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We deliver the best recruitment news and advice to the Tax, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing sectors, including market updates, CV tips, interview advice, and exclusive interviews.


The Benefits of Working in an Audit Role in Reading

Working in Audit and Accounts in a Reading-based accountancy practice can offer many benefits. While large London firms are often top of the list for finance professionals considering a career move, there are many ways in which working more locally for a regional accountancy firm can offer the same, if not better, benefits as a large firm in the city.   Type of Work & Responsibility: With big-city firms, you will often find that your clients are scattered across the UK or even internationally. So, if you are looking for travel and overnight stays with your role you would be well-suited to working in the city. However, if this is not at the top of your list, working in audit in a local practice means you will work with local clients. Firms in the Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Big 4 have offices in Reading, so you still get the chance to work with big clients on important and market-leading work, just more locally.   Working Hours & Work-Life Balance: Accountancy firms based in Reading tend to have two types of core hours, either 9-5 or 8-4, and the hours are very flexible. Rather than being based in the city where your hours can be based on client pressures, you will often find that working outside of the city of London means not working as late and fewer client pressures that affect your day-to-day working hours. Working close to home means you cut the London commute! You will save the time spent travelling to and from the city, which in turn allows for a better work-life balance as you have more time to spend on your personal life outside of work. The average cost of a monthly travelcard is around 58% lower in Reading compared to London, meaning that you will not only save lots of time on your commute, but also money.  A good work-life balance comes with the flexibility of working for a local practice, as opposed to a corporate city firm that might not be able to offer the same degree of flexible or agile working. Working in a regional practice might be well-suited to people with other commitments such as part-time carers or return-to-work parents. A role in a local firm can be perfect when it comes to arranging your work schedule around responsibilities like school runs, with many practices offering on-site parking to make it easier for parents. Local accountancy firms can offer flexible working arrangements, with perhaps 3 or 4 days in the office alongside agile working from home, or a working pattern that suits your personal situation.    Salary & Benefits: On top of saving the monthly cost of the commute into London, audit and finance roles based in Reading accountancy firms offer similar salaries to those in the city and bonuses often match those offered in London firms. As well as this, rent in Reading is typically 30-40% lower compared to London, and buying property can be over 50% cheaper than London, meaning your money can go further. When it comes to benefits, packages are largely dependent on the sector and business. Reading-based accountancy firms typically offer excellent policies regarding Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) which is not quite as common in city firms. In general, local practices offer excellent benefits which match those offered in London-based firms, including good study support and registered trainers who can train you within your practice, high pensions, medical care, holiday allowance and more often than not, the same benefits you would receive working in a corporate city firm.   Progression & Ease of Finding a New Opportunity: Regional accountancy firms still offer plenty of opportunities to progress and develop, all the way up to Partner if that is your end goal. Working in a London-based Big 4 office you can face a long path to Partner, whereas a smaller local practice can almost offer a fast-track route to Partnership. A role in a regional firm can be positive in several different ways when it comes to new opportunities. Not only can they offer excellent progression routes if you stay with that one firm, but they can also be a good stepping stone into a larger city firm or Big 4 office in London. Or, working locally in Reading might be a good option for you if you have already worked in the city and you are looking for a firm that offers more flexibility, less of a commute, and better suits your lifestyle.   Here at Pro-Finance, we work closely with many Big 4, Top 10, Top 20, and boutique accountancy firms based in Reading who are looking for auditors of all levels to join their successful and close-knit teams. As impartial consultants with a wealth of experience, we are well-positioned to advise on your next move, so should you wish to discuss how best to structure your next career step, please do get in touch. ​ For more information on this article, or to speak to Jenna Johnson about a move into a finance audit role in Reading, contact her


