Moving to a role beyond tax with Aaron Dine

Author Michael Johnson
November 3, 2022
Korean graphic designer sharing ideas during meeting in modern office studio

Aaron Dine is currently the Group Financial Controller at Elementis, a constituent of the FTSE 250. Having qualified through Ernst & Young and worked his way up to Tax Senior Manager, he moved in-house in 2018. Here we ask Aaron about his career decisions to date, and how he positioned himself for a role beyond tax.

Aaron, what drew you to a career in tax and the Big 4?

Like most people, I fell in to tax. I decided that I wanted to move in to the world of finance, and a three year training contract in the Big 4 was offered. We agreed I would join the tax team in EY’s Southampton office, and in hindsight, this gave me a great grounding.

Were there any skills that were particularly valuable when you made that move?

My most valuable skillset has definitely been the ability to distil complex tax issues; explaining difficult concepts to non-tax people. In-house, I speak with people at manufacturing plants, in procurement, in sales, and they don’t want
a four page answer to a tax question. Some of my Big 4 peers where guilty of overly detailed technical analysis, but working in EY’s regional office with a lot of OMB clients really forced me to kick that habit!

With the benefit of hindsight, would you have done anything differently?

I couldn’t necessarily change anything. There seem to be two natural points to leave the Big 4; as a newly qualified or as a Senior Manager. I felt that moving at Senior Manager level was a good choice, and opened a lot of doors at quite a senior level.

You have clearly excelled in-house and have progressed quickly. A lot of people thinking of moving in-house are concerned about leaving the structured progression that exists in the Big 4, so how did you achieve that progression?

I think you have to be more proactive and assertive in industry. You can carve out more of your own role, and get involved in things outside core competencies by being a problem solver for those outside the world of tax and finance that I operate in. Put your hand up, speak to the right people, be a problem solver because the structured career path of promotions and pay reviews of the Big 4 doesn’t exist to the same extent in-house.

Was the European Finance Director role secured by osmosis of more and more responsibility, or something you were formally exploring with the executive leadership team?

A bit of both. Some things have naturally fallen to me over time, but I had
also been having proactive discussions with the CFO which meant he knew I
was keen to progress. He has been really good at getting me involved in other
areas of the business, and has been really influential in my development.
Good contacts within the business are essential and meant that there was
support internally when my promotions were discussed. Finally, there’s been an element of luck as well; people have moved at the right time, certain projects have come up, but I had positioned myself to capitalise on that good fortune.

What advice would you give to tax professionals looking to do the same thing?

I’d say there are two key things:

Firstly, make sure you are communicating with the right people, and get their help. That’s important within the organisation you work for, but equally important is the group of friends, peers and advisors you have built outside your employer’s four walls.

Secondly, proactively manage your own career. Get involved in interesting projects across the group and try to find a line manager who takes an active interest in your personal development.

What’s next for you?

I’ve only been in this role for 6 months, so I’m really focussed on doing a great job in this post first and foremost. My ultimate aim is to get to CFO, but I may not ask for that job just yet!

Jobs

  • Commerce and Industry

Corporate Tax Manager – 6 months – office based

Corporate Tax Manager job in London requires an immediate start for an experienced Corporate Tax Manager applicant. A fully office based role, located right by the underground lines, buses and with “doorstep” amenities. Take advantage of working in London and all it has to offer by working in this contemporary and modern company. Supporting the […]
  • Salary GBP350 – GBP400 per day
  • Posted Posted 3 days ago
  • Commerce and Industry

Interim Expatriate Tax Manager

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join this leading organisation whose impact is well-known within its field of expertise. It is responsible for some of the most iconic buildings in London and has links with several reputable companies. The business has ambitious plans to grow and as part of this expects to increase its employee […]
  • Posted Posted 3 days ago
  • Commerce and Industry

APAC International Tax Manager

Our client is a prominent Fortune 500 business searching for an APAC International Tax Manager to join the team in London. This tax job will pay up to £85,000 plus bonus. As an International Tax Manager for the APAC region, you will be responsible for the fastest growing area of the business. The compliance is […]
  • Salary GBP75000 – GBP85000 per annum + Bonus and benefits
  • Posted Posted 4 days ago
  • Commerce and Industry

Tax Accountant – Media Business

An instantly recognisable name in the media industry is searching for a Tax Accountant to join the in-house tax team in London. This fantastic business has a team of 5 and you will report directly to the Senior Tax Manager. Your responsibilities will include: Assisting with UK tax compliance Managing SAO and CBC compliance obligations […]
  • Salary GBP58000 – GBP65000 per annum + Additional benefits
  • Posted Posted 5 days ago
  • Commerce and Industry

Senior Tax Manager – New Hire

Senior Tax Manager // Growing FTSE Group // Instantly Recognisable Brand A successful and growing leader in the FTSE are looking to make a new hire into the business. Managing a team of three, this role takes ownership of the corporate tax compliance and reporting process whilst leading on projects and senior level advisory around […]
  • Salary GBP90000 – GBP100000 per annum + Company car,medical insurance,pension
  • Posted Posted 1 week ago

Featured Content