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Marianne Wills

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Marianne Wills

Consultant - In-House Tax

I am a specialist tax recruiter in the Commerce & Industry sector, generally representing mid to senior tier professionals.  With regards to my clients, I have a focus on the Real Estate & Construction, Travel & Tourism, Energy & Utilities and Manufacturing markets to name a few. 

 

This is my first recruitment role - after successfully passing through the Associate Consultant training programme I have now been promoted to Consultant and I am really enjoying it at Pro. 

 

Outside of work I am generally socialising and spending time with friends in London. I also love visiting new places, Singapore and Rome are next on my to-do list!

marianne's latest roles

  • Group Tax Manager - In-House

    Up to £70000 per annum + Car Allowance

    Group Tax Manager - Hertfordshire Up to £70,000 Are you a Corporate Tax Specialist looking to make a move into an exciting new role? Do you like the idea of working within a growing company? I am working wit...

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  • Direct Tax Manager - In-House

    £60000 - £70000 per annum

    Tax Manager - In-House - Bedfordshire Up to £65,000 + Car Allowance Looking for a step up in your career? Time to take on an industry position? Want a broader tax role? I am working with a global leader in t...

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  • Tax Manager - In-House

    £60000 - £65000 per annum

    In-House Tax Manager - Surrey £60,000-£65,000 Do you need role that offers flexibility? Are you looking to make your first move in-house? Ready for a new challenge? A leading gas and engineering company are ...

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What people say about Marianne

It has been great communicating with Marianne throughout this whole process. She has been very professional, informative and friendly to deal with...


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Companies Marianne has worked with

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VolkerWessels is a privately-owned European construction services business with Dutch-based headquarters. They pride themselves on delivering innovative solutions across the civil engineering and construction sectors.

Allegis Group is a global talent solution company and is headquartered over in the U.S. They have 25 offices around Europe including in Czech, Hungary, France and Belgium and have two UK offices; one in London and one in Bracknell, Berkshire. They have an £11.2bn turnover and over 15,000 employees.

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marianne's articles

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60 Seconds With: Marie Pearse, Head of Tax at Pennon Group PLC

Posted by Marianne Wills

Marie Pearse is a dedicated corporate tax specialist with over 19 years of experience - 17 of which have been in in-house roles, and Head of Tax at Pennon Group PLC since September 2017. Marie is ACA, CTA and AAT qualified with first time passes and has gained experience in a number of international and UK corporate tax areas. What’s great about working for Pennon? I like the exposure to the different sectors (Water and Waste Management) that it allows. Everyone here has a ‘can-do’ attitude and is keen to discuss alternative ideas and consider new ways of doing things if they improve on historical processes and procedures. How big is your team and what advice would you give anyone who would apply to be part of the team in years to come? Currently, we are a team of five but soon to be six as we are bringing in a Graduate to train up. With regards to advice to anyone considering applying to become a team member, I’d say get as much exposure as you can to as many different types of tax as possible. Also key now is to get experience in tax technology solutions, that’s an area which is becoming more and more important but there are very few people with this skillset on the market. When you interview someone for your team or organisation, what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you? It’s actually before someone even gets to interview and comes back to a person’s CV and/or covering letter. I want this to really demonstrate a desire for the role which is supported by some relevant experience. When it comes to interviewing, I’m keen to see that the candidate has prepared fully and thought about the key tax issues that the business faces. In your opinion, has the role of 'in-house tax professional' changed much over the years and if so, what is the biggest change? Things have changed massively over the years. Early on in my career the focus was on minimising a Group’s ETR and making use of planning structures. Now it’s much more about making sure you have good corporate governance and controls in place and you’re paying your fair share of taxes. Tax is much higher up the board agenda now which can only be a good thing. What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation of tax professionals face? Generally, I think there is a gap in the technology side of things, it can be hard to find people with good tax systems experience. The ability for individuals to multi-task across different taxes also needs to be worked on. With people generally become specialised the number of people who can multi-task appears to be diminishing. You have both in-house and private practice experience and a very impressive career to date. How was this transition for you, between practice and in-house? It was actually quite easy, helped by the fact that I made the move early on in my career and to a MNE that was then in its early stages, so I was able to grow with it. The difference between the two is stark but being inhouse gives you a much more commercial outlook and you get to see ideas through rather than giving advice and not really knowing what happens with it. I also don’t miss billing and timesheets! What advice would you give to your younger self? I would tell myself to get broader financial experience as I would like to consider becoming a finance director however, I don’t have as much experience in that area and switching to a role like that may mean taking a considerable downwards step initially. How would your team describe you? Reliable, organised, supportive, meticulous, methodical, happy to roll my sleeves up and forward-thinking are a few words they have suggested! What do you do in your downtime? I play in brass bands. I play the tenor horn and have been doing so longer than I have been in tax! It’s like another job with daily practice required and lots of travel. Sadly though, it’s unpaid. For more information about this article, or to speak to Marianne about your recruiting needs or Tax opportunities in London or Nationwide, contact her on 02072696319 or marianne.wills@pro-tax.co.uk. Back to 60 Seconds archive >>

