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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.

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5 Lessons We've Learned from Lockdown

What have we learned from lockdown? There’s no doubt that this year's events and pandemic have taken a huge toll on all of us, mentally, financially and economically, however there are plenty of lessons learnt that will allow us to improve ways of working, our lifestyles and our personal wellbeing going forward. Not for one minute am I suggesting the lockdown was a positive experience however I am a believer in looking for the positives in every situation and I cannot deny the lockdown has helped us learn several lessons. Technology is the future For many years we have often heard clients say that we are not set up to work from home or have the infrastructure to support this. As a result of the pandemic it has accelerated the need for businesses to change their infrastructure and modernise their approach! Technology has enabled us to stay connected and allowed us to communicate with our friends, families and colleagues through some challenging times. Video calling and virtual meetings are now the norm and working from home is no longer viewed with trepidation and fear from Senior Management. If there is one thing we can take from the last few months it is that our employees can be trusted to perform effectively from home and that the working world has changed forever. Flexibility is here to stay How many of us have had the discussion with colleagues around flexible hours and working days? My guess, would be a considerable high amount! Well moving forward flexible working will no longer be ‘sold’ by companies as an additional benefit but will just be the norm for employees. No longer will individuals feel compelled to be at their desk 8.30am - 5.30pm but they will be empowered to manage their working day around other commitments and the focus will be on meeting key deliverables rather than time spent at a laptop! Time is precious Lockdown has meant life has changed to a slower pace. Gone are the days where our diaries are filled with meetings and social events and long commutes being squashed on tubes or trains. Personally, I am saving 4 hours per day not commuting to the office and I certainly have seen the benefits. Whilst I miss seeing my colleagues, I am using the time I am saving to take extra rest, spend with my family or exercise. I am ‘switched off’ from work at a good time to allow me to enjoy my evening without the rush-hour commute. Lockdown has given us the space to reflect on the effects our busy working live has on our personal life and re-establish our priorities leading to some permanent, constructive changes. Home is no longer a “pit stop”! "Don’t be like race car drivers and treat home like a pit stop” HBR Review. Before 2020, home for most people was unfortunately treated as a fueling station, a space to eat and sleep before heading out to work again and facing the early morning commute. Lockdown, and this pandemic has allowed all of us to treat our homes as more of a sanctuary, people are now spending more quality time together with their families and loved ones. Putting our health first According to YouGov, Covid-19 has resulted in 300,000 people giving up smoking, and has led to a further 550,000 trying to quit. The hashtag #QuitForCOVID has circled around Twitter in order to warn of the higher risks and severity of coronavirus on smokers. Personally, with the daily commutes, and the aforementioned ‘pit stops’, unconsciously I had been taking my health for granted through eating at ridiculous times and having little exercise. Throughout the last few months though, exercise has suddenly become a “no-brainer” and far easier to fit into my daily plan. I cannot use the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse anymore and on a personal level, I have seen the benefits through weight loss, feeling healthier and my individual mental wellbeing. What other benefits have you taken from lockdown? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on how you’ve utilised your extra time this year. Please give me a call on 020 7269 6349 or email tom.eagle@pro-finance.co.uk

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Finance Practice vs. Industry: The Big Debate

