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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.


5 Key Points: Pushing for Partner

By now, you’re probably at Director-grade, and have been for some time. You’ve been focused on your business and personal case and working towards the targets therein for a while. It’s been a career ambition to make Partner in your area of expertise; this could be the first time you’re going for it, or you may have been through the process before. Either way, there are five areas of your business which you need to focus on to make that all important step up. 1) Plan. It goes without saying, but it’s so often seen. One of the most important factors to becoming a Partner is knowing when you want to make it and how you’re going to get there. Be realistic; Partner is a prestigious title – one that most professionals take years to achieve. It is among the highest recognition of performance. Set yourself an achievable route. 2) Don't only play to your strengths. Part of planning is knowing your skill set; the areas which you’re good at and those which need work. Weaknesses are opportunities. Most people shy away from weaknesses; it’s less scary to remain in your comfort zone. But growth takes place when you’re uncomfortable – don’t be afraid of discomfort. Paying attention to the unfamiliar areas of your overall business case are the ones which will strengthen your Partner-case and increase the likelihood of success. Of course, continue to work on the areas you’re good at. “There’s always room for improvement”. 3) Network. But don’t only network. You should know that a large part of becoming a Partner is your “business case” - basically, your profitability. In order to build revenues, it’s a good idea to have a good pool of clients to promote your expertise to. A network which is willing to interact with you. However, while a broad network is important, it’s not the only area you should focus on. Far too many aspiring Partners place too much emphasis on networking rather than building long-standing, weather-bearing relationships. Genuine relationships allow the practice to cross-sell, which in turn promotes alternate services of the practice and improves your overall business case. 4) Specialise. It is essential that you’re able to identify market trends and be forward thinking about economic and technological cycles. Sectors with heavy or changing regulation require professionals with an up-to-date knowledge of those changes and how best to extract value for the practice. For example, the recent changes in VAT legislation surrounding MTD has seen some firms leapfrog others, just by being prepared and having innovative Partners. 5) Know what is out there. Being a Partner shouldn’t be a short-term commitment. The effort you’ll go through, the late nights and the potential disappointment all needs to be worth it. It is always advisable to explore Partner opportunities within other practices, for two reasons: a) It gives you something to compare to. You’ll get a taste for the Partnership structure and vision of your competition, which may be different to what you’d imagine b) It provides a back-up plan. Partner-track is a “slippery slope”. Running a Partner process side-by-side saves time but also provides an alternative if you’re let down by your preferred choice. Becoming a Partner is a long, testing and multi-faceted process, which is ultimately offered to those individuals who can demonstrate technical skills to win and advise on new deals and truly represent the values of the firm. If you are a Director, Executive Director or Associate Partner committed to becoming a Partner in accounting practice, contact Chris on 020 7269 6313 or for a discreet discussion on the market.


60 Seconds With: Matthew Rees, Group Head of Indirect Taxes at Schroders

Matthew Rees is the Group Head of Indirect Taxes with the FTSE100 asset manager, Schroders. A bright Oxford graduate, Matthew started his impressive career to date with PwC, where he trained for his CTA and progressed through the ranks in VAT for financial services businesses, all the way up to Head of Investment Management VAT prior to his current role. We sat with Matt to ask on key areas where someone of his standing may be able to offer career-insight, between experiences in practice and in-house, and what advice he might be able to provide – to himself and the next generation of tax professionals. How are things at Schroders? Schroders is a really pleasant place to work, and I don’t use the term ‘pleasant’ lightly. As you know, a significant portion of the shares remain owned by the Schroder family, which I think keeps a family-feel to the office – it’s a very collegiate environment. The culture totally revolves around treating staff well, and this is reflected in the tenures of those employed. Some of my colleagues have been at Schroders for 12, 15 and even 18 years, which speaks volumes. You made the transition in-house at a fairly senior level. How was the adjustment and what challenges did you face? I think the transition was both insightful and challenging. The good news is that I had progressed to a fairly senior level within PwC and had worked in a number of different teams. Through these various roles and rotations, I had developed decent soft skills, such as team management, which were largely transferrable to the in-house context. But the key transition is getting your head fully around the responsibility involved in-house, in terms of end-to-end process ownership and stakeholder management. It isn’t the easiest process but if you keep at it, the effort and hard work will definitely pay off. With these challenges in mind, what practical advice would you give to yourself if you could, when tackling these transition challenges previously? Great question. Practically, when making the first step from practice to in-house you simply must remain open-minded. You really don’t know what it will be like – closer to the lines of business and responsible for full delivery of projects – until you’re there. At the same time, it’s fundamentally important to keep hold of what you’ve learned in practice. Keeping fresh with the technical matters you’ve faced previously puts you in a good position to have ‘quick wins’ when in-house and this is where you have the opportunity to add value and build a profile. On a wider note, as I’ve developed in my role at Schroders, I’ve found it very helpful being a member of sector bodies: e.g. the EFAMA and IA VAT committees. I say this on three accounts; firstly, it’s good to give something back; secondly, it’s important to retain a network of peers with which you can share experiences, challenges and opportunities; and finally it requires you to keep your technical skill levels up – I enjoy the learning that comes, for instance, from delivering presentations on key topics to these groups. You have an impressive career to date and have progressed quickly amid this hyper-competitive climate. What do you do for downtime? I’d say the first thing that comes to mind is that the work-life balance in-house is significantly better than that you’ll find in the Big 4. And so this transition in itself allowed me to refocus my energy where it was most effective, once I’d got my head around the remit of responsibilities. I’ll never forget a mantra made by an ex-colleague at PwC – “nobody ever died from a lack of tax advice”. Your work needs to be engaging, but not all-consuming. Beyond this, sports have always been a huge passion and big outlet of mine – cricket, rugby or anything you can watch or play really. Also, my wife and I are big on travelling. I’m not a ‘by the beach’, relaxation type of character – being quite high energy means that even on holiday I’m out exploring and learning or trying to sneak out to watch a local match! What are your guilty pleasures? Love Island. Strictly Come Dancing. Made in Chelsea. A few members of the team are always first in the door, and I’ll admit during the peak TV season our early morning conversations could be a little more VAT focused. How would your team describe you? I’d like to think they’d describe me as a smart guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously but treats everyone honestly and fairly. What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation of VAT professionals face and what advice might you give? I remain amazed at the hyper-competitive nature of the world right now. I look back at the graduate interviews I used to host at PwC, and I was consistently astounded at the quality of candidates who walked through the door. The range of qualifications, grades, knowledge and abilities acquired at a very junior stage in their career was as humbling as it was impressive. It’s a bit of an arms race today in career advancement; you just need to keep at it and stay true to what you want to do. On this note, I’d equally suggest not being too narrow with aspirations – I look back to how focused I was at university on getting top grades and playing rugby and there were perhaps a lot more experiences I could have gained if I’d been a little more relaxed. We’re doing a blog series currently on interview preparation, drawing on the common shortfalls and practical advice. Where do you see candidates falling short in interviews, and what advice would you give here? As you know, we are lucky enough to have very good applicants at Schroders, which makes the interview process much easier. Beyond this, I note that 75%+ of the candidates I have seen have the skills to do the job, so when it gets to the interview stage, it really comes down to displaying a personality and seeing where you best fit in. There is obviously some basic homework that everyone should undertake in preparation for interview – Google is your friend – but the key message I would have it to be yourself and try to make a personal connection with the interviewer. After all, you are going to be spending a lot of your life with your colleagues! For more information about this article, or to speak to Jay about your recruiting needs or In-House Tax opportunities in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696343 or