Working From Home: Benefits to an Employer

With working patterns being disrupted, ‘the norm’ is looking very different to how it was 18 months ago. As the UK slowly eases back into the new realities of work, it’s an interesting time to explore the reason why remote working not only benefits the employee but widely has a beneficial impact for many organisations and employers. I recently surveyed my Linkedin contacts to discover their perceptions of workload whilst working from home: With 80% saying they felt they worked harder from home, as the effects of reducing the office culture are clearly taking a toll, with some of the conversations I have had including the issues below: 1 Blurred Lines between work and home life Burnout is real. It is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. It’s important to be wary of this and ensure your teams realise when it is time to just switch off from work. 2 Lack of Social Contact This can be an issue if you work from home alone, without other people around the employee, be it housemates or family. It’s key to ensure that you as an employer are understanding of this situation and offer ways to support social interaction, be it through virtual team meetings to help map out the day or week of work, regular conversations over the phone or even face to face catch ups when restrictions permit. 3. Lack of Resources Do your teams have the tools and resources they need to fulfil their roles day-to-day? If you plan on switching to a hybrid model whereby your team is expected to work from home in the week, it’s essential they have the tech resources they need to complete their work. Do they need that second screen? DO they have sufficient tech tools? A review with your employees should help you distinguish what they need to support them when working from home. However, there are clearly benefits to your business which are, but not restricted to: 1 Productivity Working in the office can sometimes be distracting, busy and loud. which can lead to a lack of productivity and concentration issues for some of your employees. Employees working from home also benefit from the extra time in the morning avoiding their commute and being able to start the day fresh without the hassle of public transport. If employees are on-boarded with the right skills of how to work from home, then they are likely to be very efficient and productive. We at Pro have seen a huge uplift in productivity whilst we continue to review and ensure we provide our teams with the tools they need to succeed. 2 Improved Employee Retention and Attraction Even if an employee’s personal circumstances change, being address, Covid restrictions and self-isolation, working from home allow your employees to still focus and carry out their duties whilst working wherever they feel most comfortable. Being flexible in remote working opportunities is a great way for employers to retain staff, reduce employee turnover and ultimately save money on hiring in the long-term.  Remote working in the UK has shown to statistically be favoured by employees, being one of the most important company benefits for 19% of employees, who say that if they were torn between two roles, 1 in 5 individuals would accept the remote working jobs over office-based jobs. 3 Financial Benefits Fewer overheads, less need for costs in the office such as kitchen facilities, furniture or utilities. Without completely eliminating all costs, remote working can offer a reduction in the cost for the less necessary resources and allow you as an employer to focus on providing better tools and advance your technologies. 4 Improved Employee Wellbeing Having a flexible schedule can be beneficial to your employees for many reasons, including reducing stress and increasing happiness. Those who have children are able to take them to school or even have the evening meal with them, others who live further away from the office are able to benefit from the extra time and money saved in their commutes.  Mental health is currently the leading cause of sickness absence from work and costs the UK employers an average of £1300 per employee. Taking time off from work, or having the flexibility to work remotely is a great way to boost the work/life balance for employees which will lead to better mental well-being in the workplace. Here we see that the benefits do outweigh the disadvantages, however, as employers it is important that you manage your duty of care to ensure that those who may need that extra support whilst working from home are provided for. with 80% suggesting that they work longer hours whilst working from home, it's key that you as an employer review this before your staff experience burnout.


A Career in Tax - Seriously Worth Considering

“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: 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


