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As the UK starts to ease lockdown we are speaking to many organisations about their return to work. How do you feel about your team coming back? Has lockdown given you time to reassess flexible working options? Do you have the right team in place? As well as keeping up-to-date with the latest Government guidance, here is our advice to employers looking to manage their team’s return to work: Communicating with your teams Phased return stages Workplace Risk Assessment Coming into and leaving the office New ways of using your workspace Managing holidays and employee wellbeing Communicating with your teams As an employer, it will be your duty to ensure that you discuss any plans for your employees to return to work as soon as possible. We suggest talking about: When they might return to the workplace How they will travel to and from work How health and safety is being reviewed and managed – you should share the latest risk assessment where possible, more advice on this will follow below Planned adjustments to the workplace, for example additional hand washing facilities, staggering start and finish times to avoid overcrowding or floor markings to help people keep 2 metres apart If there will be a phased return of the workforce, for example some staff returning before others Flexible/working from home arrangements and support Wherever possible, you should speak to your staff before making a decision or putting plans in writing. This can help you better understand their needs and concerns and supports an ethos of being included in organisational decisions. Phased return stages Where employees have been furloughed, you should consider to operate a phased return. It is necessary to reduce the numbers of people at the workplace to comply with social distancing, plus the workload is likely to slowly increase over time rather than immediately returning to pre-pandemic levels. WIth many worried about their employment status during and after this pandemic, it’s important to ensure that you communicate that the phased return is purely for employee welfare and safety and not necessarily a reason to doubt future employment. Across London and the rest of the UK, thousands of employees are being asked to return to work. But many employers are faced with a furloughed employee who refuses. If this situation arises, you will need to look for compromises. Be proactive in speaking to the employee to determine their specific issues and concerns and then work with them to look at alternative options. Can they work from home and, if an employee is unable to work from home, what specific health advice is available to you as their employer that could be shared with them. Could they be placed in an alternative role in the business in which they do feel safe? These factors will need to be taken into consideration during what is a concerning period for many. Workplace Risk Assessment Preparing the workplace is essential. Setting out clear standards and processes will reduce the worry for your teams and minimise health and safety risks for you and your employees. In every workplace, increasing the frequency of handwashing, and surface cleaning Government guidelines suggest that employers should make every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (keeping people 2m apart wherever possible). Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, such as meetings and group activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between your staff. i.e: Ensuring the activity time is as short as possible Using markers/barriers to seperate people Side-to-side working rather than face-to-face Fixed teams/partnering to reduce the number of people each person comes into contact with. With limited people in the office/workplace per day. Introducing a one-way systems One-to-one assessments with every employee returning to the workplace must be conducted to establish the level of vulnerability to COVID19. The government has clearly stated that No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment. Coming into and leaving the office The government has highlighted that the steps that will usually be needed are: Staggering arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace, taking account of the impact on those with protected characteristics. Providing additional parking or facilities such as bike racks to help people walk, run, or cycle to work where possible. Limiting passengers in corporate vehicles, for example, work minibuses. This could include leaving seats empty. Reducing congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the workplace. Providing more storage for workers for clothes and bags. Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points. Providing handwashing facilities, or hand sanitiser where not possible, at entry and exit points and not using touch-based security devices such as keypads. Maintaining use of security access devices, such as keypads or passes, and adjusting processes at entry/exit points to reduce risk of transmission. For example, cleaning pass readers regularly and asking staff to hold their passes next to pass readers rather than touching them. See here for further government guidance on travelling to and from work. New ways of using your workspace Reduce movement and discourage non-essential trips within the office, for example, restricting access to some areas, encouraging use of telephones and cleaning them between use. Restrict access between different areas of a building. Ie. 2 people in the kitchen at any one time and Sharing the responsibility of wiping down surface areas upon leaving the space. Reducing job and location rotation. Introducing more one-way flow through buildings. Reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts and encouraging use of stairs wherever possible. Managing use of high traffic areas including corridors, lifts turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing. Managing holidays and employee wellbeing As an employer, you know it's your duty to ensure that you support your team’s physical, mental and environmental wellbeing. Your approach to holiday is likely to depend on how much work there is in the pipeline. If, even after lockdown restrictions are lifted, workload is low, you may want to consider preventing employees from cancelling their previously approved holiday to ensure employees are available later in the holiday year when workload may increase. Quite fairly, you may have employees who are reluctant to take holiday whilst many travel restrictions are in place, as an employer you can also require them to take leave, subject to legal requirements under the Working Time Regulations/any procedure set out in a collective agreement or contract of employment. You should also be mindful of various issues including health and safety obligations in ensuring that employees have reasonable breaks for their mental and physical wellbeing. Share government health advice and helplines for wellbeing if they need further support that you feel you are not able give, To conclude, there are many factors to consider to ensure that you, your business and your employee are safe during this period of further transition back into the workplace. The CIPD suggests that it is important to ensure you can meet three key tests before bringing their people back to the workplace: Is it essential? Is it sufficiently safe? Is it mutually agreed? We are speaking to many clients who are phasing returns for their teams and will make it our duty of care as recruiters to share best practice. If you need any support with your plans, we are here to help. Contact your specialist recruiter for immediate support Here, email email@example.com or call 020 7269 6333