Once you become a newly qualified accountant, you will inevitably come up against the decision of whether to build a career in practice or to move into an industry role. Both have their pros and cons, and your decision will ultimately come down to what type of person you are and what is important to you in your career. Making this decision can often feel daunting, but our specialist finance recruiters have put together key advice to help you make an informed decision! Recession Proof? Those who have worked through recent recessions and the current 2020 pandemic will share the same sentiment that those working in financial services have experienced reductions in their teams, but for most firms money movement is important, which explains why financial professionals are always in demand. Accountants, Auditors, Actuaries, Claims Specialists, Tax Preparers, Insurance Underwriters — the list of financial service jobs is long and varied, however, in good times or in bad, everyone needs to file a tax return or oversee their accounts, Auditors, see consistent demand during recessions. Financial regulations don’t go away during recessions, so neither does demand for Auditors. From my daily conversations, and understanding of the recovery from the last recession, I have found that Practice is the safer route for newly qualified accountancy professionals, particularly those looking to specialise in Audit. When reflecting on earlier in they year, when the nation went into flux, many accountancy firms reduced their team sizes and made cuts to keep their operations profitable and afloat. However, upon entering the second lockdown, they are far more technically prepared, and recuiting Auditors in practice is again on the rise, with many firms now recruiting as normal, albeit virtually. Type of Work Many newly qualified accountants are attracted to industry roles because the companies themselves often seem more interesting, or just because they’re not audit roles! But in reality, although moving from practice to industry gives you the opportunity to use your skills in a very different environment, roles in industry can lack variation and excitement. You will find yourself working on the same or similar things on a day-to-day basis and you will most likely lose the client-facing aspect of a role in practice. If you are looking to be involved in the business development side of the firm you work for, you are best to seek a role within practice as opposed to industry where business development focused roles tend to be limited. As well as this, with a finance practice role, you will find you have a varied workload and responsibilities with certain busy periods throughout the year. Depending on your firm and department, your work could be audit, tax-focused, or accounts-focused to name but a few, and you will have autonomy in your work. Every week will see you working with different clients across different types of work that can vary in size and topic. Salary & Benefits Newly qualified accountants are often drawn into industry with an attractive pay rise compared to starting salaries within practice. Salaries within industry for a new-qualified accountant are typically around the £45,000 mark, occasionally going up to around £55,000 in certain sectors like Financial Services. However, the initial pay gap between industry and practice has reduced considerably and the salary for a newly-qualified candidate within practice can actually be higher than in industry, with many firms now matching the money offered in order to retain the best talent. Not only this, if you were to stay in practice and become a future Director or Partner, the pay would more than equal itself out and you would be looking at earning more further down the line. When it comes to benefits, packages in industry are very variable depending on the sector and business, however, more often than not they do include a bonus and a wide variety of benefits. Benefits within practice are typically better for two reasons - they are better-established companies with defined risk & reward teams, and you will also receive benefits in line with longevity of service, compared to industry where it would be a new role. Working Hours Industry roles tend to be busy when it comes to month-end but, again, that is very dependent on the size of the business. Practice roles will have seasonally busy periods throughout the year, but it’s also important to note that accountancy firms are very bottom-heavy meaning there will always be juniors carrying out work that is perhaps more menial, which is often not the case within industry. Typically, working in an industry role offers the opportunity to have a better work-life balance, with regular working hours and no late nights in the office! However, improving work-life balance is something that a lot of firms are increasingly working towards for their employees. The Big 4, for example, are not known for having the best work-life balance but this is improving on a daily basis with more firms understanding the value a healthy work-life balance adds to employee happiness. Progression Prospects Progression will depend entirely on the organisation and its structure. It can be possible to progress quickly within industry depending on your personal performance, as these companies do not have a rigid structure. However, progression within these companies is often very competitive! Teams tend to be smaller and while this is good in terms of extra responsibility, these teams typically do not offer a set career path and it is more difficult to stand out. On the other hand, a finance role in practice tends to offer a clear career progression path. This is particularly true when you get towards higher levels and there are targets to hit to move up in the company. The path for progression is very clear and structured into people’s careers, all the way up to Partner with equity in the firm, and CPD training and development is often a primary focus. Ease of Finding a New Opportunity If you are looking to move from practice into industry you will find yourself in a highly competitive market, particularly if you have trained in a smaller practice as you will be competing against Big 4 ACA qualified candidates, as well as industry-trained CIMA/ACCA candidates who will have more relevant experience in industry-specific roles. Therefore, it is often worth moving into a Big 4 or Top 10 firm to gain the experience and skills needed to open up a range of options for your next career step - whether this be a move into an industry role, a role at a smaller practice or SME, or remaining and progressing within a larger firm. Once you have chosen a route in industry it can be difficult to move sector or change your role type. For example, if your first move from practice to industry is within a Financial Accountant role, you will rarely be able to move within the same company to a Management Accountant role. It can also be challenging to move back into practice if you change your mind later down the line, particularly after a period of time longer than 12-18 months, as advances in the profession and working towards the new reporting standards would require a significant catch-up. However, within practice there is room for movement between different aspects of the business, offering variation and the chance to decide what type of role is best for you. Ultimately, your decision will come down to what type of work suits you and what you want from your career as a finance professional. If you are looking for a role within a company whose brand and household name excites you, then a role in industry may suit you. However, if you are looking for a client-facing role that offers autonomy and variation in your day-to-day responsibilities with a clearly defined career path, you should pursue a finance role in practice. For more information on this article, or for advice on your next career move into a finance role in practice, contact Jordanne on 020 7269 6353 or jordanne.napier@pro-finance.co.uk.