HR Soft Skills in Demand in 2021/2022

Most human resources skills fall into the category of soft skills due to how much of the job deals with person-to-person interaction. These skills are in high demand because every HR professional needs them regardless of their role. The challenges that have been set upon many HR professionals during the pandemic has surged the demand for these 5 key soft skills by employers during 2021 leading the way for recruitment expectations in 2022. Innovation This can be a difficult skill to cultivate because it requires working in an environment that allows you to innovate. With many organisations now with a hybrid working pattern, which may be predominantly remote, it’s important to ensure that creative thinking and planning is included to ensure your organisation encourages innovation. Think about your personal life and the ways you’ve innovated in your daily life or hobbies. Showing a recruiter how your brain works and innovates off the job is just as valuable as demonstrating your qualifications on paper.  Discussing your experiences where you innovated something to provide a better solution is key. Did you suggest new training procedures to increased employee engagement? Or maybe you devised a better system for tracking annual leave? Talk about those successes and wins in both your CV and further discussion during the interview. Fostering Cultural Intelligence and Diversity Having cultural intelligence and awareness beyond your own is highly attractive to employers, particularly with those who work cross border. Moreover, cultural intelligence is also important while communicating with individuals belonging to other sectors within the same company.  It allows easy communication across sectors, necessary for a company to run smoothly. Cultural intelligence makes it easier for employees to interact with individuals and corporate customers, gain their trust, and have an advantage over their competition. Cultural intelligence helps bridge the gap between outsourced divisions, local customers, and colleagues. It leads to an in-depth understanding of the working pattern in various parts of the globe and ergonomically adapts to those patterns. It is instrumental in creating awareness of the emerging markets and management styles, making cultural intelligence and diversity a soft skill frequently sought after in candidates.  Emotional Intelligence This is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your emotions and the emotions of others. This means that you are able to think empathetically about the people around you and the interpersonal relationships that develop in the workplace. This is another soft skill that has taken on new meaning for 2021. Stress, grief, and frustration are abundant as we continue to work through the pandemic and onwards. From new work-from-home challenges to lost loved ones or other pandemic issues, having the ability to read the emotions of your co-workers and respond with compassion is essential.  During the interview, don’t forget to highlight how you have developed your EI, perhaps if you’re comfortable doing so, highlighting some of the personal events and how it has helped you develop a deeper EI quota. Decision Making As you get further into your career path, there will be more emphasis on the management part of human resources management. Leaders are expected to make tough decisions at every turn and it’s no different for those who work in HR. Being able to decide which candidate to hire, how to handle an internal conflict, or even how to communicate tough news all circle back to strong decision-making skills. When highlighting your career experience, talk about a time you had to make a tough decision at work. Show how you were a leader and decision-maker in your previous positions and be ready to discuss it during an interview. Flexibility Moving to a partial or complete work-from-home environment was a big leap of faith for many employers. Would their teams be legitimately productive away from their office? Without the natural structure that a day at the office provides, flexibility became a soft skill that quickly rose to the top of many recruiters' priority lists. Flexibility is the ability to adapt and respond to the changing environment and to constructively create opportunities for change through active participation. It is a core competency required of an HR professional, now more than ever. Flexibility is required with time, finances, workload, as well as understanding and the ability to demonstrate this key trait, is not only attractive to the employer, but to the employees, the HR professionals are recruiting. To conclude, there are many soft skills that are immeasurable to the success of an HR department and organisation. The key oversight for many employers is to only focus on the technical competencies of their employees, however, soft skills are taking up vital space in organisational functions. Think of your soft skills as your accessories. Alone will not qualify you for a job, but when paired with solid credentials, they will complement your hard skills and can make you a much more attractive candidate.  For more information on this article or to speak to our specialist recruitment consultants about your next HR role in the charity sector, contact


Is There Flexibility for Parents in Recruitment?

Recruitment is typically an industry where hours are long and the majority of days are in the office - the number of headhunt calls I have made whilst making dinner of an evening, stirring the Bolognese, sorting the days' post, tidying around, at the same time as speaking to passive candidates about opportunities and their career plans for the future were endless. Adding children to that mix would have been insane! One thing the pandemic has done is given us that flexibility and time back, and now more than ever Recruitment can really be a family-friendly career. At Pro we have always considered ourselves ‘family friendly’, but over the last couple of years, that has really changed and developed much so that now you are truly supported as a parent.  Flashback to 3 years ago, we were in the office every day, yes you could work from home, but it wasn’t the norm, there were more junior consultants in the business and a lot of the perks and benefits around going out, posh restaurants, meeting for drinks, and all those fab glam things you see recruiters do that may not be as conducive to family life as they could be. Now the majority of our staff are experienced with long tenures, a bit more mature and grown-up – looking across our Senior Management team, nearly half now have children under 2, we have had 2 new arrivals this year so far and another on the way (I am due in a matter of weeks!)! Couple this with the effect of the flexibility the pandemic has allowed us, really does make Pro a much more family-inclusive company, with a real understanding for those with young children who still want a career but don’t want to be, or are required to be, chained to their desk every minute of the day! I recently polled my LinkedIn followers on how supported they feel by their employer around maternity/ paternity /adoption/ shared parental leave benefits/policies and how happy they were. Shockingly only 33% of people felt supported by their company around parental benefits/rights, and interestingly 53% of people were only offered statutory pay for parental leave. This is something that we wanted to change at Pro and to reflect the employee base we currently have.  We have recently updated our maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental leave policies to give a little bit more to our employees, we are all working from home at least 4 days a week, we are offering part-time opportunities, and Managers and Directors are understanding about doing school runs or needing to be flexible on hours depending on childcare or any other emergencies – you are trusted to do your job, your way! Of course, doing all these things have been brilliant, especially for me, an expectant mum, with no idea what it will be like returning to work after my first child, but the fact I have the support from other Senior Managers and Directors around me is so encouraging. Yes, there is more we can do, and that will come in time, but changing so dramatically from the recruitment norms out there and making these small steps towards a change are exciting and leading the way in an industry that really hasn’t been the most family-friendly career choice! If you are feeling like your employer is not supportive of you and your family, maybe it's time to make a change. Get in touch with us now to talk about your career and opportunities. Call Loren on 07539 888 231 or email