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Tax Practice vs. Industry: The Big Debate

Posted by Marianne Wills

As a tax professional, 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, what is important to you in your career, and your long-term goals. Making this decision can often be difficult as roles in practice and industry both have a lot to offer, but our specialist tax recruiters have put together key advice to help you make an informed decision! ​ Type of Work The type of work can differ quite significantly between tax roles in practice and in commercial business’ and the type of work your role will entail will depend on the company. In practice you are likely to specialise in one specific area, whether this is corporate tax, investigations, personal tax or VAT etc. A positive of this us you become a real deep tax specialist and have the ability to work on a variety of clients, often in varying sectors. On the other hand, working in-house allows you to fully immerse yourself in one business and look at the company in its entirety. You will be working in a more commercial role and get closer to the business and see how different departments interact, such as legal, sales, finance and tax, and in this way, an in-house tax position can perhaps offer a broader role. Another point to consider is whether you are looking for a role that is highly client facing. If this is the case and client interactions are something you enjoy, a role in practice is likely to suit you. However, with this also comes client pressures. Timesheets and billings are a necessary part of a tax role in practice and is one of the biggest reasons why people choose to move in-house. Due to the nature of an in-house role, it is rare that you will have timesheets or financial targets, and typically you will have more autonomy over your work, with your working environment often more relaxed due to the absence of client pressures. Lastly, if you are looking to be involved with the business development side of the firm you work for, you are best to seek a role within practice as opposed to in-house. Business development is a big part of working in a tax practice role, especially as you moe up the food chain, as you will focus on building and maintaining client relationships while with an in-house role, you will instead focus on raising the profile of the tax team within the wider organisation. Salary & Benefits When it comes to benefits, a role in a well-established practice with defined risk & reward teams will see you receive a healthy remuneration and benefits package. Working for a commercial business, whether this is a FTSE 100, US-listed or Fortune 500 business, you will receive not only a good remuneration package but also additional benefits including flexible working and commercial discounts. Differences in salary between in-house and tax practice roles depends on the level you reach within your company. Initially, although you may be willing to take a pay drop to move in-house there is often no need to, as a move in-house typically comes with a 10-20% pay increase and a premium. As a general rule, you will always be better paid within industry up until a certain point, which is when it comes to Partner vs. Head of Tax. Working in practice as a Partner will always outstrip the earnings of a Head of Tax in a commercial business, although of course there are always exceptions to the rule. Therefore, when considering which path to take it is important to consider your long term career goals and whether your ambition is to end up as a Partner or Head of Tax. Working Hours Working hours tend to be better with in-house tax roles as opposed to in practice. There are usually smaller teams with a collaborative working pattern as opposed to the larger structured teams you often find in practice. Additionally, client responsibilities with a role in practice mean you need to be on call and meet clients, whereas in-house roles can offer better flexibility and opportunities to work from home, as well as regular working hours and less late nights, allowing for a better work-life balance. Although this is typically the case there are, of course, some exceptions and more large tax practices are now understanding the value a healthy work-life balance adds to employee effectiveness and happiness, and are making inroads to improve this. Progression Prospects Working in-house gives you the opportunity to move around the business, both across and upwards. You will work in a smaller team which gives you more responsibility in your role which will only broaden your prospects in the future, and there can be good opportunities for progression as in-house teams tend to have less of a rigid structure than tax teams in a large practice. However, in some circumstances it can be difficult to move upwards - ultimately, it depends on the company. While some large commercial companies, like those in the oil or automotive industry, have huge tax teams with structure and great progression opportunities, other companies have very small or even one-person tax teams. While this gives you more autonomy in your role, the opportunity to work closely with the Head of Tax or