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Calls for a Job Retention Scheme in the Charity and Not-for-Profit sector

30 charity leaders have written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, requesting the need for a job-retention scheme for the Charity & Not-for-Profit Sector. Civil society leaders call for the Chancellor to reassess decisions to ensure communities are supported, and fund as the best way to recover from the pandemic. The letter highlighted that the sector faces a “critical dilemma” and calls for a tailored job retention programme. The coalition is led by the Charity Finance Group and backed by over thirty other UK organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, Association of Charitable Foundations, Acevo (the charity leaders’ body) and the Small Charities Coalition. They represent thousands of charities and social enterprises nationally across the UK. The request for a time-limited scheme that enables organisations in the sector to furlough staff and allow them to volunteer their time and skills back to their not-for-profit, public benefit employer has been raised by the group for the Chancellor’s consideration. The letter highlights that the sector faces a “critical dilemma” and calls for a tailored job retention programme. “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was an exceptionally generous scheme which was welcomed by the sector and which charities and social enterprises have availed themselves of during its first phase,” the letter states. “However, as a scheme designed predominantly with private enterprise in mind, it had the perverse effect of incentivising mothballing of provision and not mobilisation. It finishes with, “It is counterproductive to be paying for a charity or social enterprise employee to stop working when our citizens so desperately need helplines, advice, support and guidance; whether on mental health, unemployment, homelessness or loneliness and isolation.” From my perspective as a recruiter in the NFP and charities space, a delayed response for the need of support in the third sector space can be detrimental to charities delivering their services in these unprecedented times. It certainly is a ‘social dilemma’: Access the government’s job retention scheme to save on salary costs, and thereby closing or reducing vital services, or risk financial collapse. The sector is so well served by those giving their time and skills on a voluntary basis, and yet employees who often work in the sector because of the cause and wanting to make a difference are unable to do so if they want too. Whilst this rule was undoubtedly made to stop rogue employers abusing the scheme and employee’s rights; should the charity sector be different? I am interested in hearing your thoughts? Some have had the added cost of seeking short term, and part time interim flexible workers to help and we have certainly seen an increase in demand for part time and shorter term flexible interim workers. Please reach out on 020 7269 6351 or email me claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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The Unique Challenges and Rewards of Working in Charity HR