How to get the most out of recruiters

Bluntly, recruiters can often be seen as a nuisance, and the positives of building a long-term relationship with them are frequently missed. On the flip side of this, I am not suggesting you go and make relationships with all the recruiters in the market, as this will certainly dilute the many advantages of a good working relationship with your recruiter. Firstly, it is important to know how to communicate with recruiters. To do that you need to be open and honest about your current situation and your career goals -  the more information you tell us the more we can help. As recruiters, we have key connections within the market and often work on projects exclusively, meaning we are protective over who we put in front of our valued clients. Building a long-term relationship with a recruiter can offer considerable value; · Exclusive job opportunities – many of the top law firms and teams opt for retained searches with leading recruiters in the market, meaning you will not hear about them elsewhere. · A key insight into the market – good recruiters have a great overview of the market and are often amongst the first to know about any movement. We also hold great knowledge in market trends and the skills that are in high demand and short supply. · Negotiate higher remuneration packages – People easily forget we have just as much invested interest as them to get the highest package possible. We know what the limits are and how hard to push negotiations, without pushing too far and posing a risk to the offer. · Provide specific advice on applications – We know our clients and what they look for. We know the reasons why other candidates were unsuccessful and what experience to highlight to give you the advantage. We also know culturally what a good fit is, and what is not. Ultimately, a good legal recruiter will always look to build long-term relationships with you and will understand that the way to do this is to offer helpful and genuine advice. If you have the sense that your recruiter is not motivated to provide advice that is in your best interests, then I suggest you look to find one that is. Contact the team today for support with your recruitment needs


A National Insurance Contributions 'Holiday' for Employed Veterans from 2021/2022