Director and exposure to different services lines within the company, this can also limit your opportunity to progress within the company itself. On the flip side, working in tax practice typically offers a clear and structured progression route. You will be in a position where if you hit business development and financial targets and pass your qualifications, you will move up the chain. Whilst an in-house role could potentially be a stand-alone position with limited resources to call upon, in practice, you are surrounded by technical expertise and talent. You will be working at the forefront of changes in legislation and therefore a role in practice provides you with excellent learning opportunities, as well as good progression prospects. Ease of Finding a New Opportunity It is relatively easy to move from practice to an in-house role, particularly if you are newly qualified and coming from one of the Big 4 or Top 10 as you will be highly sought after. Once you have in-house experience, you will find other doors open for you to take a step-up role in another commercial business, as some positions will require relevant experience. One of the main benefits of working in-house is the opportunity to work for a household brand or in an industry you’re interested in, whether this is retail, media, construction, automotive or telecoms, to name a few. Once you have chosen to move into a commercial business, it can be difficult to move back into practice. The longer you spend away from practice the harder it becomes, as you may find you lose the client-handling skills essential for practice. Therefore, it is important to be sure where you want to end up before making the move in-house and consider the wide range of career opportunities available to you within practice. Ultimately, your decision will come down to what type of work suits you and what you want from your career as a tax professional. If you are looking for a role within a company whose brand and household name excites you, and where you will have a broad, autonomous role and opportunities for flexible working, then a role in industry may suit you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a client facing role that sees you working on business development and at the forefront of changes in legislation, with clearly defined learning and progression opportunities, you should pursue a tax role in practice. For more information on this article, or for advice on your next career move into either a tax practice role or a position in-house, contact Marianne on 020 7269 6319 or marianne.wills@pro-tax.co.uk.

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My First Two Weeks In Recruitment - Marianne Wills

Posted by Marianne Wills

In comparison to me walking into the office on my first day at Pro, to sitting at my desk on the second Friday here I feel like I have learned a lot already. I stepped into the recruitment world knowing next to nothing – seeing recruitment as simply finding someone a job, but not knowing the ins and outs of how you get to that stage. I have been in and out of different training sessions, learning about the recruitment process in its full circle and going into detail about the different skills and knowledge you need to know about each stage. Calling candidates has been great, speaking to different people and understanding their wants and needs for their career motivates me to match them with their ideal role. As well as training from everyone internally especially Pat and Ali, we have also had sessions given by external trainers. We had a session on how to write the perfect job advert with Lisa Jones., which gave us a lot of new ideas on how to attract people to our adverts. We have also had external training with Jim Atkins or Enabling Change, who came into Pro for two days. This session was with just the Associate Consultants; he gave us a really detailed look at the recruiting process such as following the “30 steps” (Tony Byrne) and also, the characteristics of a good candidate and client. This was so helpful as it confirmed what we have already learned but in further detail. It was great to get a fresh outlook from these two external trainers. From my interview and assessment day I already had a good feel for the company culture and, being here on a day-to-day basis has confirmed that it is a fun place to work where I can really see myself staying and advancing my career. Everyone has been really welcoming and helpful (and patient with my questions of how to do this and that). I am really looking forward to learning more so that I’m able to get my first promotion to Consultant. I am especially looking forward to having my own candidates in for internal interviews, going on client visits and really building up my own network. Hopefully, this won’t take too long as all the experienced consultants have been inviting me on their client visits and their internal interviews. I’m excited as I am picking up techniques and learning how to conduct a variety of meetings. If you're looking to make a move into recruitment, I highly recommend you speak to Loren von Sternberg, who can offer a great insight into opportunities available at Pro-Group.