May 2019: Tax Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the tax sector. Here are the key movements in May 2019: PRACTICE LONDON AND CITY Kingston Smith has announced a number of Partner promotions including those in tax; Ruth Brennan and Ryan Day. Brennan delivers corporate tax services to a broad range of clients including owner-managed, listed and private equity-backed businesses in the UK and internationally. Day is a member of the general practice team, where he provides the full range of audit, accounting, tax and advisory services. Kingston Smith has joined Moore Stephens International, a global accounting and advisory network, effective from 1st May 2019. Smith & Williamson has announced that it is set to move to its London office from its current base at 25 Moorgate to 40 Gresham Street during the course of the summer of 2022. Saffery Champness has appointed Pete Hackleton as Head of the Sports & Entertainment Practice group. Hackleton, a chartered tax adviser, has been a partner at Saffery Champness since 2012 and his clients include international and national sport governing bodies, clubs, major venues, rights holders, other sports businesses and individuals. Ernst & Young (EY) has appointed Julie Teigland as the area managing partner for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) with effect from 1st July 2019. She is currently the regional managing partner for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Cameron Baum has announced that with effect from 1st May 2019 it is now Cameron Baum Hollander. Blick Rothenberg has announced that Sean Randall, a highly regarded stamp duty specialist, has joined the firm. Randall comes with near 20 years experience, the last 5 within a Big 4. NORTH WEST Baldwins has acquired Montpelier Chartered Accountants, a firm based in Preston. With effect from 1st April 2019, Hall Livesey Brown’s Chester office, which has been led by partner Charles Parsons since 1986, merged with MD Coxey & Co and now trades under the new name of Coxeys. BDO Manchester has appointed Liam O’Doherty as Tax Partner. O’Doherty joins from PwC where he was a Director and specialises largely within the real estate sector. SOUTH WEST BDO Bristol welcomes Matthew Sewell as a Tax Partner to provide tax services to fast-growing and multinational businesses in the South West, focusing on international tax services and supporting in-house finance and tax functions. He was formerly a tax partner at RSM. OVERSEAS BDO Ireland has appointed Warren Novis to lead the firm’s growing transfer pricing practice. He joined in April 2019 bringing 15 years’ experience as an in-house expert and as an advisor. He joins from Aptiv PLC (formerly Delphi Automotive). COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY Apex Group welcomes Peter Bellini as Senior Vice President. He joins from Eurostar. Lebara has appointed Jane Jia as their Head of Tax, having previously been Senior Tax Manager at Ernest & Young (EY). Cognizant has announced that they have promoted James Yu. Formerly Vice President of Tax, he is now SVP Tax & Treasurer. 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 02072696321 or


