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I am a specialist In-House Tax Recruitment Consultant here at Pro. My journey started in 2018 where I successfully passed through the Associate Consultant training programme and was assigned a place on the Pro-Tax team!
Now after being promoted to Consultant, I represent mid to senior tier tax professionals and place into Commerce and Industry businesses with a focus on the Retail, Luxury Goods, FMCG, Real Estate, Manufacturing and Energy industry sectors.
Finding a solution for both my clients and my candidates gives me great satisfaction in my role and I really enjoy building new, long-standing business relationships.
Outside of work you’ll find me socialising and most likely eating!! I love visiting new places - Singapore and Rome are next to tick off my list.
Chatan Patel is the Head of Tax at Global Fashion Group. He has just under a decade of experience working for international groups after training and qualifying in CTA with the Big 4, and gained his in-house experience in the telecommunications industry, recently moving to the e-commerce world. He is skilled at managing domestic and international tax teams, managing various senior internal and external stakeholders, and setting the vision for a future tax function. Chatan speaks to Marianne Wills, Consultant at Pro-Tax about working at GFG, the transition between practice and in-house, and working in the e-commerce industry. What’s great about working for Global Fashion Group? GFG is a leading online fashion and lifestyle destination in terms of estimated online sales in 17 countries across Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Commonwealth of Independent States (“CIS”). It is a young, exciting, innovative company that has a huge opportunity to grow in its markets. How big is your team and what advice would you give to anyone who would apply to be a part of your team in years to come? I have a team of 5 reporting to me based in the UK and Germany. My advice would be to be personable, engaging and smile! 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? Their ability to communicate. This tells me how well they will liaise with the other key stakeholders in the organisation. In your opinion, has the role of ‘in-house tax professional’ changed much over the years? The role has fundamentally changed with less focus on aggressive tax planning and more consideration on managing tax risks, ensuring an effective tax governance framework and business partnering. What challenges, personally or professionals, do you think the next generation of tax professionals face? There is no doubt technology will continue to impact the tax profession. Tax authorities across the world are already embracing technology. Therefore, tax professionals in the future would need to be technology savvy. You have both in-house and private practice experience and a very impressive career to date. How was the transition for you between practice and in-house? The transition was exciting, but it takes time to get used to! You move away from working with clients to working in an organisation with a totally different infrastructure, more diverse range of people and interaction with non-tax departments such as accounting, legal, M&A, Treasury and commercial areas. It can be a steep learning curve but rewarding as you begin to develop a commercial adviser mindset. Your first and second move in-house have both been with telecommunications businesses and you are now in the e-commerce industry, what have you found to be different between the sectors? The e-commerce business model is very different to a telecommunications business. The flow of goods and services in an international group gives rise to a different set of tax challenges and risks. How have you found moving from two well established listed businesses like Millicom and C&W to Global Fashion Group, a new and growing business who are a little less known? The transition was challenging at times as you begin to introduce and implement new policies, understand the business and the key challenges. However, you continue to develop your skills which is important. What advice would you give to your younger self? Stick to your gut instincts, see change as an opportunity and never lose your sense of humour. What do you do in your downtime? Keep fit, travel and read. For more information on this article, contact Marianne Wills on 020 7269 6319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More and more businesses are now bringing their tax functions in-house. With the need for more robust risk control frameworks around tax, it is important for tax to partner with the business, meaning that companies are increasingly looking for tax professionals with both technical expertise and strong commercial acumen and understanding. So, what are the benefits of moving your tax function in-house? Economic factors In the current economic climate, the tax outsourcing model is expensive for many businesses. If you don’t have an in-house tax team you will be outsourcing work to a tax practice, most of which charge substantial outsourcing fees which has caused a marked trend across medium to large-sized companies towards bringing parts of their tax function in-house. Internal resources and compliance come at a fixed and predictable cost. It can be economically effective to bring your tax function in-house and pay someone a fixed salary as opposed to paying tax professionals outside your company on an ad-hoc basis, which can be unpredictable. Collaborative working environment Having that ‘go-to’ person or team within your business can really benefit your workplace. Other areas of the business will notice there is a tax function and use it for queries or issues that they may not have raised before, which could potentially save your business money on tax - both outsourcing fees and problems further down the line. Having dedicated tax professionals with real face-time with the business and working in the offices alongside other parts of the business can create a collaborative working environment. An in-house tax team will be solely focused on your company mission and goals which can be beneficial in comparison to someone from a tax practice whose focus is split across multiple clients. They would be fully immersed in your business and therefore able to react quickly to it’s changing needs, and will have a deeper knowledge and shared understanding of your businesses operational and end goals. Accountability One of the biggest benefits of moving your tax function in-house is that your business will have greater control of its tax affairs and tax risk. Under Senior Accounting Officer legislation, the individual responsible (usually the CFO) is required to personally certify that their company’s systems are fit for the purpose of reporting taxes. By moving your tax function in-house, as a business you will be able to oversee and have more control over the tax systems in place. An in-house tax professional would be able to establish strong relationships with HMRC and work towards improving existing systems and controls that generate efficiencies in internal processes. Investors Not only this, but companies with a lot of investors can benefit by bringing tax in-house. Doing this shows to investors - both current and potential - that you are dedicated to saving money while also running your business in an effective, accountable way and could in turn encourage them to invest more. Here at Pro-Tax within our Commerce & Industry team, we have seen a significant rise in the number of tax professionals wanting to move in-house and work within fast-growing, exciting and dynamic businesses. From a career point of view, moving in-house gives you the opportunity to broaden your experience and gain valuable commercial experience. For those organisations who believe that bringing their tax in-house would be beneficial, the talent pool available across industries has diversified and we often find that candidates are actively seeking an in-house opportunity to develop their career. For more information on this article or for help recruiting in-house tax professionals into your organisation, contact Marianne Wills on 020 7269 6319 or email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to 60 Seconds archive >>
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 is 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 move 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 email@example.com.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.