Joining a Big 4 firm can seem daunting when you don't know exactly what to expect or what you'll be doing when you first join. Maisie Horrell, Consultant at Pro-Tax, spoke with a female tax professional who recently joined PwC. She previously worked for a Top 10 accountancy practice for five years before making the move to the Big 4 with the help of Pro-Tax. Below, she speaks about the interview process at PwC, what happened in her first week on the job, and the difference between working at a Top 10 and a Big 4 firm. What were your reasons behind wanting to move to PwC? I wanted to make the move to PwC primarily because I wanted to gain more exposure working with larger clients and I wanted to work in a larger team that would enable me to learn from others around me. I was slightly worried at first that as a Big 4 firm, they were going to want ‘blood sweat and tears’ as this is often a common perception, but since my very first meeting with PwC I have been pleasantly surprised! What was the interview process like and how did you find it? The interview process at PwC was surprisingly stress-free, slick and very informative. It consisted of a first stage meet-and-greet with two Directors, where I was able to find out more information about the team I would be joining, the role, and what my day-to-day role would look like. I received feedback within just a couple of days and my final-stage formal interview was arranged very quickly. As opposed to the first meet-and-greet stage this interview focused more on technical questions and my suitability for the role, but I still felt at ease and comfortable the whole hour I was being interviewed. Three days after my formal interview I received an offer, which I was delighted about! The fact that it was such a quick process which made me feel at ease, made the idea of moving to PwC all the more attractive to me. I was invited back again to meet other people on my team in an informal setting, just so I could get a feel for the working environment and culture, which was fantastic as it meant that on my first day I already knew some friendly faces. What was your first week at PwC like? Day 1 - PwC Induction I was invited to listen to guest speakers who talked through how to manage stress and the best ways to achieve a good work-life balance, which in today’s world I think is incredibly important. Day 2 - Tax Induction There was a group of around 30 people from across all areas of tax within PwC, and we participated in group interactive exercises. Day 3 - Office Tour On the third day I had a tour of the building and I met my allocated buddy. Day 4 - Introductions I had my first day in my team with introductions to everyone I would be working closely with and getting to know the ropes. What have you found positive moving from a Top 10 to a Big 4 Firm? From day 1 you are allocated a ‘career coach’, who is usually a Manager or Senior Manager within your team who helps you with all areas of your career development, including promotions, work allocation, options to specialise, and secondment opportunities (whether this is internationally or to different departments within tax or the wider business) Every Wednesday my particular team has a fundamentals session for juniors - this is a training session where as a group, we discuss new tax legislation On Thursday each week we then have a Business Development session and discuss how we can take new cases to market, which is very helpful in enabling the team to become more commercially minded - something I have noticed about everyone at PwC from the very beginning of my career here I have also noticed that the way PwC advises is a lot more innovative than at my previous firms - the ways in which people work here is inspiring, and they continuously spot opportunities in other areas of the market that I don’t think other teams would right away I have found that I am working with such a mix of personalities - both my team and the wider business are so diverse and I’ve met such a wide range of people which makes work all the more interesting. This also means that I can bounce ideas off more people, making my work well-rounded as I learn from the people around me The business is all completely paperless which means everything runs smoothly and efficiently, with processes you wouldn’t always necessarily find at a smaller firm Unlike the common perception I haven’t found myself, or anyone else on my team, working crazy long hours, and having a healthy work-life balance is encouraged from day one Working at PwC I have noticed a much quicker turnaround in terms of work - when comparing this to firms outside of the Top 10, firms can sometimes lack innovation and urgency Everyone delves much deeper into the technical analysis of everything we do so that we can improve and innovate constantly, and as a firm PwC invests so much in improving themselves as well as their technology and systems One final and important thing that PwC do really well, is investing in people. They invest so much into personal development - you are encouraged to carve a niche for yourself from the beginning and to ask for feedback on everything, so you can improve after every piece of work you do. Your career is totally in your hands and you are given every opportunity to progress and develop. I think that working at PwC is going to make me a much more well-rounded advisor and for me, it's the best place to be for self-development and career progression - it’s an opportunity that I don’t think I fully appreciated until I actually got here! For more information on this article, or to speak to Maisie Horrell about making your move into a Big 4 firm, contact her on 020 7269 6337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your job search may not be top of your priority list at the moment, but I thought I would give you some of my thoughts, on how to you can use your free time to assist you with your next job search. DUST OFF THAT OLD CV Creating the ideal CV can be a tricky task, but the perfect Finance CV is the very first step towards your dream job. To avoid your CV being dismissed and missing out on that all-important job interview, there are things you need to consider. Client Experience: • What types of clients are you dealing with, are they just within one niche sector, e.g. Asset Management or do you have cross sector experience, property, construction, retail, solicitors, charities and hospitality? Make sure you list your full breadth of experience after all it might just be might the type of experience your future employer is looking for given their own client base • What are the turnovers of your clients? Always list your range from smallest to largest and include on average, e.g. £1m-£100m on avg. £30m. This demonstrates the types of clients you are most used to dealing with whilst also showing your range • Do you have international client experience, or experience of working with UK subsidiaries of international clients? Any exposure to IFRS? • Do you have experience of working with groups of companies and/or consolidations? Managerial Experience: • Are you managing a portfolio of clients? If so, how many clients are in your portfolio. Make things tangible where you can, if you only state you are managing a portfolio of clients – this could be any number from 2 clients to 100,000!! • Are you responsible for WIP and Billing, and if so what is the annual fee income of your portfolio e.g. £500k. Together with the number of clients in your portfolio, this will indicate if you are doing low volume, high fee work or if you are predominantly high volume and low fee • People management is important too, so what is the largest team you have managed or supervised, and do you have any direct reports? Do you have responsibility for appraisals? Do you do training and development? • Are you reviewing the work of juniors? If so, what type of work are you reviewing, is it bookkeeping or accounts preparation and if so, how many sets of accounts are you reviewing? Business Development: • Are you actively involved in business development, if so, how much new business have your brought in in the last 12 months? E.g. £250k in new business through referred work and/or tenders • Are you involved in group sales and marketing activity, including leading client pitches, attendance at group networking, and other marketing events? • Is most of your business development through word of mouth and referrals? Overall, you should keep the general CV formatting simple, avoid using the first person and stick to bullet points when detailing experience. A comprehensive list of your