12 Tips to Become a Successful Recruiter

As a recruiter, it's your job to get the best talent through the door and provide your company or client with the right candidates who will make an impact. While each recruiter has different specific strengths, there are numerous commonalities among effective recruiters. Becoming a great recruiter takes skill, intuition and lots of practice, and our recruitment experts here at Pro have put together 12 Top Tips on becoming and remaining a successful recruiter. So, what makes a good recruiter? 1. Answer/return the call The most successful recruiters will always get back to people whether it is good or bad news and offer full feedback, or even just a quick update call. Don’t be that ever-elusive recruiter who doesn’t get back to their candidates or clients! If you went for a job and no one got back to you, even if you were not successful, would you be happy with this? 2. Make the most of your day Recruiting is like juggling plates. You will have business development calls, candidate calls, interviews, meetings, adverts, applications and emails amongst a barrage of incoming calls. Plan your day to make sure you hit your targets and deadlines, even when you find one situation takes up most of your afternoon unexpectedly! 3. Network Building your network of both existing and potential clients and candidates is key. Keeping in regular contact with active job seekers and clients you have placed with will keep you fresh in their minds to come back to. Attending industry events and lunches, alongside social networking are all effective ways to increase your means of generating the best candidates. 4. Build your personal brand Make sure you are delivering the best service to both clients and candidates alike! When you are generating business from a referral or placing candidates because you have been recommended, you know what you are doing is working! If you do a fantastic job, that candidate you placed last year will remember your excellent service and when they are recruiting for their own team, you will be the person they think of to contact. 5. Listen As a recruiter, you need to listen to both your clients and candidates alike to ensure that you fully understand every detail of what that individual wants. Just because you have recruited for a similar role for a competitor, both the role and what another client wants from a candidate will not necessarily be the same. The same goes for your candidates - understanding their wants, needs and goals will help you to match them to their perfect opportunity. 6. Drive and Determination To be a successful recruiter you need the drive and determination to succeed. You will need to pick up the phone to make cold calls, call candidates, headhunt the passive market and be proactive in your approach. 7. Never stop learning Making sure you are up to date with your knowledge and methods of working will help you stay ahead of your game. As an industry, recruitment is always changing and developing. Trends in the markets change, and tools and techniques are ever evolving. It’s hard to imagine a time without LinkedIn and social media as a recruitment tool; yet not that long ago it was unknown. The way clients are now recruiting is also changing to suit their needs, especially as we are now in such a buoyant market. 8. Ask questions Every successful recruiter has managed to hone their questioning skills to ensure they are finding out more than their competitors and able to make the best matches. Ask the right questions and don’t be afraid to dig deeper to clarify the answers. Knowledge is power in recruitment. 9. Have a thick skin There is a lot of rejection, and some days you may not get the results you want. The important thing is to be able to bounce back, keep positive and stay persistent. If you continue to be proactive you will be a huge success! 10. Think outside the box The most successful recruiters show entrepreneurialism and innovation in the ways they can source and fill vacancies. There is a lot of competition out there from thousands of other agencies. Make sure you are finding new and clever ways to work with clients and candidates alike and show you are different and why. Don’t be afraid to change the way you work because you are comfortable with your processes. 11. Work as a team There is a wealth of knowledge and skills across your business. Work alongside successful recruiters and you will pick up tips and styles to help you improve. Even the most seasoned recruiter can learn from a junior member of the team, and sharing knowledge and best practices will widen your skill set to ensure you are a top performer. 12. Know your market If you work in a specialised vertical sector then make sure you are up to date with industry news and market knowledge - to be the best recruiter you need to know your market inside-out! Here at Pro-Recruitment Group, our teams specialise in Tax, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing recruitment. Each team prides themselves in being market specialists, who research and learn every day from a wide range of resources available to them. We hold events within these specialised areas to network with professionals and ensure our teams are up to date with their knowledge. We also source Consultants who have worked in these industries previously and so have hands-on experience within their sector, including Solicitors, Partners of Law Firms, Tax Seniors and Accountants. As a company, we are in a period of growth. If you are interested in becoming a market specialist and developing your career with Pro-Recruitment Group, contact our Head of Talent Loren on 020 7269 6358 or


