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In house tax - market update

The local economy has been steadily growing in recent years; and skill shortages are now commonly seen across many industries and professions and this seem to be showing no sign of slowing.  Skills shortages create workplace pressure, and this is especially true within the tax world, where skill shortages are especially prevalent.  Organisations need to be clear on how best to tackle the immediate gaps and ideally address this for the longer term.

It is certainly true to say that it is a candidate driven market and these skills deficiencies are a continuing challenge for employers recruiting into in-house tax teams.  A few years ago, an employer may have received a handful of CVs per vacancy and now you will be lucky to receive one or two totally relevant applicants. That said a move in house is still seen as a very attractive proposition for many tax specialists.

At Longman Tax Recruitment we have observed a couple of interesting market trends.

Firstly, the number of organisations in the North who have in-house tax functions has grown in the last couple of years. We are now seeing a regular pattern whereby a business "dips it's toe in the water" and brings in its first tax specialist having thought about it long and hard -  and then in many cases within a couple of years they have look to recruit one, or perhaps two, more tax specialists once they have seen the value the first recruit has brought to the business.

Another recent trend we have observed is that most in-house roles we fill are with candidates who have previous in-house experience whereas once upon a time the primary pool of candidates for such roles came from the big 4 / group A firms. Maybe this is just a reflection that there are more in-house tax professionals in the region nowadays or perhaps it is a recognition of the slightly different skill set that someone in-house has from some-one in the profession.

So, in-house tax teams and indeed the accounting & tax profession in the North continues to be busy and grow.  Tax is an increasingly higher profile topic of discussion, higher on the agenda than ever for many CFOs/FDs, particularly in areas such as new penalty regimes (including possible corporate criminal offences), tax digitalisation & Brexit. The tax environment continues to move at pace and tax professionals must keep up with the changes.  As organisations face these new challenges the demand for skilled tax people will continue to rise and new career opportunities will present themselves too.