systems experience will go a long way, as more firms move towards cloud-based software, it is good to show your IT skills are up to date. WHAT IS YOUR LONG-TERM GOAL? If your long term goal is to stay within practice, then there are plenty of different routes to go down but you should start thinking about which way you want to steer your career now, so you are best equipped to navigate the best path; Specialize in a particular sector; join a firm where you can completely specialise in particular area such as Charities/NFP, Real Estate, Insurance, Film & TV and so on Specialize in a particular service line; choose a role which is entirely audit, outsourcing or accounting/financial reporting Become a true general practitioner; join a firm where you can gain exposure to audit, accounts and tax Move into a new service line; step into a more advisory focussed role by moving in transaction services/corporate finance Move into a more managerial role; become responsible for both a portfolio and team in a position of leadership If you are considering a move, I would be happy to send over some job specifications for you to see if you are ready to make the leap or help steer your career down a certain route. Even if you are not looking at new jobs now, now is the perfect time to let me help you prepare your CV, review you Linked-In profile and more importantly beat the rush when the recruitment gates open! For a confidential discussion, or advice on your CV – contact Kate Green on 0207 269 6363 or email email@example.com
“I want to be ‘X’ when I grow up”... A phrase we have all said at least once at some point in our lives. I know for a fact that I pondered on this thought at every milestone of my life growing up. Primary school: Astronaut, Secondary School: Footballer and College: Lawyer. I’m not sure if it was just me in this boat but it was a daunting task to think about what I genuinely wanted to do, career-wise, longer-term. Having now spent several years specialising in tax recruitment, advising individuals at various stages of their career, I thought it was a great opportunity to reflect on why a career in Tax could be highly rewarding for anyone considering this route. Especially with the market being in demand for high-quality individuals! So, what is Tax? Tax: “(an amount of) money paid to the government that is based on your income or the cost of goods or services you have bought" For most, paying tax seems like an endless chore. However, its fact of life and something that affects individuals and businesses alike. As a Tax Professional, you can be the Batman to Gotham but instead, help save money on tax bills. In a nutshell, key responsibilities will include knowing tax law, breaking this down into layman terms, identifying new ways to save money whilst ensuring it's all done in a fully compliant and timely manner. Types of Tax: Broadly speaking, there are three main types of taxes: Corporate Tax: Tax for companies and businesses. These could be small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Owner Managed Businesses (OMB’s) or Large and Listed (FTSE100). There are specialisms within this such as Transfer Pricing, M&A and Employment tax to name a few. Personal Tax: Tax for individuals. There is also the option to specialise here, including Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Trusts. Value Added Tax (VAT): Tax on goods and services. Where to work: Accountancy Practices: This can range from the small boutique/independent firms through to mid-tier, all the way to the largest being the ‘Big 4’ (PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG). They act on behalf of a range of clients and across varying sectors. Commerce and Industry (In-House): This is where you will be solely working for one business and handling all their taxes, say Vodafone for example. Career Path: In an accountancy practice, your career path and opportunities to progress will be very linear. You’ll start as a Graduate/Tax assistant, progressing through to Tax Semi-Senior, then Senior. After this it will be Assistant Manager, Manager, Senior Manager and then comes Directorship. The final piece of the puzzle will be becoming a Tax Partner. Of course, there may be a few additional steps depending on the firm in question, but this gives a rough idea. On the flip side, a career in-house will look different from that in terms of titles and promotions. On occasion the teams tend not to be as big as those in the larger accountancy practices, thus meaning fewer levels to climb. As a result, an ‘upwards’ move may take slightly longer. Qualifications: The two main qualifications in Tax are ATT and CTA. ATT will help those starting their career and gives a solid understanding of core compliance principles. This is vital in ensuring client’s tax returns are completed accurately and filed on time. CTA is the next big milestone after ATT and is when you become a Chartered Tax Advisor. Being an advisor switches the focus to the problem solving, consultancy side of tax. It’s about knowing rules and legislation inside out, to take advantage of any loopholes, thus making the client’s finances as tax-efficient as possible. For anyone looking to further their career in some of the specialist fields, there are options available such as ADIT and STEP. Lifestyle and remuneration: Work-life balance is a very hot topic in today's working world. For those working in practice, hours tend to be longer especially with key deadlines to be met and this could result in additional evenings and weekends where you are required to work. However, the accounting world is continuing to develop and has become hugely accommodating to agile and flexible working to be competitive. Salary will rise steadily and is usually dependent on the firm you work for, your experience and qualifications. Broadly speaking, someone with a few years tax experience with the ATT qualification will be compensated around the 35k mark, this is likely to increase by at least 10k with a few further years’ experience and the CTA. After this, the world is your oyster and salaries can easily reach six figures and (in some cases), much higher, especially Partners in Big 4. Those working in Commerce and Industry are likely to be remunerated at a greater level than in practice and likely to see enhanced benefits packages (pension, days holiday etc). However, there are fewer opportunities available, thus making it more competitive. In summary A career in tax can be highly prosperous and rewarding, not only financially but also in terms of professional development. It offers a genuine chance to progress, ensuring your career does not stagnate. With tax legislation changing all the time, you will be sure to be kept on your toes! Here at Pro-Tax we focus primarily focus on tax opportunities for those with a minimum of 12-18 months of experience and who are likely to be studying for their ATT. For those wishing to embark on a career in tax, please do familiarise yourself with the Accountancy Age Top 50+50: https://www.accountancyage.com/rankings/top-5050-accountancy-firms-2019/ This will give you a good insight into the top 100 accounting firms in the UK, all of which are likely to advertise their graduate programmes and entry-level positions. The above is simply an insight to those interested in a career with tax and there is certainly more to this than meets the eye! Regardless of whether you are just learning the ropes in tax or if you are seeking genuine career advice as a more experienced tax professional, please do not hesitate to contact Dominic Watt on 0207 269 6310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the finance sector. Here are the key movements in March 2020: EY have announced the appointment of Hywel Ball as EY UK & Ireland Regional Managing Partner and UK Chair, effective 1st July 2020. Ball will be responsible for leading the business in the UK and Ireland, succeeding Steve Varley, who has been appointed as the first EY Global Vice Chair – Sustainability. Financemoves.co.uk Thomas Westcott has appointed Ian Pring as Partner based in the firm’s Plymouth office. Pring has joined following a 30-year career at PKF Francis Clark, where he was Director of the firm’s Property and Wealth teams. Accountancydaily.co UHY Hacker Young have appointed Tracey Moore as Head of Charities and Not-for-Profit. She takes over from Subarna Banerjee who has headed the group for the last five years. Moore joined UHY Hacker Young in 2019 from BDO and has over 20 years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector. Financemoves.co.uk Hugo Parson has joined Deloitte as a Partner to lead its Origination team for Private Equity. Parson was previously Global Head of Origination for Private Equity at EY, where he worked for over seven years. Prior to this Parson worked at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan. Accountancydaily.co Dominic Treays has been appointed as Commercial Director (Global Business Services – Tax & Accounting) at TMF Group. He joins from Cragus Group in Dubai where he was Managing Director and spent 12 years. Financemoves.co.uk For more information about this article, or to speak to Callum about your recruiting needs or Finance jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 020 7269 6369 or email@example.com. Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>
Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the tax sector. Here are the key movements in March 2020: PRACTICE LONDON AND CITY Partners PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced its leadership team with effect from 1st July 2020, following Kevin Ellis’ recent election to serve for a second four year term as the Senior Partner for the UK and Middle East Alliance. Alongside Ellis, the management board will comprise the following members from 1st July 2020: Marco Amitrano – Head of Clients and Markets; Benjamin Higgin – Head of Technology and Investment; Laura Hinton – Chief People Officer; Hemione Hudson – Head of Audit; Warwick Hunt – Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer; Sam Samaratunga – Head of Risk Assurance; Dan Schwarzmann – Head of Market Initiatives and Industries; Carl Sizer – Head of Regions; Alison Statham – General Counsel and Chief Risk Officer; Paul Terrington – Head of Consulting; Marissa Thomas – Head of Tax; and Ken Walsh – Head of Deals. Ernst & Young (EY) has announced the appointment of Hywel Ball as EY UK & Ireland Regional Managing Partner and UK Chair, effective 1st July 2020. Ball will be responsible for leading the business in the UK and Ireland, succeeding Steve Varley, who has been appointed as the first EY Global Vice Chair – Sustainability. In addition, Alison Kay has been appointed into a newly created role as UK&I Managing Partner – Client Service, also effective 1st July 2020. Kay will be responsible for leading the overall market activity and service line delivery for EY in the UK and Ireland. Ernst & Young (EY) has appointed Sally Jones as an International Trade Policy Partner. She joins from Deloitte where she spent over 20 years. Hugo Parson has joined Deloitte as a Partner to lead its Origination team for Private Equity. Parson was previously Global Head of Origination for Private Equity at Ernst & Young (EY), where he worked for over seven years. Prior to this, he worked at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan. At Deloitte, Parson will head up a cross-border team to identify investment opportunities for financial investor clients. UHY Hacker Young has appointed Mike Burt as a Tax Partner in the London office. Burt joins from Grant Thornton where he served as Partner for 20 years. He is a tax specialist focusing on entrepreneurial private clients and their businesses. BKL has become a member of AGN International, a worldwide association of independent accounting, tax and advisory businesses. Shipleys has announced that the tax and accounting division of London-based Mariana UFP LLP, merged with the firm on 2nd March 2020. The merger sees a small team of corporate and general tax specialists join Shipleys, led by Chartered Tax Adviser Stephen Hanlon. Hanlon’s career includes time working at BDO before moving to Ernst & Young (EY) as a Director in 2009, where he specialised in advising real estate businesses and a wide range of funds. He now specialises in many SEIS and EIS related issues, R&D tax credits and company share schemes, as well as advising on various reconstructions, reorganisations and M&A transactions. Senior Appointments PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has appointed Philip Rycroft CB and Victoria Raffé as new independent Non-Executives. They join the firm’s public interest body alongside Chair Dame Fiona Kendrick, Sir Ian Gibson CBE and Justin King CBE. During a 30-year career Rycroft held senior leadership positions in departments such as the Cabinet Office, Office for the Deputy Prime Minister, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Scottish Executive. Most recently, Rycroft was Permanent Secretary for the Department for Exiting the EU before retiring from the Civil Service in 2019. Raffé is a former director and executive committee member of the Financial Conduct Authority, where she held a number of leadership roles during a 20-year career with the regulator and its predecessor the Financial Services Authority. Since leaving the FCA, Raffé has focused on non-executive roles in the fintech sector and is currently a non-executive director of Starling Bank. Rakesh Dabasia has joined Buzzacott as a Tax Director in the Private Client team. He joins Buzzacott from Rayner Essex. Dominic Treays has been appointed as Commercial Director (Global Business Services – Tax & Accounting) at TMF Group. Treays’ specialisms include corporate advisory, planning and transactional, VAT, tax controversy and international corporate tax. SOUTH EAST Partners RSM has appointed Natasha Lucas as a Partner in its Private Client team based in Guildford. Lucas joins RSM from a London based investment firm where she was the CFO. Previously, she worked in Private Client Services for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as a Tax Director and as a Director at Deloitte. SOUTH WEST Partners Thomas Westcott has appointed Chartered Tax Adviser Ian Pring as a Partner in the Plymouth office. Pring has joined Thomas Westcott following a 30-year career at PKF Francis Clark. He has experience of advising on all areas of tax as well as specialist knowledge of property taxes, such as stamp duty land tax, and family business succession planning. MIDLANDS AND THE EAST Partners Smith & Williamson has appointed David Yewdall as a Partner in the Employment Tax and Incentives team based in the Birmingham office. Yewdall joins from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where he was a Director and spent over two years. He has also worked for KPMG and Ernst & Young (EY). NORTH WEST Partners UHY Hacker Young has appointed Helen Cowley as a Tax Partner in the Manchester office. Cowley joins from Baldwins, she provides bespoke tax advice to UK and overseas businesses and has particular expertise is assisting clients entering global markets and in providing international tax advice. Senior Appointments Julie Moore has joined RSM as an Employment Tax Director based in Manchester. Moore joins RSM from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where she was a Senior Manager. NORTH EAST Senior Appointments Roseann McGovern has joined the RMT’s Personal Tax team. COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY Justin Moody has been appointed Head of Tax at NES Global Talent. Chris spent time in practice with Deloitte and KPMG with his in-house career including time spent in the tax teams of AstraZeneca, Creston PLC and MAG. Hannah Karwatowska has joined Activision Blizzard as Indirect Tax Director. Before Activision, Hannah spent the majority of her career with Deloitte before her first move in-house to Thomson Reuters. Premier Foods have appointed Nita Advani as Head of Tax. Nita is vastly experienced with her in-house career spanning a variety of industries which includes time spent with Gillette, Aker Solutions, PageGroup, Ashtead and Lloyd’s respectively. For more information about this article, or to speak to Rebecca about your recruiting needs or Tax jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 02072696320 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to Tax Movers & Shakers Archive >>
