Tax professionals often move from a practice role at an accountancy firm to an in-house role in industry. Here we look at the six key reasons why they choose to do so, and the advantages of moving to an in-house tax team.
1. A greater sense of achievement
A regular grievance from tax professionals working for accountancy firms, is the feeling that you never get to see a piece of work through to completion. When providing advice to a business, you dip your toes into an issue but rarely see the resolution through to completion.
By moving in-house, you will get the opportunity to truly identify the problems within a business and be able to deliver and implement strategic decisions to create long term solutions. It’s a chance to get “your hands dirty” and truly see the fruits of your labour.
2. Exposure to multiple taxes
Particularly within a smaller in-house tax function, a move into industry gives you the opportunity to diversify your tax knowledge. Professionals at the accountancy firms tend to be specialists, be it in corporate tax, VAT, transfer pricing, operational taxes, personal taxes or product.
Professionals in-house will often get the opportunity to look at multiple facets of tax that relate to the business. This breadth of experience is invaluable should you ever wish to be a Head of Tax.
3. Potential route to CFO
With tax becoming increasingly high profile, professionals in-house are having regular exposure to multiple functions within a business. Not only does this make your job more interesting and varied, but with exposure to the C-Suite, Legal, Finance, Front Office and Operations teams becoming the norm, we are more regularly seeing Heads of Tax being considered for CFO roles within a business.
The in-house tax teams typically hold a philosophy of rewarding people based on talent, effort and achievement.
4. Better work-life balance
Granted, quarter ends can still lead to long hours, but on the whole people in tax work fewer hours in-house, than they do at the accountancy firms.
There can be a number of reasons for this, but you will certainly have more control over your time management, with greater oversight of your projects and BAU. Best of all, there will be no more timesheets, no more accounting for every six minutes of your day, and no unrealistic expectations of being 100% utilised.
Whilst the sheer volume of tax specialists within an accountancy firm lends itself to plenty of opportunity to move up the ladder, there still seems to be a hierarchical structure that rewards length of service within the business.
In contrast, in-house tax teams typically hold a philosophy of rewarding people based on talent, effort and achievement. People will often counter this, saying that you need to wait for someone to leave to get promoted in-house; the truth is that tax professionals with good experience will always be able to find that next promotion by moving to another company in such a situation.
The money is better in-house. When you make that first move into industry, not only are you likely see a jump in your base salary, but the bonus, pension contributions and overall benefits package will inevitably be better.
On average the standard bonus within practice is around 5 to 10% of your base salary (just about enough to pay for the Christmas presents). Compare that to industry, where tax roles in commerce tend to pay a bonus between 10 to 30% of base, and in financial services anywhere from 15 to 50%. This means you can quickly see a big difference in your total compensation.
There is endless opportunity to be gained from working in industry. You will achieve a greater sense of achievement, truly see the reward for your hard work, have a greater work-life balance, and inevitably move up the ranks quicker whilst getting paid better.
If you are interested in discussing tax roles in industry, the Robert Walters Tax team are here to help. Contact us today for the latest career advice and guidance.