Tax Managers – When is a good time to move In-House?
Posted by Paul Vince
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 Paul on 020 7269 6314 or email@example.com.