COVID-19 has seen offices completely change their day-to-day operations and people working remotely in their homes during lockdown. While this is a uncertain time for all, when it comes to preparing for interviewing there is a silver lining - extra time! While you would usually be caught up in your usual fast-paced and busy life, you now have more time to spend on interview prep. Below, we have put together the best ways to use your time wisely and prepare as effectively as possible for your upcoming virtual interviews! 1. Research on the firm It is key to ensure you have conducted thorough research of the company ahead of the interview. It is also good to be aware of any recent changes that have happened within the firm you are applying to, or indeed the market, such as new Partners, new divisions, or significant changes in the market the company operates within. You can do this by following the company on social media and LinkedIn, and looking up recent news articles on the both the firm and the wider market. Being aware of the company's ethics and morals is also key. If you have done your research and know that the firm’s key message is believing in teamwork, you can then relate this back in the interview and show examples of how you have demonstrated teamwork in the past. 2. Research who you are meeting Ensure you are aware of who you are meeting and their career history. You can do this by looking at their LinkedIn profile, or employee profile on the company website. In your interview, take the time to get to know them as a person too. If you secure the interview through an agency then your recruiter should be able to tell you what the hiring managers are like in greater detail. use this knowledge to your advantage! Not only this, but when you ask questions at the end make them as personable as possible. For example, ask the interviewer questions relating to their career - why they made certain career moves, or why they have stayed at this firm for so long. This will show your interest in the interviewer as well as the firm. 3. Competency-based questions A competency-based question is one which asks for behavioural descriptions in a given scenario, for instance, “tell me about a time when you showed ‘x’…”, or “tell me what you would do if ‘y’…”. Competency-based questions are key to any interview, so it's best to ensure you have examples prepared ahead of any interview - this could include times you were dealing with a difficult client etc. The go-to structure to handle competency-based questions effectively is the STAR format. This consists of a specific Situation you were in, a Task you were faced with, the behavioural Actions ‘you’ (not ‘we’) took, and the Results you achieved. 4. Technical knowledge prep When preparing for your interview, make sure you are prepared fully on your specific technical knowledge and experience within your specialised market. For example, within the audit and accounting marketing, be fully prepared to answer questions regarding the UK and international reporting standards such as FRS 102 and IFRS. Audit quality is also key at the minute, so you should prepare answers on your methodology on how you would audit a client, and use examples as much as possible! This is applicable to all markets - whether you work in the accounting market, creative or digital spaces, or in human resources - no matter the space you work within, brush up on your technical knowledge and refresh yourself on the relevant technical terms and training you've undertaken. 5. Mock interviews Although you might be working from home and interviewing remotely, this shouldn't stop you getting expert advice from your recruiter! Ask your recruiter to run through a mock interview process with you - will will help significantly. Ultimately, your recruiter will have the most knowledge about the interview process you will be going forward into, as well as information about who you will be meeting and the kind of questions you will be asked. This can be conducted over the phone or even better, by video call, so don't hesitate in asking to set up a mock interview with your recruiter to ensure you are as prepared as possible! These are just a few of the ways in which you can improve your methods of interview preparation. During the nationwide lockdown use your extra time wisely, conduct thorough research, brush up on your technical skills, prepare examples to answer competency-based questions, and arrange mock interview scenarios to ensure you are fully prepared for the interview that will land you your dream role and your next challenge. For more information on the best ways to prepare for your interview, contact Aaron Scott on 020 7269 6340 or email@example.com.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the lives of people right around the world in a way that has most probably never been seen before. Most people are uncertain of what lies ahead in the next few months, and job security is undoubtedly one that is at the forefront. While no jobs are completely sheltered from an economic fallout, there are certain industries which will be impacted less when a recession hits, one of which is accounting, according to many economists. Accountancy is considered to be the sixth most secure profession around. Indeed, in terms of accountancy as a recession-proof industry, it has ranked as the top position for salary and security. Skilled accountants can always pick up consultancy work in areas of risk advice – especially relevant during rockier periods such as recessions – and in more healthy economic climates, growing businesses will always be glad of the assistance. Essentially, accountancy is not – and will almost certainly never – be a ‘luxury’ service. It is essential. As long as businesses continue to operate, they’ll continue to require assistance from financial professionals. After various recessions, economic turbulence, and Brexit, the tax market has remained solid. Of course, there always needs to be adjustments, but the tax market has remained buoyant enough compared to others. Despite the uncertainty of the past few weeks whilst people adjust to the remote way of working, I am seeing more and more of my clients returning to ‘business as usual’. This includes pushing forwards with recruitment and continuing interview processes through video conference or Skype. Once we are through the worst of COVID-19, the tax consultancy industry should see an increase in demand, as well as a need for further tax professionals. Accountancy practices will need to keep recruiting in order to continue growing and meet this demand. The good news is that there's a clear pattern of markets overreacting to events like this, usually recovering before the worst is over, and recovery tends to be quick. If you are open to considering your next step in your career, I am working on a number of different roles, including: Restructuring Tax Assistant Director – up to £95,000 + 20% bonus Restructuring Tax Manager – up to £75,000 + 20% bonus Real Estate & Infrastructure Tax Manager – up to £75,000 + 20% bonus Transfer Pricing Director FS – up to £130,000 + 20% bonus VAT Analyst/Associate – up to £50,000 + 20% bonus So, the message is one of positivity. If you are worried about your job or business, need career advice, or are simply looking for market intel, please feel free to contact Maisie Horrell on 020 7269 6337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental health and employee wellbeing has been a popular topic for many employers over recent years. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that as employers we are acting and making positive change, not just discussing the subject. The last few weeks since the UK government announced ‘lockdown’ have proved challenging for all as we acclimatise to working from home full time and the usual office environment becomes a distant memory. I, like many others, have been used to the energetic and loud environment that comes with working in recruitment, at a firm with a strong team culture where we ‘bounce’ off our colleagues. As a management team, we are learning to appreciate that this working environment is difficult to replicate when working from home, meaning we have a duty of care to ensure our employees' wellbeing is our top priority. I have been encouraging my team to consider the below as part of their daily activities: 1. Exercise Don't just sit in your house or flat all day staring at a screen! For many, your daily routine would involve a visit to the gym or some form of exercise before, during or after work. With the gym now off limits, make sure you plan accordingly and include some form of exercise, whether it be a run, cycle or walk. This will not only keep you active but provide a chance to clear your head and get away from your workstation. 2. Routine Our daily routine will have changed considerably - no longer are we getting on the train, tube, or fighting our way through the usual hustle and bustle of London life. We are no longer having breakfast and lunch with our colleagues, or having a chat over a Friday beer. Our usual routines have been altered but it is essential we maintain a routine, albeit a new one. Do not work from your sofa or worse still, your bed! Try and create a similar workspace to your usual office environment - a quiet, dedicated area where you can work. There are obviously more distractions when working from home, so take yourself away from these as much as possible. Little things, such as your waking up at your usual time rather than laying in. Use the extra time to exercise, have a relaxed breakfast, read or plan your day. Dress appropriately for the day ahead and avoid sitting in pyjamas. Get up, shower and dress for the day to ensure you are in the right state of mind. 3. Interaction We all love talking to our colleagues - whether we are discussing last nights dinner choice, latest Netflix binge watch or the football scores, we all enjoy that daily interaction and socialising. It is essential we do not lose that when working in isolation! Here at Pro-Finance, we have daily video team chats where we can interact and discuss our plans for the day ahead, which ensures we keep our team spirit and energy levels high. Use the technology available, whether it be Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom, to keep regular face-to-face interaction and avoid sole reliance on email. These are just a few small pieces of advice to ensure we keep active, both physically and mentally, and ensure we maintain a healthy wellbeing. It is still unknown how long this current situation will continue, so encouraging our employees to put their wellbeing and mental health first must be our priority. If anyone has any comments or would like to discuss further, then please get in touch with Tom Eagle on 020 7269 6349 or email@example.com.
Company culture is one of the real buzzwords currently but have you ever stepped back to think what a “company culture” is? So often I speak with clients, candidates and even competitors who simply fail to grasp the importance of getting a company culture right. They will lay on some beers on a Friday, relax the dress code and call it a culture. For me, one of the things that all at Pro-Recruitment Group do well is explain what a corporate culture really is, and all of the staff know that by working in the right way, culture will breed performance. The definition of company culture encompasses the beliefs and behaviors of a business, as well as interactions between management, employees, and clients. It is implied, not defined, as culture exists in our everyday lives as well. A successful corporate culture improves the quality of employees, employee turnover rate, and productivity. A question often asked to me by candidates is; "What is the culture like?" And whilst I have no issues with this as a question, I will often flip back and ask, "what is a culture to you?" Candidates can often feel that the culture is something to entice them in - talks about the social clubs, the pubs they go to, where people take lunch on a Friday - that sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong, all of those do contribute to company culture, but what is so often overlooked within culture is a company's ethos and values. So, how does company culture affect performance? A group of employees focused on individual goals will quite simply not breed the same results as those working towards a shared goal and vision. Again, one of the biggest pitfalls is that employees do not understand their organisations vision. By being open and clear about the companies overall vision, what the company is looking to achieve outside of financial goals, and how it plans on achieving these, the sense of inclusion, shared responsibility and ownership will naturally drive performance. Company culture should not just be a directive from the top to junior staff, nor a rigid and arbitrary tick list of what your competitors are doing. Company culture should be malleable, visual to all, shared by all and, where possible, created by all for all. By all means, put some money behind the bar on a Friday and reward people for achievements, but make sure they know why they work for your company and not your competitors. An engaged employee is a valuable and profitable employee. For more information on company culture and the value it adds, contact Callum MacRae on 020 7269 6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly influenced the economy with much of the UK working from home and jobs, as we know them, rapidly adapting to this change. However, regional accountancy practices have been using methods of agile and flexible working for years, with lots of opportunity to work from home. Whilst working entirely remotely is somewhat in untested territory, accountancy practices have adapted swiftly and efficiently enabling the transition to be as smooth as possible. Agile working in Regional Accountancy Practices With most of the country currently working from home, agile working has been thrust into the forefront of employment. Employers and employees alike are still adjusting to the transition, with methods of communication, adapting to the virtual space, and self-discipline being key. Regional firms have long been offering flexible working policies with most already offering the opportunity to work from home – even across audit. This makes them well-suited to people with other commitments, such as return to work parents who need to accommodate for term times and the school run. Much of my client portfolio across Berkshire and Surrey offer flexible working arrangements, with perhaps 3 or 4 days in the office alongside working from home and remote working. Whilst the current situation surrounding lockdown and social distancing is not the norm, accountancy practices across the UK have shown “resilience, flexibility and above all the need to protect their staff while delivering the necessary services to ensure their clients survive” (Accountancy Daily, 23 Mar 2020). Recruitment Continues I work closely with accountancy practices across Surrey and Berkshire, many of which have had agile working policies in place for years, and for many of these firms, recruitment has not been put on hold. Currently, I am closely working with Top 15, Mid-Tier and smaller accountancy practices on urgent roles across accounts and audit. Some of the roles I am currently recruiting for: Audit and Accounts Manager – Slough Audit Team Leader – Leatherhead Outsourcing Senior Manager – Reading Accounts Assistant Manager/ Manager – Reading Audit Senior – Oxford Whilst times may seem uncertain, accountancy practices continue to recruit and stand strong in the face of isolation and social distancing. Now is the perfect time to update your CV and get a head start within the market. If you have decided that you would like a stronger work-life balance, whether this be by cutting down your commute, working from home or having flexible working hours, working regionally would be the ideal choice. If you would be interested in a confidential chat surrounding the opportunities Pro-Finance are currently recruiting for, please do get in contact with Jordanne Napier on 0207 269 6353 or email@example.com.
