Why should you move from in-house tax to practice tax? Five reasons to help you make your mind up.
Most in-house tax advisors began their career training in an accountancy firm before moving into an in-house role. Whilst the majority continue their career in-house some do make the move back into practice and we are seeing a lot more movement in hires this way. A lot of career blogs/articles for tax advisors focus on the benefits of moving from practice to in-house but what about the other way round? I have summarised the main reasons why tax advisors should consider a move back into practice.
Clear Career Progression
The structure of a tax team within an accountancy firm is typically hierarchical meaning you can be offered a straight forward career path where you can understand what is expected of you at each step of the ladder.
The benefit of this structure is that your career path will be purely dependent on your performance. You will not have the issue (regularly experienced in-house) of having to wait for someone more senior to leave their role in order for you to be promoted. Within accountancy firms each promotion is significant to the team, the business and most importantly the client offering, and so there is a lot of support in terms of training and development to help you make the most of your promotion – and reach your potential.
Technical & Professional Support
As a tax advisor within an accountancy firm, keeping up to date with changes in tax legislation and international tax rules is imperative. Your offering to clients must be commercial and correct. Working in the profession means you will always be technically at the top of your game. Whilst you are not expected to know every piece of tax legislation by memory, when a technical query arises there are the tools and colleagues at your disposal to get the advice required.
For your own professional development, you will have access to both internal and external courses, seminars as well as a number of networks allowing you to develop your soft skills – it is not just technical tax knowledge that you will need to succeed. These skills can include: communication, organisation, business development, leadership and staff management, all of which enable you to become a well-rounded tax professional.
Interesting & Diverse Work
Within mergers & acquisitions/transaction tax teams, the clients and transactions you will be involved in are often on the front pages of the business press allowing you to have a real sense of pride and excitement in the work you undertake. Other corporate tax teams can be industry specific – Real Estate, Energy, Media & Telecoms, Financial Services and Mid-Markets, each comprising a broad range of clients enabling you to specialise in an area that you are really passionate about whilst also maintaining a broad technical base, as you will be working on a variety of tax issues. A limitation of working in-house is that the work by nature, will be limited to the company you work for.
The profession pays well – particularly upon ACA/CTA qualification. On top of a basic salary and general benefits such as holidays and pension, there are often further benefits including: cash car allowance, PMI, Life Insurance, Critical Illness cover etc. At Partner level, salaries outstrip those of an in-house Head of Tax and reflecting on an earlier point, within an in-house team there can only ever be one Head of Tax, whereas in an accountancy firm there are numerous Partners.
This is most notable in the Big 4 who are leading the way in the employment market on the ability to work anywhere and not to be tied to the same desk five days a week. With the ability to invest in excellent IT and telecommunication infrastructures, they are in a position to offer you the chance to work anywhere and operate in a mature environment where you can manage your own diary.
If reading this has interested you into considering making a move into practice, contact me for a confidential discussion about the opportunities available to you.