April 2019: Tax Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the tax sector. Here are the key movements in April 2019: PRACTICE LONDON AND CITY Partners Grant Thornton has appointed two new Tax Partners in its real estate practice: Matt Maltz, who comes across from EY with 26 years’ experience and Jessica Patel who has been promoted up through the ranks since joining the firm as a trainee in 2003. MHA MacIntyre Hudson has adopted the Baker Tilly International brand identity. It has been a member of the network since 2014. Armstrong Watson has appointed Becky Bowness as a Corporate Tax Partner who joins from PwC where she spent the last six years in the London international and M&A tax teams. Saffery Champness has made a number of Tax Partner promotions with effect from 1st April 2019, including Robert Mace, Barbara Marchant and Lucy Woodward in London. Mace joined Safferys in 2004 as a trainee in the London office. He is a chartered Tax Adviser with a client base that includes high net worth individuals, their families and their businesses and has a specialism in the taxation of cryptoassets. Marchant is a chartered Tax Adviser and STEP member who is experienced in advising individuals, trustees and beneficiaries, based both in the UK and abroad, in relation to UK tax, succession and estate planning. Woodward who is a chartered Tax Advisor began her career at Critchleys before joining Safferys in 2009. Wilson Wright has announced the appointment of two new Partners, Emma Brown and Tom Tesfay with effect from 1st April 2019. Brown who joined the firm in 2014 is a chartered Tax Advisor and has been promoted from her role as Tax Director at the firm, where she assisted clients with a range of tax planning and advisory matters. Tesfay is a chartered accountant who works with a wide variety of clients assisting them with their audit, accountancy and corporate tax requirements. SOUTH EAST Partners Saffery Champness has promoted Andrew Watkinson in High Wycombe. Watkinson trained and qualified at Saffery Champness in High Wycombe. He supports a wide range of commercial clients, individuals and not for- profits providing advice on audit, accounting and tax matters, as well as business and financial planning. RSM has appointed Paul Dearsley as Chelmsford office Managing Partner. Dearsley joined RSM as a Partner in 2018 and has previously worked at Grant Thornton and Price Bailey. The Kent offices of MHA MacIntyre Hudson have completed a deal to merge with Percy Gore & Co based in Margate. Percy Gore & Co will relocate to the MHA MacIntyre Hudson offices in New Dover Road, Canterbury. SOUTH WEST Partners RSM Swindon has promoted to Partner Zoe Martin (private client/tax) in Swindon. Saffery Champness has promoted David Sedgwick in Bristol. Sedgwick who manages a diverse client base comprising landed estates & agribusinesses, owner managed businesses and high net worth individuals joined the Bristol office in 2008 and qualified as a chartered certified accountant and subsequently as a chartered Tax Adviser. PKF Francis Clark has promoted Sonia Fisher to Business Services Partner in the Exeter office. Fisher joined PKF Francis Clark in 2001 provides accountancy and taxation advice to owner managed businesses, specialising in the agriculture and food and drink sectors and also specialist advice to the legal sector. MIDLANDS AND THE EAST Partners Saffery Champness has promoted Simon Hall in Peterborough. Hall, chartered Tax Advisor, works with a variety of commercial clients, including privately owned businesses, international groups, professional partnerships and not-for-profit organisations, advising on audit, accounting and tax matters. Rawlinsons, based in Peterborough, has rebranded as Baldwins. Rawlinsons joined the group in 2018. PEM has promoted Mary Shoesmith to Partner in the private client team. Shoesmith, joined PEM in 2015 and provides compliance and tax advice to individuals and trustees specialising in inheritance tax planning, capital gains tax planning and residency issues. With effect from 9th April 2019, Larking Gowen has taken on the MHA branding to become MHA Larking Gowen. Senior Appointments EY has appointed Gurbinder Mattoo as a Director in the Private Client Services Team in the Midlands. Duncan & Toplis has elected a new member to its management board, Mark Taylor. Taylor also represents Duncan & Toplis on international tax matters as part of Kreston International. NORTH WEST Partners RSM has promoted to Partner Rowena Clifton (VAT) and Martin Cooper (reward and incentives/tax) in Manchester. Saffery Champness in Manchester has promoted with effect from 1st April 2019, Martyn Dobinson. Dobinson, a chartered accountant and chartered Tax Adviser, is a landed estates, farming and agribusiness specialist. Senior Appointments PKF Francis Clark has appointed three new Directors in the Exeter office. Rebecca Seeley Harris joins the firm as a Director in the Employer Solutions Team, Jane Logan becomes Landed Estates Director with over 20 years’ experience in tax. YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER Partners UHY Calvert Smith has formally merged with Hare & Co located in York. The merged practice is set to be relocated into one office and will comprise of 34 staff, including six Partners. Linda Hare, who founded Hare & Co in 2003 and has over 20 years’ experience, will become one of the six Partners along with Gareth Burrow who was promoted to Partner on 1 April 2019. SCOTLAND Partners EQ Accountants has promoted three Managers, who all undertook their training with the firm, to Principal Managers. Rachel Bell, who specialises in corporate and R&D taxation, now heads up the transaction tax group. Scott Greig, who qualified in 2012 joins the agriculture team; and Robert Young, who joined the Forfar in 2003, and leads the private client tax group. OFFSHORE Partners Saffery Champness has acquired Grant Thornton Ireland’s media & under the deal, the team of 11 people, headed up by John Gleeson, will join Saffery Champness with effect from 8th April 2019 operating from Saffery Champness’ new Irish office located at 99 St Stephen’s Green in central Dublin. Gleeson has over 20 years’ commercial experience in providing tax advice and advisory services, with a particular focus on the media and entertainment sector in Ireland and abroad. COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY Iftakhar Khan has joined DWF from Lucite International as Head of Tax. William Fox is now Director of Treasury, Tax and Insurance at Wincanton, having previously been Head of Financial Projects for the business Eddie Mesquitta is now Group Tax Director at Elekta. He was promoted from his position as Group Tax Manager. 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 02072696321 or


Never Underestimate The Influence Of Company Culture on Staff Attraction

Due to the competitive nature of the market, high-quality candidates are often presented with four or five offers of employment for their next position. As a result, clients are constantly asking my advice on how to attract and retain the best talent out there! Whilst excellent rates of pay and opportunities for progression are two of the most obvious ways to attract the right team members, there are various other more subtle and engaging ways to maximise your staffing potential. According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. With that being said, below we will explore some creative ways to motivate and reward your employees when they go above and beyond. Not to mention ways to create a company culture that'll be the envy of your competitors and attract the top talent in the market! So what can your company do to attract and retain staff? Social functions We spend between eight and ten hours a day with our work colleagues so having positive relationships is important for both productivity, employee relations and staff morale. Having regular social functions strengthens these bonds and leaves your staff looking forward to going to work! It is also beneficial to break down some of the hierarchal barriers that can unconsciously arise in a formal office environment. Extra holiday allowance for charity and community work Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a key areas of focus across various industries in the past year and what better way to engage with your team than support them in causes close to their own heart. Deloitte found that 76% of Millennials now regard business as a force for positive social impact. Whilst CSR benefits the employee directly they will feel that you as the employer see them as more than a body on a chair and are aligned with their motivations and ideologies. Flexible lifestyles need flexible working A common market misconception is that flexible working means an hour either side of rigid core hours in one location. In fact, flexible working is so much more than this, due in part to technological advances. According to a survey conducted by PowWowNow, 67% of employees polled wish they were offered flexible working. On top of that, 58% of people believed that working away from the office would help them become more motivated. Several of my key clients have implemented flexible locations whether this is working from home, regional offices or WeWork spaces. If you are reactive to your employees’ needs, chances are they will be appreciative. Let staff chose their own benefits and incentives Not every employee is the same and every individual will have key drivers as to what would make them feel rewarded. By allowing employees to have an input in their own personalised incentive scheme you again reinforce that you are a people focused company. Whether this is additional time off, financial reward or something more tangible such as a bottle of wine or meal with a loved one, allowing them to chose can really pay off. These are just some of the ideas that we at Pro-Recruitment Group have suggested to clients, which have been implemented across several offices. If you feel that your company does not value you as an employee, or indeed you are an employer looking to attract and retain the best staff in the market, please do get in contact with our industry experts! For more information about this article, or to speak to Callum about your recruiting needs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 020 7269 6369 or