The 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto stated: We will reduce National Insurance contributions for employers if they employ ex-Service personnel. Consultation In July 2020, HMRC published a Consultation entitled ‘Supporting veterans transition to civilian life through employment’.  This 25-page document is very interesting about an employer’s Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) ‘holiday’.  The pertinent points were confirmed at Spring Budget 2020 (point 2.179 is the most informative).  The Condoc outlines the three key issues: How to define a veteran for the purpose of the relief The types of qualifying employment and the length of time it applies to The most effective way to administer this relief and how employers can claim it Responses On 11 January 2021, HMRC published its Responses document.  This confirms:  It will apply to employers who employ veterans of the Armed Services, as per a definition already contained in the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 and Northern Irish equivalent The NICs holiday will apply to all veterans of the Armed Forces entering ‘civilian employment’ and will not be dependent on the date that they left.  The NICs legislation defining civilian employment will be expanded to include overseas employment and be an employment that is not part of HM Armed Forces   The holiday will not be extended to support employers’ people who have served in the Reserve Forces The holiday will apply to employers every time in a veteran’s lifetime when they enter civilian employment after leaving service.  So, an employer of a veteran who left service, entered civilian employment, re-joined service, left and entered civilian employment again will be able to benefit.  This is quite different from the position outlined by HMRC in the original consultation The qualifying veterans will not exclude employed directors of Single Director Companies, ‘deemed employees’ under the off-payroll reforms and users of Personal and Managed Service Companies. It will be a 12-month employer National Insurance Contributions ‘relief’, applying to earnings up to and including the new Veterans Upper Secondary Threshold (VUST) in the pay reference period (£50,270 per annum in 2021/22, to be confirmed) It will be effective April 2021 – for tax year 2021/22, however, this will not be through the payroll until tax year 2022/23 when it will be through RTI.  ‘Transitional administrative arrangements will be in place for tax year 2021/22.  This means that employers employing a qualifying veteran in civilian employment will have to pay the employer’s NICs and reclaim the monies Employers who employed a veteran before 06 April 2021 and they are in the first 12 months of civilian employees will be able to reclaim a pro-rated amount of employer’s NICs.  Employers will calculate eligibility by counting from the veteran’s first day of civilian employment, regardless of whether that employment is with them or a previous employer Legislation Primary legislation in the form of the National Insurance Contributions Bill (Regulations 6 and 7) will introduce a zero-rate of secondary Class 1 National Insurance Contributions for veterans with effect from 6 April 2021.  This will amend: The Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 and The Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 It will also allow the new Upper Secondary Threshold to be created, catering for veterans entering civilian employment (Regulation 8). Note that this only applies for the tax years 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24.  However, the Bill allows for this to be extended by further tax years.  Guidance There is a ‘technical overview’ of this legislation, published on 11 January 2021. As regards guidance on how employers will manually make the reclaim in tax year 2021/22, the Responses document says: ‘HMRC will publish guidance before April 2021 that sets out the information and records an employer will need to maintain for qualifying employments relating to the 2021 to 2022 tax year to claim the relief.’ This published guidance came in the form of a Policy Paper dated 10 February 2021 which simply said that an employer will need to keep the following records: Information showing that the individual is a qualifying veteran’ – see Regulation 7 of the Bill entitled ‘veteran conditions’ The start date of the veteran’s first civilian employment I assume that the employer will also want to keep details of the associated Secondary Class 1 Employers National Insurance contributions in the period until April 2022. Making the Reclaim In that regard, on 03 August 2021, HMRC produced guidance for software developers that will soon be replicated on the Gov.UK ‘Real Time Information support for software developers’.  However, it is interesting and important for employers to note how the reclaim will be effected.  There are two points worth noting: The reclaim will not be available in-year through software for tax year 2021/22.  The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) have described this as ‘unfortunate’ meaning that a claim after the end of the tax year will affect the cash-flow of employers A new threshold is introduced called the Veterans Upper Secondary Threshold (VUST).  The purpose of this is similar to the UST (Upper Secondary Threshold for those under 21) and the AUST (Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold for apprentice under 25).  The NICs Bill will prescribe that employer’s NICs are at 0% up to and including this threshold, however, the value of the VUST need not necessarily be the same as the value of the ST (Secondary Threshold), UST or AUST So, HMRC’s guidance indicates that the value of the ST, UST, AUST and VUST will be aligned at £50,270 per annum – though we must wait for associated legislation to confirm this. Tax Year 2021/22 As above, for qualifying veterans, employers will need to pay the Secondary Class 1 NICs and make a reclaim after the end of the tax year However, HMRC has requested that payroll software is updated before April 2022 to allow employers to make a reclaim via an amended Full Payment Submission (FPS).  This is not a legislative requirement but HMRC’s request to ‘provide a smooth customer journey’ Where payroll software is not updated, HMRC will provide reclaim guidance before April 2022 Employers should make the reclaim under NI category letter V.  There is no equivalent veteran’s NI letter for a mariner (letters Q, T and W) or others (letters B, C and J).  Where these letters may apply, an RTI amendment cannot be made and reclaim will be a manual process by contacting HMRC at the end of the tax year Tax Year 2022/23 Employers will be able to perform calculations in-year (through software) Qualifying employees (ex-veterans in civilian employment as per Regulation 7 of the above Bill) must be placed on NI category letter V Software will ensure that earnings up to and including the VUST will be free from Secondary NICs As above, there is only one NI letter, so any employee that would normally be on another letter Remember We are talking about a 12-month NICs holiday for employers on earnings up to and including the VUST.  This 12-month holiday begins on the day that the ex-veteran first enters civilian employment.  So, an issue will be accurate record-keeping, as outlined in HMRC’s Policy Paper dated 10 February 2021 (Example 3): A veteran C leaves HM Armed Forces on 01 August 2021, commencing civilian employment with Employer A on 30 August 2021 Record-keeping (possibly payroll software functionality) for Employer A will record that 30 August 2021 is the start of the 12-month qualifying period Veteran C leaves Employer A and commences with Employer B on 30 November 2021 Employer B will need to establish and record that Veteran C’s first day of civilian employment was 30 August 2021 Employer B can place Veteran C on category letter V until 29 August 2022 All employers will want to ensure that their software is updated for 2022/23.  However, employers that have employed qualifying veterans with the 12 months end date in the 2021/22 tax year will need to query whether there will be functionality to make a FPS adjustment in April 2022. There is a lot of employers and software developers to get their head around here. This article is written by Ian Holloway, a highly respected payroll practitioner, writer, advisor and trainer at i-Realise. Ian has worked in the payroll profession for over 30 years.  He has developed exceptional 360-degree insight into payroll’s challenges and the impact of relevant legislation – having worked for both in-house payroll teams, software providers and as a payroll lecturer, writer and government advisor. ​ For more advice or a quick discussion on how I can help with your Payroll Recruitment needs, please contact me at or call 07793 077 421