COVID-19 has temporarily changed our working lives and routines. Most of us left the office a little less than two weeks ago and moved our workplace to our own homes ready to start at 8am the next morning. And with very little disruption thanks to the digital world we live in now. And in less than two weeks we have all had to learn a whole new vocabulary and world with terms such as “self isolation”, “social distancing“ and “the curve”. As well as having to change our normal days beyond recognition, both in and out of work mode. Life is clearly very very different right now to how it has ever been before. I used to work from home a couple of times a month and found it great to be able to get my head down, inspect my division, and think about our strategy without interruptions. However, some people love working from home. I am not one of those people... Recruitment is a social job. We meet a wide range of clients and candidates and try and match them together. It’s also a tough job at times. When you need the support of those around you to get you the tough times... I love the buzz of the office and the energy of those around me. And I miss it, a lot. Here is how I'm changing my working routine to adjust to working from home: 1. I keep the tv/radio on quietly in the background. Not loud enough to distract me, but loud enough not to be lost in silence when I am not talking on the phone or interviewing online. It’s clearly not the same as working with over 50 friends and colleagues but it does help me. 2. To keep our strong team spirit, I build in regular phone and video calls with my colleagues throughout the day. Just to share news and check in with how we are all feeling. We also do this to try to have some fun, recreate the buzz of the office, and encourage normal social interactions. I have a virtual lunch with my teams at least a few times a week, and last week I joined a clients virtual pub quiz (sorry my general knowledge was so bad...). On a Friday, we have a team collective "cheers", where we all get a glass of wine or beer from the fridge at the same time, accompanied by a weekly update from our MD. It’s a reminder that we are still a team - both the charities division I head up and the wider team at Pro. 3. I try and dress for the office. Whatever your normal dress code for the office, try to recreate at home. We have regular meetings online via Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and MSmeet with external clients and suppliers. And we still have an image to portray. Also, just by putting on my work clothes, it’s a clear sign to me and those around me that I am at work. It just changes my mindset to a work one and helps my productivity throughout the working day. 4. Have tea/coffee breaks, go out for your exercise once a day, and take regular breaks from your laptop throughout the day. It sounds obvious, but taking lunch away from my workstation really helps me, as well as having set clear times when I work, and when it’s "my" time. I focus on the day-to-day only. None of us can be sure about what other changes will be happening in a weeks time, a months time, or 6 months time. So, I try and focus on what I can control right now by setting myself daily targets, rather than worrying about what is going to happen next week or next month. 5. My only C-19 news is Boris's evening updates! It’s a routine and whilst I want to know what the latest news is, I don’t want to be consumed by it throughout the day. So Boris is my daily update on COVID-19, and I try not to read or listen to anything else about it during the day or evening. Life is so different and scary at the moment, so I try and keep myself up to date with what I need to know without it consuming my whole day and life. Who knows how long this is going to go on for? When the peak will be reached? And if the world of work will ever go back to how it was before this? But most of us will still have our health. And most of us will have adapted very quickly and in our own unique ways, just showing how resilient and strong we all really are. When we come through this, life will be very different for a long time in many ways. I still feel a little shell shocked, I must admit. But, we have seen both the worst and best of human behaviour in the last few weeks - mostly the best. And that also keeps me going. Stay safe all. For help with your recruiting needs or more advice on working from home, please contact Claire Stradling on 020 7269 6351 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we reach the end of the UK’s lockdown amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the dust is starting to settle and everyone is gradually accepting remote working and the processes that come along with it as the ‘new norm’. Recent months have been fast-paced and have required a huge practical and cultural shift for most companies, including here at Pro-Group, but recruitment and interview processes are beginning to have a clearer and more streamlined structure. Considering this, we have answered some of the important questions surrounding current interview processes and the position of both candidates and clients in the UK at the moment. Are clients hiring? Yes, companies still need staff to complete work! There is no one universal theme to hiring patterns - some firms have chosen to pause on their hiring objectives given the current situation, whereas some companies are continuing as usual, and are not letting changes to the market and workplace affect their hiring strategies. We also expect the market to recover quickly once the dust settles on this crisis period, especially in professional services. Once we are through the other side, processes that have been paused are likely to be resumed, and we expect to be inundated with new roles. Are candidates available? Here at Pro-Group we are getting ahead of the curve but, of course, for some people finding a new role isn’t the number one priority in the current climate. Those who are still looking for their next challenge are taking measured steps and re-analysing their next move, but more often than not people are happy to continue with interviewing if the potential role is a significant step up - whether this is in pay or responsibility. We are certainly seeing a number of high-quality, immediately available candidates who are open to moving jobs. Now, it is more important than ever to showcase your company and promote the reasons candidates should join your workforce, from key responsibilities and career progression to benefits and company culture. How can we interview? Many interview processes are continuing to go ahead, with companies utilising different softwares and online platforms to conduct interviews and continue hiring. Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been the most common platforms used to continue interview processes, and downloads of these types of apps have soared over the past few months. With everyone working from home, arranging new interviews over the phone or by video call has been a relatively smooth process, due to the absence of fully booked diaries and difficulties getting time out of the office to interview elsewhere. Now is a much easier time to arrange communication between clients and candidates, for people to video-call during working hours, and for us to ensure quick and efficient interview turnarounds. How do we onboard? Virtual onboarding is absolutely becoming the new norm. Onboarding gives your new employee that all-important first impression of the company they’ve just joined, so it’s important to make sure you’re doing this right! The last thing you want is to have been through all the processes to hire the perfect person to join your team, just to lose them because your virtual onboarding process isn’t up to scratch. This can include virtual meetings with all the people who would typically be involved in the onboarding process - the leadership team, HR, direct managers, and group meetings with the wider team. It can also include orientation to your company’s core principles, processes and systems. Here at Pro, we are currently speaking to our candidates who have recently started new positions amidst this period of uncertainty and we will be providing further insights and advice on the virtual onboarding process. If we can help you in any way, whether you are a candidate or a client looking for advice on new ways of job searching, interviewing or onboarding, please do give us a call. Here at Pro-Group we can help with any search needs or vacancies across Tax, Legal, Finance, HR, Marketing, Communications and Fundraising - permanent, interim or contract. For help with your recruiting needs, please contact Tom Eagle on 020 7269 6349 or email@example.com.
This week I have been talking to clients about the different ways of keeping engaged with staff in these challenging times. As soon as the news was announced by Boris at 5.05pm on Monday 16th March, the first thought of the management team at Pro was the wellbeing of our staff, which resulted in us instructing our workforce to work from home for the foreseeable future. So, here we are in unprecedented times. In all my c25 years of working in recruitment it appears we are set for a period of time working from home with various outlets, clients and business leaders telling us it is 'business as usual'. But is it really business as usual??? I mean for me, I am not travelling on the Central Line coming into work, queuing at Starbucks to get my normal caffeine fix and then seeing my teams ‘happy’ faces as they come through the door plus chatting to the wider business. Having spoken to a number of clients this week ranging from those in the Big 4, Mid Tiers and regional clients, it appears to be a very strange time for all. Staff morale and wellbeing is paramount for all businesses it seems, and at the forefront of everyones minds! I thought I would share with you the various ways that our clients are focusing on wellbeing in the workplace... Most firms are using the obvious and popular channels of virtual communication, such as Zoom/MSN Team/Microsoft Teams/Skype to have a ‘team meeting’ at the start of the day - just to check in with their staff, keep them motivated, to make sure that they are focused on the day ahead, to ensure that they are all ok, and to see their actual faces rather than just a voice. One of the Big 4’s London international tax team have introduced new sub teams of around 12/15 people, rather that the full team of 150 to ensure that everyone is being included and they are getting to know the wider team. They have even gone one stage further by setting up ‘working parents’ groups’, employees that are on their own in a house/flat, and a group for their international staff where they are perhaps on a secondment away from their family. Some accountancy practices are keeping their firms informed by senior management team or staff partners completing pre-recorded video messages to their whole workforce with regular updates. But what is super to hear is the novel ways that clients are getting their staff to interact in these crazy times. They are ranging from virtual pub quizzes, virtual coffee meetings, virtual beers (and a new whiskey club), a newfound 80’s film review night, and one firm has even introduced weekly virtual yoga and pilates classes. Here at Pro, we have set up morning Zoom meetings where I get to see the team’s faces, we discuss the previous night’s PM speech and what we had for dinner, before talking over the days tasks, which include keeping interview processes moving, touching base with our clients and candidates, working on our live roles (and we do have some!), talking over their professional projects as well as their personal projects (ranging from a run, a family walk, cooking, learning something new each day to a 1000 piece jigsaw!) just as long as they break things up to ensure that they’re not just looking at a screen in one place for 7/8 hours! I guess we are all finding ways to stay connected with our team/workforce and everyone is certainly in this together, but what I have loved hearing is the great stories of staying strong, being supportive and if you see one of your team mates struggling just connect with them perhaps by video call to say hello! Wellbeing in the workplace was such a key topic (and rightly so) pre-Covid 19, I can certainly say that it is even more prominent now. If you have some other ideas about connecting with tour staff or just keeping their spirits up, we would love to hear from you. Contact Kevin Racher on 020 7269 6321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the legal sector. Here are the key movements in March 2020: US firm Proskauer Rose has hired its first Litigation Partner in London. Dorothy Murray joins from KWM. Murray works across a broad range of investment and commercial disputes. Gibson Dunn is to lose Amy Kennedy, a Leverage Finance Partner, to Akin Gump in London. Amy acts on deals in the leveraged finance space, investment grade and corporate lending, as well as restructurings. Orrick has continued to hire from PwC Legal, bringing in PwC Legal’s Head of Finance Services one month after hiring a duo from the Big Four accountant to launch a contentious cybersecurity practice. Slaughter and May is losing Richard de Carle to Ashurst, after nearly 40 years with Slaughter and May. This is the second Partner the Magic Circle firm have lost this week, as another Corporate Partner, Susannah Macknay will be returning to Australia and joining Gilbert and Tobin. For more information about this article, or to speak to Tamara Salem about your recruiting needs or Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 020 7269 6368 or email@example.com. Back to Legal Movers & Shakers Archive >>