10 Things You Didn't Know About: Ed Nevens, Partner at BDO

Ed is a partner in BDO's London tax team focused on private equity funds and their investors. Typical examples of Ed's advice include structuring private equity funds, their management and advisory functions and also fund executive co-investment and carried interest arrangements. What three traits define you? Collaborative, focused and enthusiastic. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had? I used to play a lot of music whilst I was in university (mostly guitar in various bands around London) but I’m not sure it qualifies as a job! How do you define success? Helping clients and the team succeed - for me it is all about seeing happy clients get the solutions that work for them and a happy team that is learning and developing. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? Something where I could create things and try to help people develop – given my mathematical background I’d most likely I’d be developing new maths, science or technology. What is your personal philosophy? Take people with you and share what you learn – the collective effects of a collaborative team where everyone can contribute and share ideas never ceases to amaze me. How do you start your day? Slowly – I’m more of a night owl so I’m not great in the mornings! What’s your favourite thing about working for your current company? I think the culture at BDO is fantastic. Whether I’m talking to the leadership, the client team or the support staff I find everyone listens, helps each other and works collaboratively with lots of good humour. I like being in an environment where everybody wants each other to succeed. What are the secrets to good leadership? I think having a vision and allowing people to be part of it and make their contribution. We are lucky in that our industry attracts very bright people at all levels and roles who really want to make an impact and achieve something. I think the best leaders identify this and are generous and trusting in letting others help them work towards their goals and be part of the success. What makes your company unique? Following our recent merger BDO is the largest UK accounting firm focused on advising entrepreneurial businesses. I think the firm really understands and embraces the entrepreneurial spirit and culture of our clients whether they are companies, individuals or owner-managed businesses like professional practices and private equity houses and the clients really respond to it. Who do you most admire in your industry? It has to be David Marks who recently retired from Apax Partners – a leading tax advisor in private equity whom I admire greatly. Regardless of the issue, he is the kind of tax person you would want in your boardroom if you needed advice on something really difficult or complex. He would advise you in plain English, make it all seem surprisingly simple and straightforward (despite it being hellishly complicated) and have a bit of time left over to chat afterwards. A model for us all to aspire to! 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


HMRC to make the most out of Making Tax Digital

What image does HMRC’s office conjure up to you? Do you see a drab and dreary office where the cracks of light are blocked out by sky-high paper towers of forms with hurried scrawling etched in desperation of making the latest deadline? That is all changing! HMRC plan to become a ‘world leading digital tax authority’! This is somewhat a contrast to their staid and bureaucratic approach that we have come to know and expect since they were founded in 2005. In fact, this shiny new initiative is just the latest step along the road to becoming a fully digital 21st century government department with digital income tax reporting being run out in April 2020. It is somewhat ludicrous when you stop and consider that we live in an age where in a couple of clicks (even less with face ID) you and your business can bank from your phone, claim expenses through an app or even book and manage business trips at a glance; and yet this fast-paced business world we all play in can be brought to a thunderous halt as we stop and scale through those mountains of paperwork and crumpled receipts, scratching our heads at complex regulations just to file a VAT return. What is the Making Tax Digital initiative? As of Monday 1st April 2019, we became fully cemented into the digital era. VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000 will now be required to use the Making Tax Digital service to keep records digitally and use competitive software to submit their VAT returns for VAT periods that started on or after 1st April 2019. There is no doubt that stepping into this digital-first world will make managing business finances much more straightforward and streamlined. Research has highlighted that 16% of SME’s use a shoebox to store receipts and tax details, 23% use manual bookkeeping, and 27% use spreadsheet, whilst only a third use tax digital software. This will be changing the way that the cumbersome tax system as we know it works and in doing so, it becomes more efficient, more effective and, perhaps most importantly, more transparent. Avoidable mistakes cost the Exchequer over £9billion every year. With the addition of the correct accounting software there will almost instantly be increased accuracy and accessibility which will not only eliminate this eye-watering total, but also reduce the risk of further (time and money) costly HMRC interventions; allowing businesses to fluently share these records with their third parties in real time without frantic searching for those lost receipts, handwritten errors or mistaken translations, and allowing you to do what you do best with your business. For more information about this article, or to speak to Rebecca about your recruiting needs or Tax jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her at