Three Reasons Why Now Is The Perfect Time to Consider Your Options

Here are three reasons why now is the perfect time to consider your options, at the start of H2 2021 1.    The market is about as busy as it has ever been. Some Q2 findings from the ONS: "the number of job vacancies in April to June 2021 was 9.9% (77,500) above its pre-pandemic level in January to March 2020...". We expect this trend to continue through this year certainly, and the sheer volume of options just makes for better choosing. 2.    Salaries are on the up - but not as much as the new job offers that we are seeing. The latest ONS data shows an approximate 7% increase in weekly average earnings (approximately 4% once adjusted for base & compositional effects). This number includes incremental pay rises (i.e. staying with the same company) and massively understates the uplifts we’re seeing from those changing employers (often 30-40%+ at the moment). Why settle for an incremental increase if it barely meets inflation, and your market rate is much higher elsewhere? 3.    Flexibility. London salaries are attracting talent from all across the country due to the widespread remote working arrangements. But we have also seen this remote working drive up local/regional offers, as many regional employers have found themselves competing with the London mark. Many employers have given their staff the option to work from home for much/most of the week, while others have taken a much less flexible approach. The key question is – how much longer will the market be opportune in this volume, salary level and flexibility of options? Get in touch to learn what opportunities might be out there for you. For more information on this article, contact Jay Sky at


CTA Results: May 2021 compared to November 2020

Summertime in the UK usually means going on holiday and soaking up some sun but for much of the tax profession, it means receiving results from exams. Just under a week ago (at the time of writing), the CIOT announced the results from its examinations taken by 1,219 candidates in May 2021. In addition to this, there were a further 499 candidates who sat one or more papers on ACA CTA joint programme, 834 candidates who sat a combination of ATT and CTA papers, as well as 51 candidates who sat exams for the first time on the newest route to qualification, CA CTA joint programme.  Peter Rayney, Institute President confirmed “323 candidates have now successfully completed all of the CTA examinations. Included in this figure are 54 candidates who were on the ACA CTA Joint Programme and 71 candidates who have now fully completed the ATT CTA Tax Pathway by passing the CTA element” As a tradition, I’ve taken a moment to draw up an overview and compare the result of the most recent sitting to those of November 2020. Advanced Technical – May 2021 Paper Total sitting exam Candidates passed Pass rate Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses 883 585 66% Domestic Indirect Taxation 92 53 58% Inheritance Tax, Trusts and Estates 128 52 41% Human Capital Taxes 77 27 35% Taxation of Individuals 452 221 49% Cross-border Indirect Taxation 48 32 67% Taxation of Major Corporates 362 193 53% Advanced Technical – November 2020 Paper Total sitting exam Candidates passed Pass rate Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses 872 365 42% Domestic Indirect Taxation 93 32 34% Inheritance Tax, Trusts and Estates 139 68 49% Human Capital Taxes 66 11 17% Taxation of Individuals 612 358 58% Cross-border Indirect Taxation 46 26 57% Taxation of Major Corporates 298 176 59% Awareness – May 2021    111 candidates passed this paper out of a total of 189 sitting the examination. A pass rate of 59%. Awareness – November 2020 181 candidates passed this paper out of a total of 275 sitting the examination. A pass rate of 66%. Application and Professional Skills – May 2021  Paper Total sitting exam Candidates passed Pass rate Taxation of Individuals 91 50 55% Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups 71 51 72% Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses 255 131 51% Human Capital Taxes 36 18 50% VAT & Other Indirect Taxes 23 13 57% Inheritance Tax, Trust & Estates 47 25 53% Application and Professional Skills – November 2020 Paper Total sitting exam Candidates passed Pass rate Taxation of Individuals 72 36 50% Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups 77 34 44% Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses 212 104 49% Human Capital Taxes 31 12 39% VAT & Other Indirect Taxes 16 7 44% Inheritance Tax, Trust & Estates 40 22 55% In summary, highlighted in green are those that saw an increase in pass rate, whereas those highlighted in red saw a decrease. As you can see from the above, it was great to see an increase in pass rates for several of the exams. In particular, all of the Application and Professional Skills exams saw a pass rate except from the Inheritance, Trusts and Estates paper which was a marginal 2% difference. The team and I here at Pro-Tax would like to congratulate all of those that have successfully achieved CTA status in what remains to be extraordinary circumstances. It’s a huge weight off your shoulders and you should certainly enjoy a period of time without being inundated with legislation to study! If you are seeking career advice for the next steps after qualifying, then please do not hesitate to get in contact. The market is extremely busy with a large proportion of the accountancy practice market looking to hire. For those that didn’t receive the results they were hoping for, it’s time to pick yourself back up, reflect and continue with sheer grit and determination. The CTA is an extremely tough qualification, but rest assured it will all be worth it in the long run! If for whatever reason you are not receiving the relevant support you need with your exams, then we are also here to assist.  For more information on this article or for help with the next steps in your tax career after your CTA results, contact Dominic Watt on 020 7269 6310 or