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How to Handle Interview Questions Like a Pro

Posted by Marianne Wills

While the following list isn’t exhaustive, it will serve as a good starting point when it comes to the kinds of questions you will more than likely be asked in an interview. Where possible, we will always advise you as to what questions may arise before your interview. 1. What do you know about us? While this may seem like a simple question, the number of people we speak to on a regular basis who are unable to answer this will surprise you. Do your research. A great way to answer is to give a very brief overview of the area they specialise in and, how the legal team or particular department fits into the company or firm’s plans. If you have researched the interviewers you are meeting, you can tailor your answers to focus on their expertise and experience. 2. Why are you interested in us? While you may have answered what the company does, do not confuse this with why you’re interested in them. Employers want to understand what it is about their organisation specifically that appeals to you. Simply telling them you are interested in the sectors they are involved in, for example, is not going far enough. What is it about this company or firm that sits apart from their competition? A great way to show interest in a potential employer is to relate your interest in the work they do back to your work history and personal experience. 3. Why are you looking to leave? Be honest. While it is never wise to be overly-negative towards your current employer, if there are certain things you’re not happy with, you need to ensure you don’t end up in the exact same situation in your next role. Most negatives when phrased correctly can be framed as a positive. For example, if you’re unhappy because you haven’t had a promotion in several years, a much better way to answer this is to discuss the lack of opportunity for you in your current job to develop and take on more responsibilities. 4. Where else are you interviewing? Most people will ask simply to get a better understanding as to what timescales you’re working to. If you’re interviewing at several places, it’s better to keep all parties involved on the same page; it gives each organisation a fair opportunity to complete their process with you in a particular timescale. Furthermore, if and when an organisation misses out on hiring you, as long as you were honest throughout the process, you may well have the opportunity to revisit the role/organisation in the future should the chance arise. 5. Does your current employer know that you are looking? In the majority of cases, this is likely to be a no. However there are a number of reasons a current employer may well know this; the most common reasons tend to be due to a change in role, lack of opportunity for progression, an office move, the need for a new challenge if one cannot be offered or redundancy. If you are able to have a conversation with your employer, that’s great - if it’s a positive conversation at least you will know you are leaving for the right reasons. Potential employers will be impressed by such a positive conversation with your current employer, so do not be put off discussing this in an interview if the circumstances around it can be seen in a positive light. 6. What questions do you have for us? Ensure you have paid enough attention during the interview to ask related questions about the role and organisation. Having done your research beforehand, if you feel something has not been covered in the interview, ask for clarification. As well as the interviewers testing you, this meeting is your chance to discuss your responsibilities, the wider team and culture of the organisation, so make sure you leave the meeting with a good understanding of this. Matters to avoid are questions about salary, working hours, perks and a breakdown of the benefits package. While they all play into our decision making, you do not want to distract from the reason you’re sat there. These conversations can be had via your recruitment consultant and the HR department. Always make sure you have asked enough questions to know how you would feel if they were to offer you the job. For more information on this article or to find out how Marianne can help you with your recruiting needs, contact her on 020 7269 6319 or marianne.wills@pro-tax.co.uk.

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