March 2019: Tax Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the tax sector. Here are the key movements in March 2019: PRACTICE LONDON AND CITY Partners EY has appointed Andy Baldwin as the next EY global managing partner – client service, effective from 1st July 2019; leading the go-to-market and client activities. Baldwin succeedsCarmine Di Sibio, who will now become the next EY global chairman and CEO on 1st July 2019. Cooper Parry has taken on a new workspace in London, based at WeWork in Moor Place. Wilkins Kennedy has appointed Phil Clark (ex-Moore Stephens) who brings with him more than 35 years’ accountancy experience to head up the arts and media team based in London. Wilkins Kennedy have also moved its London office location to Regis House, 45 King William Street, EC4R 9AN. Hentons has merged with C.C.Panayi & Co LLP, specialists in the entertainment sector, to form Hentons Panayi, based in Camden Town. Senior Appointments Grunberg & Co has appointed Rohan Mehra as a trainee in the tax team, who has a background in electronic engineering. SOUTH WEST Senior Appointments Baldwins has appointed Richard Clutterbuck as an Employment Tax director in the South Molton office. Meanwhile, senior managers Sean Smith, Pete McMillan and Russell Frayne have all been promoted to Associate Director in the South Molton office. Baldwins has promoted Ben Sharland from office manager to Associate Director in the Tavistock office. MIDLANDS AND THE EAST Partners KPMG has appointed Peter Workman from PwC as a partner in the firm’s legal services hub in the Midlands. He joins to lead a team of nine business structuring and transactions lawyers in the Midlands specialising in domestic and cross-border group reorganisations and business structuring activity as well as M&A and transactions. CFW Chartered Accountants has promoted Kim Parry to equity partner who specialises in audit, company formations, new business start-ups and trust taxation. NORTH WEST Senior Appointments MHA Moore and Smalley has announced the appointment of Sue Buckingham as a tax specialist in the private client team based in Preston. YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER Partners Garbutt & Elliott has recruited Becky Maguire as a business tax partner from PwC to lead the delivery of tax services to businesses ranging from owner managed to the largest listed companies throughout the region. Naylor Wintersgill has opened an office in Leeds based on Park Row. OFFSHORE Senior Appointments PwC Channel Islands has announced that Charlotte Beattie has re-joined PwC in a senior management role in tax, based in Guernsey providing UK and international tax advice to businesses and leading restructuring projects with a recent focus in leading Brexit tax projects for financial services businesses and the Fintech sector. Gerlind Smith also joins PwC Jersey as Human Capital Director from Johannesburg. Alvarez & Marsal has appointed Yvette Chan to Managing Director, based in Hong Kong, to lead the Asia M&A tax advisory practice. Prior to joining A&M, Chan was with KPMG in London and Hong Kong, where she most recently served as a partner in the M&A tax team in the Hong Kong office. Meanwhile, Richard Chen in Singapore and Colin Gater in Hong Kong have been promoted to managing director. COMMERCE & INDUSTRY McDermott has joined Monzo Bank from Smith & Nephew as Head of Tax. Caroline Hlahla has joined SoftBank Investment Advisers from Electra Private Equity, she is now VP Global Tax. Hilton have appointed Chris Thurston, who joins from Mothercare, as UK Tax Director. 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 02072696321 or


Tax Managers – When is a good time to move In-House?

Is there a 'right' time in your career to move from Practice to in-house? As a Tax Manager in Practice you may be considering a move in-house, but when is the best point in your tax career to do this - is the option always there or does the move in-house have an expiry date? The age-old myth would tell us that someone from Practice can move in-house at any point in their career. In fact, this may well have been true a few years back. In 2011, for example, we saw Tax professionals at all levels - Assistant Managers, Managers, Senior Managers and Directors - move in-house. Here at Pro, we even identified some Tax Partners moving in-house. Alas, it's 2019 and the market has changed. No longer can you move in-house at any point in your career. The ripest time to move in-house is either upon qualification or whilst you are still a Manager or (junior) Senior Manager in Practice. As a seasoned Senior Tax Manager in Practice, you will most likely find yourself at a crossroads - you are either being pushed to do Business Development (which is not necessarily the reason you got into tax) or you are being targeted within an inch of your life to hit certain targets to get to Director. Some people think this is the prime point to jump in-house. However, the reality is quite the opposite. As expert recruiters for the tax market, the honest answer is: you are an expensive resource for someone who has no proven in-house exposure, compared to those who have 2-3 years’ experience in-house and are at the same level as you. You may well be put forward for roles and if you know the Head of Tax, you may find you get an interview, but chances are that when the CFO and CEO sign off business cases and meet you for a final interview, the person with the in-house experience may have the edge when it comes to the hiring decision. Don’t get us wrong, it's not impossible to move if you are at this level, it’s just much more difficult and you may be waiting a while for an opportunity to arise. As a Director or Partner, it is rare that you will find an appropriate opportunity to enter an in-house role (unless you are seconded to the business for being a great asset in everything you have done for them already). The number of roles at this level are undoubtedly slowing down and the competition is rife, so someone who is already a Head of Tax will have the edge over someone who is straight from Practice. There is also a big disconnect between the average Head of Tax remuneration and that of a Big 4 or Top 20 Partner, who are too expensive to make the switch (unless of course, they are willing to take a hefty pay cut). So when is the best time to move in-house? So, in essence, the best time to move in-house, in my opinion, is between 1 – 5 years PQE as this is a prime spot for those who are still willing to learn, are still keen to soak up information and those whose salary hasn’t reached a level where you price yourself out of the market compared to those with industry experience who will most likely be on less money than you as a basic salary. Fancy a move in-house? For more information on this article or for in-house Tax jobs in London or Nationwide, contact Alison on 020 7269 6312 or