Re-Advertising the Same Role - The Damage it Has On Your Brand

Recruitment is about finding the right candidate for the most suitable organisation promptly to ensure the smooth transition of the candidate into employment whilst satisfying the client’s needs. As a Recruiter, I know how damaging it can be to my reputation if I am advertising a role for any longer period than necessary. Although it should never be a rush, you need to ensure your Recruiter is networked well enough to reduce the time to hire. I have seen many companies who seek to hire without the support of a Recruitment Consultant’s network, who constantly fall flat in their hiring process, whilst not realising the effect it has on their brand perception, particularly in a Payroll function, where professionals seek an employer for longevity where they can make a long-lasting impact and tend to want to stay for a longer tenure, so long as the offer is what is advertised. Even more so now that the Payroll profession is seen as a source of knowledge and insight in your business. I was keen to explore this further in a recent Linkedin Poll, which gathered hundreds of responses. “Good question. It's hard to answer though as it could be a number of reasons and a mixture of many. It could be due to the hiring manager being too picky, the package, the culture, the job description might not match what the role actually consists of. The mind wonders”, suggests a HR professional in my network. And they are right, there are many factors to consider, but partnering with a Recruitment Agency can help to eliminate and reduce the pressures of getting it wrong. Brand perception is what customers believe a product or service represents, not what the company owning the brand says it does. Organisations can shout from the rooftops about their great company culture and perks and benefits, but brand perception comes from customer use, experience, functionality, reputation and word of mouth recommendation - on social media channels as well as face to face. Repeatedly making bad hires, mistakes in recruiting and poor advertising can have a damaging effect on your organisation’s brand perception, with 67% stating they would stay away from an organisation that repeatedly re-advertised the same job role. Benefits of a Recruitment Agency We will advertise your roles for you If you don’t receive the right calibre of applications, we can ensure that your roles are put under the eyes of the right candidates. Be it via job boards, promotional advertising or simply exploring our nurtured databases and network of candidates. At Pro, our Payroll team alone has a network of over 10k Payroll and HR professionals in the UK We will identify the right talent for your organisation Recruiters make it their business to understand yours. From the operations, sectors and teams through to culture, benefits and the right people fit. We work as an extension of your company’s ethos to help you hire the right fit for your teams. We will screen and interview your candidates This can be a time-consuming process which a recruitment consultant can relieve for you. IT will include narrowing down the applicants via screening on the phone. Then shortlist candidates to suit your mandate, and eliminate any unsuitable matches from the process. Background checks, personality tests can all be conducted by a recruitment agency meaning your HR department doesn't have to. We as recruiters can also support your HR team or hiring manager in understanding relevant interview questions to ask. We will take the awkwardness out of Salary Discussions Getting to the end of a recruitment process, finding the right candidate and then making the offer, only to find that salary and benefits expectations don’t meet, time-consuming, frustrating and costly. As a recruiter, we can help you benchmark a realistic remuneration package and seek to place the best-skilled candidates to suit. A recruiter can act as the middle ground to ensure expectations on salary are understood from the outset, as to not disturb the end of the recruitment process. We will deliver interim solutions If the hiring process is long and you have had difficulty hiring the right fit, meaning you have readvertised the role several times, you should consider hiring an interim professional. They can help you bridge the gap, allow you to better direct and shape the role and processes to suit your organisation’s needs, as well having someone on board to keep your existing operations running, knowing they are only temporary whilst you find your permanent solution. A recruiter who specialises in interim solutions will be your best point of contact, as they can offer all of the above solutions, in a very timely manner. Speak to Petra Brown who can help with any of your Interim needs. We have on-the-pulse market insight Recruiters are well-networked individuals. We spend every hour in the day speaking providing solutions across Tax, Finance, HR and Payroll across Practice, Commerce and Industry and Not-for-Profit sectors all over the UK. We work closely with governing bodies, exam boards, chartered institutes and sector influencers to ensure our clients and candidates are in the know. With this, the expertise we can provide on the jobs market across the UK is valuable in supporting your recruitment campaign. Understanding the needs of the economy, the employer, the employee and the potential candidates means that we are best placed to find the perfect match for your teams. For more advice on how we can help you with your recruiting needs, and avoid the damage to your brand, operations and expenditure, contact Ray Moore on 07725 970 360 or email