Neither employment law nor candidate’s needs and expectations change from sector to sector, yet working in an HR role for a charity does come with certain challenges specific to the charity and non-profit world. Despite the challenges that come along with HR work in the third sector, there are various rewards including work-life balance, autonomy in your role and job satisfaction which undoubtedly make charity HR a career path worth considering. Our specialist charity and Not-For-Profit recruiters have provided insight into the key challenges and rewards that come with working in a charity HR role. The Challenges of Charity HR Funding & Resourcing Priorities It is not surprising that funding is one of the key challenges faced by HR professionals in the charity sector. Charities are accountable to their funders and often need to be more transparent than private sector companies, and it is important to make beneficiaries feel confident that their donations are being spent wisely and the charity’s budget is being maximised. With Not-For-Profit organisations often under the spotlight about budget spend on administration and overheads, HR professionals can find themselves having to justify spending charity budget on systems or people-related initiatives. The spending of donations on every job advert, new product, training day or induction may need justifying, and getting the message across that HR initiatives are actually highly cost-effective and will deliver savings for the charity in the long run can be a challenge. Recruitment Some HR professionals find it very easy to fill vacancies within charities, often with people who are passionate about the cause and mission of the charity and who are keen to get involved and make a difference. However, recruiting within the third sector does come with its challenges. Frontline staff, particularly staff or volunteers working with vulnerable individuals or children need to be strictly vetted. Additionally, salaries are generally lower in the charity sector which makes recruiting the right people tricky when the best talent could get higher salaries elsewhere or in the corporate sector, particularly with back-office roles like finance, legal or marketing. The key to overcoming this challenge is to develop a creative approach which focuses on building the charity’s brand and cause and highlighting non-financial benefits like flexible working, good work-life balance, learning and development opportunities, and the chance to make a real contribution. Commercial Drive More and more charities are having to take a more commercial approach in their work and charging for services that may have been previously free. This can lead to unrest among employees, particularly if they feel these changes are counter to their values, and charity HR professionals can find themselves having to work hard to communicate the necessity for commerciality to staff members, to keep up staff morale. Ethical Issues There are pressures on charities to be more transparent than ever regarding their policies and practices. Charity HR staff are faced with the challenge of finding the right balance between fulfilling the charity’s aims and making difficult people-related decisions. In other words, balancing a fair, practical and consistent method for effectively managing employees without compromising the atmosphere of passionate care which is often at the heart of the working environments of many charities. It is also very important that HR policies reflect a charity’s mission. For example, a mental health charity should undoubtedly have an excellent internal support structure and resources available for employees, and a children’s charity should have flexible working opportunities and childcare available for working parents, and policies such as these will need to be drawn out and implemented by the charity’s HR department. The Rewards of Charity HR Making a Difference Many HR professionals who end up working in the third sector do so because they have a commitment or draw to a particular cause. But regardless of this, working for a non-profit organisation can provide a great sense of job satisfaction and a feeling of making a difference in society, and therefore employees are often people who are very passionate and value-driven - which only makes the day-to-day experience of a charity HR professional an enjoyable and fulfilling one as well. Autonomy & Progression As of October 2018, there were 168,186 registered charities in the UK, and the majority of these organisations aren't able to go out to an agency for HR - everything needs to be done in-house. This means that teams are smaller - you may have a team of 3 or 4 instead of a department of 20 in a larger organisation, which in turn means that an HR charity role involves wearing lots of different hats and taking on a generalist role as opposed to a role focusing on one specialist branch of HR. This grants you autonomy in your role, more opportunity to implement change, and the chance to broaden your experience and skill set as an HR professional, and you may find there is a shorter route to progress within the organisation. Other Benefits Charity roles can sometimes be overlooked by HR professionals but no longer is the charity sector seen as the ‘poor cousin’. In reality, third sector organisations can be equally exciting and fast-paced as the commercial sector and also come with benefits like a better work-life balance and the opportunity to utilise your HR skills and experience in an organisation that is contributing towards a cause you are passionate about. For more information on this article or to speak to our specialist recruitment consultants about your next HR role in the charity sector, contact Loren on 020 7269 6358 or loren@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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What to Expect When Joining the Big 4? "My Experience at PwC"

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 maisie.horrell@pro-tax.co.uk.

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Utilising Your Extra Time to Help Your Future Job Search

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 kate.green@pro-finance.co.uk

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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: 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 dominic.watt@pro-tax.co.uk.

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March 2020: Finance Movers and Shakers

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 callum.macrae@pro-finance.co.uk. Back to Finance Movers & Shakers Archive >>

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March 2020: Tax Movers and Shakers

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 rebecca.english@pro-tax.co.uk. Back to Tax Movers & Shakers Archive >>

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5 Top Tips for Interview Preparation While Working from Home

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 aaron.scott@pro-finance.co.uk.

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How Has COVID-19 Impacted the London Tax Job Market?

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 maisie.horrell@pro-tax.co.uk.

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Our Duty of Care as an Employer

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 months 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 our teams 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-Group, 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 tom.eagle@pro-finance.co.uk.

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What is Company Culture and What Impact Does it Have on your Business Model?

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 callum.macrae@pro-finance.co.uk.

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My New Routine - Working From Home

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 claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk.

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