7 Steps To Getting A Promotion In Your Legal Career

Do you think it’s time for your promotion? The thing to note about career progression is that you’ll need more than simply the correct experience. Knowing what else you need to address with your employer, as well as how to bring the issue up, can be the key to getting your desired outcome from the conversation. Here are 7 handy steps you can take to get the promotion you’re after to propel your legal career. 1. Ask your employer The first thing to do is make sure you’ve stated your aspirations to your manager in clear terms. Set up a meeting with the appropriate authority to talk about your career, and the direction you’d like to take it in. Make clear how you see yourself progressing, and offer an ideal timeframe. Letting your employer know what your goals are may further incline them to move you up when the opportunity arises. An ideal conversation would also expose you to the opportunities currently available within your organisation. This should help you plan your next move. Generally, higher positions will involve greater freedom and autonomy, but also greater responsibility. You can’t go wrong by requesting greater responsibilities. Signalling a wish to do more important work should make your intentions clear in a non-obtrusive way. The old saying goes: ask and you shall receive. The first step, then, is to ask. 2. Sell yourself If asking alone got us the results we wanted, we would all be living out fully idealised lives. You need to do more than just ask – you need to display your credentials. Take notes of the work you’ve done to help your firm reach its strategic goals. Keep these achievements in a log, and make them prominent during your meeting with your manager. Beware: stating that you simply deserve to be moved up is by itself not a good tactic. Showing why you’re an important asset to the firm is better. Basically, you need to quantify your results. You might even show them some of your lesser-known accomplishments. Try to promote yourself in a way that also casts your colleagues in a better light. 3. Acquire additional skills Often, your current experience may not cover the requirements for a promoted position. Some positions you would like may require additional qualifications or skills, required even for internal applicants. Find out what these requirements are and take matters into your own hands by acquiring them. As technological skills change rapidly, you need an ever-increasing skill set to keep up and stay ahead of the game. Spending extra time to learn new things for a role you want is almost always worth it. If for some reason you miss the promotion, you’ll still have gained a new skill to add to your CV, which will help you if you choose to seek a new job. 4. Move sideways Instead of keeping your eyes on the role above you, perhaps try looking to the side. Sometimes a movement to a different but related niche or a different role at your same level may be a more lucrative career move. Not every promotion involves a direct movement upwards. This is especially useful in cases where someone directly above you is blocking your progression. Trying new responsibilities may even come with a pay rise or more flexible hours. You’ll gain new skills and expand your portfolio, which better equips you for when it’s time to move up. 5. Start asking questions Building a strong team allows managers to outsource expertise to their employees. As an employee, you should ask your questions to demonstrate your own value. There’s no creed that dictates employees must agree unequivocally with everything managers say. At times, it’s better to be inquisitive. But there has to be a balance: interested is not the same as irritating. Learn how to inquire with integrity, with the correct backup, and when to continue. 6. Realise your shortcomings It’s easy to take credit when things go well. Showing that you’re able to take blame when things go wrong, however, is a greater display of responsibility. It’s generally nicer to admit to your own failures and work on them, rather than hear about them from someone else. When things aren’t running smoothly, communicate this with your manager in a professional manner. The next step is to make clear how you’ll improve the situation, and show willingness to tackle it. Promotions are about accountability just as much as pay rises. Prove your accountability and maturity, and the rewards will come. 7. Keep working hard Amidst all this, it’s important to keep a cool head and remain focused on the work you’ve been currently delegated. Taking time to consider greater goals and larger-scale projects is useful, but not at the expense of your day job! Promotions are rarely certain. If you struggle with your current work, you’ll have a harder time convincing those above you that you’re suited for more senior responsibilities. If you feel like you’re stuck in a position with no progression, the industry experts here at Pro-Legal can help you find your next career move. For more information on this article, or for Legal jobs in London or Nationwide, contact Nick on 020 7269 6328 or


February 2019: Tax Movers and Shakers

Stay up-to-date with the movers and shakers in the tax sector. Here are the key movements in February: PRACTICE LONDON AND CITY Partners Ernst & Young (EY) has announced the appointment of Barbara Angus, based in Washington DC, to the role of EY Global Tax Policy leader. KPMG has appointed Howard Wiener as Principal In Charge, US tax London. MHA MacIntyre Hudson has appointed Batanayi Katongera as a transfer pricing partner based in London, previously at law firm Macfarlanes. Streets has appointed Gerry Myton as a Partner and Head of Indirect Tax. Myton began with HM Revenue & Customs and has held senior positions within the Top 20 – he was a VAT partner at Grant Thornton, PKF and MHA MacIntyre Hudson. Streets has also appointed Brian Mulholland as a Partner to head up its international tax offering. Senior Appointments Alvarez & Marsal Tax and UK LLP have launched an R&D credits service line appointing David Byrne (ex Deloitte) as Senior Director to lead. Streets has appointed Leo Donovan as a senior VAT Manager and Christina Forson as a VAT consultant. SOUTH WEST Partners Allison Beer has joined Bishop Fleming as a Corporate & Business Services Partner in the Truro office. MIDLANDS AND THE EAST Senior Appointments Christopher Marjoram has joined the transaction tax team at Ernst & Young (EY) as an Associate Partner based in Birmingham. NORTH WEST Senior Appointments Baldwins has promoted Jenny Pape from senior manager to Tax Director in the Lancaster office. COMMERCE, INDUSTRY, BUSINESS MIDLANDS AND THE EAST Board - Other Director Indeed has promoted Brian Farrell (ex Deloitte Ireland) to VP Global Tax. Farrell, who has been withIndeed since 2016, was previously Senior Director of Global Tax. ACADEMIA, GOVERNMENT, NGOs, CHARITIES, PUBLIC AND PROFESSIONAL The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has announced its team of officers for 2019-20. Current CIOT Deputy President Glyn Fullelove will be President, with Peter Rayney (ex BDO Partner) the Deputy President and Susan Ball (Partner at Crowe) Vice-President. 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 02072696321 or