Are Payroll Professionals Now Seen as More Than Just the People Who ‘Push the Pay Button’?

Pre-pandemic, Payroll professionals were seen as ‘the people who pay us’, they push the ‘big red button ’and your staff are magically paid. However, during the last 18 months, they are now seen as more of a source of knowledge and insight in the business. We recently polled my several thousand connections and it shows that Payroll Professionals are now more sought after than the HR teams, and even more so than the leadership when it comes to advice on pay.   Over the years, both payroll and pensions professionals have seen significant changes affecting the way they do their jobs, but the last 18 months in particular, with the pandemic catalysing the changing perceptions of the profession. Here are the three main reasons why: Trust Ken Pullar, Chief Executive at the CIPP mentions, ‘to be successful in any profession it is also important, to be honest, and to have integrity, particularly within payroll, says Pullar. “You are the one person within the organisation who has access to every single employee’s personal data and details of their pay, and potentially other financial information depending on the benefits package offered,” he explains. “Everything within your role is entrusted to you in confidence, and it is essential for your success and for the wellbeing of the organisation's employees that you do not break that confidence.”  Payroll professionals are entrusted with an organisation’s biggest expenditure, and quite often left to their own devices to ensure that everyone is paid accurately and on time. “Every so often there are cases within the media about payrollers, I won’t call them professionals, who have defrauded an organisation through ‘ghost’ employees,” says Pullar. “As a payroll professional, you should have the integrity to ensure that this does not happen within your organisation.” Knowledge With payroll becoming much more than salary, and more about overall reward strategies, especially with legislation such as gender pay gap reporting and GDPR impacting on payroll, it is more important than ever that professionals constantly refresh their knowledge and skills. Their insight and knowledge is pivotal in business operations and should not be overlooked. Equally as important as it is for the Payroll employee to stay up-to-date, is the need for employers and organisations not to overlook the need for further training and development of their payroll teams. Less competent teams can put a business at risk for fines and penalties. Diligence Payroll can be very rewarding, but it can also be frustrating because when someone’s pay is calculated incorrectly, it does not matter how the information was received or from whom, payroll will always be held accountable and will be expected to resolve any discrepancies, With the many changes in legislation, with the introduction of furlough, and questions of how it will affect pay and remuneration, it is critical that Payroll professionals remain diligent with the entire payroll process.  Being in the Payroll recruitment profession for many years, I am aware of the many respectable attributes that Payroll professionals have, which often go unseen by employers, but the last year or so have elevated the fact that those in the profession are tech-savvy, deadline-driven, self-aware and flexible to change, and from my Poll and my experience, I am glad to see the perceptions are changing. For more information about this article or to discuss your Payroll recruitment needs, please contact Ray Moore on 07725 970 360 or email



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