contracting roles for specific roles?

The contract market has remained fairly strong because of the budget restrictions on permanent headcount, but there is always a dip in the summer months as decision makers are on vacation.  We always see uplift in this market in the last three or four months of the year as companies do their year-end closes.

We have decided to conclude our update with a confidential poll around the tax market and will publish our results in the next edition.  Have your say here.

 Below are the results from our last poll 'What is your view on the media coverage around tax avoidance?'

 Blown out of all proportion: 20%
 Sensationalised - 40%
 Fair - 10%
 Needs further investigation - 30%

Read what our specialist consultants have to say about the Tax Recuitment Industry Update.

We are keen to hear your feedback and would be delighted to have any requests for specific content.

William Hepworth's picture
Manager | Tax
whepworth@morganmckinley.com

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