Women in Tax – An Inspiration to Men and Women Worldwide

As a recruiter specialising in Tax recruitment, it is important that I observe the market trends and monitor the supply of skilled tax professionals in order to educate my clients when supporting their recruitment needs. When discussing the specific details about my client’s teams and asking why quality candidates should consider working for them, I am specifically intrigued to learn about the career development opportunities and previous ‘success stories’ within the firm, in order to inspire the candidates that I am working with and ensure my client is potentially the right future employer for my candidates. In this month’s Orange Top, I am discussing female professionals within the tax industry as Women in Tax highlights that “top women leaders are making strides in a field traditionally viewed as male-dominated”. A few examples of women who have progressed their careers in the tax industry include: Heather Miller, is Senior Tax Manager at TWP Accounting, prior to joining, she was the Head of Private Client Tax at Price Bailey, having gained extensive experience working at a start-up private client tax boutique, running her own consultancy and most recently with Magic Circle law firm Clifford Chance. Joanna Santinon joined EY 19 years ago and is a Tax Partner who leads a successful part of the UK tax practice in London. In addition, Joanne founded the EY FTSE Women's Network and won the Accountancy Category for the 2013 Women in the City Woman of Achievement Award. Jean Stephens runs RSM International and has been working there for 21 years, which includes 11 years working as Chief Executive. HERE is an inspirational article Jean has written to highlight the secrets of her success: What can we learn from these success stories? It is important for women embarking on a tax career to know that they can reach the top of their profession and employers should encourage this, Deloitte states that “Employers need to understand that gender equality creates the potential for better, more informed decision-making in our societies, an educated and diverse source of talent”. Gender equality means that women are also able to inspire both men and other women, the next generation and act as role models within the tax industry. For more information about this article, or to speak to Alison about your recruiting needs or Tax jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 02072696312 or


Technology - the Future Partner in Your Tax Matters?

Are you a Tax Manager or Tax Director seeking to streamline and manage your tax function through the use of technology? With almost daily advancements in technology, it is an exciting time for the Taxation industry. Yet digital disruption needs to be carefully analysed, while it provides many solutions to long-standing issues it also throws many new challenges. As a Tax Recruiter, a crucial part of my role is to observe the current trends in the market and be aware of the factors which will ‘shake up’ the tax industry and its demand for talent. This article looks to bring to light some of the Tax industry's most innovative ideas and predictions and how they'll affect your company, career and the demand for skills and future talent within the industry. PwC has stated that technology is one of its ‘mega-trends’, and emphasises that “successful companies must find ways to bridge the gap between their current capabilities and the future reality.” While Tim Steel from EY confirms that “Digital technology transformation is the single biggest disruptor in the tax profession”. But how is tax technology being implemented by business? One of the best examples of tax technology implementation has to be HMRC. Their Making Tax Digital campaign is part of the governments plan to make it easier for smaller businesses and individuals to stay on top of their tax affairs. HMRC have lofty ambitions to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. With tight resource constraints, the need to streamline and improve efficiency has facilitated rapid growth of their technological offering. HMRC has exploited new digital technologies meaning all of the UK’s smaller businesses and individuals will have access to their own digital tax account. For example, with over 9% of UK households owning a voice-based technology device and the expectation that this will increase to 40% by the end of this year HMRC are trialing ways in which they can use devices such as Alexa to engage customers. Whilst this may seem trivial on the face of things, the aim is to reduce the need for customers to contact call centres. Predictions and Breakthroughs PwC predicts that “more companies will use their enterprise-wide financial systems to prepare tax calculations (e.g. income tax accounting and indirect taxes), thereby replacing spreadsheets and/or traditional tax technology solutions.” In addition, “the majority of tax functions will rely on professional data analysis tools to assist in the decision-making process in areas such as risk detection, planning and overall business support.” With more technological breakthroughs emerging, a successful tax professional will need to focus more on the utilisation of data and technology and companies will be required to re-evaluate their current talent needs against these additional capabilities. Training requirements With technology rapidly shifting the remit of tax functions, it is imperative that any tax professional looking to future-proof their future takes the opportunity to embrace technology. Take advantage of training programmes offered by employers to remain current in the market. Whether you attend seminars, courses or have a professional mentor, look to advance your understanding of how tax and technology can work together and how this can positively impact your current/future firm. Recruitment During the recruitment process is it important for companies to question the candidate’s skillset to ensure that they meet the growing demand within tax technology. Do candidates have a solid knowledge of technological trends and how the tax technology landscape is shifting? Candidates should be able to demonstrate their knowledge of tax technological compliance and the implementation of new systems. These skills have become highly sought after by companies as the industry becomes increasingly reliant on tax technology. Cybersecurity issues According to a UK Government study, over four in ten of all UK businesses suffered a breach or attack in the past 12 months. Whilst firms are ushering in the use of artificial intelligence to streamline their process, hackers are also deploying their own versions of AI to achieve their own unethical end goals. Measures such as the Government backed, industry-supported Cyber Essentials scheme offer industry-leading expert advice to companies on how to protect themselves against cyber threats. It’s important that all companies invest in security solutions to protect their tax technology systems. The introduction of GDPR earlier this year means that firms have an important part to play in protecting sensitive customer data. For so long the issues of data privacy and data security have been viewed as separate entities with differing objectives, the introduction of global regulations has forced business to reevaluate how they gather, process and store their data. While tax technology keeps changing the face of tax functions across the industry it is important for professionals, from Tax Partners to Tax Directors to Tax Managers, to ensure they are keeping ahead of the technological curve. As a Tax recruiter, I have witnessed first hand, the effect that tax technology is having on candidates either coming to the market or already in the industry. From my experience as a Tax Recruiter, those who fare best and excel are those that have embraced tax technology early, follow technological trends and have a full working knowledge of new systems and how to implement them. For more information about this article, or to speak to Rebecca about your recruiting needs or Tax jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her at



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