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If you are looking to build a career in tax, it is essential that you understand where the world of tax is heading, what accountancy firms require of tax professionals and how to position yourself in the market to achieve your career goals.
As in all walks of life and business, taxation is evolving both in complexity and how accountancy services are delivered. We are seeing a technological shift in how corporate tax and personal tax are being processed.
What does this mean for accountants and their careers in tax?
The nature of the roles at all levels of tax from Partner to Assistant Manager is moving towards becoming more of an advisor to clients as opposed to the compliance and desk work.
Adapting to technological change
With the rapid growth of fintech and cloud services, the vast majority of calculating tax liabilities is automated. This significantly reduces the time required for tax accountants to prepare accounts and returns.
Firms are looking to develop this service line by re-investing time through building closer relationships with clients and becoming a consultant to them to manage their tax affairs more efficiently and advising on the changing legislations.
As a result, developing an advisory skillset and market specialism is far more attractive to potential employers than technical skills.
How do you develop tax advisory skills?
Embrace the data and insights that the technology is producing. Having a thorough understanding of the reports and analytics will enable you to interpret vast quantities of information and spot trends which will allow you to provide suggestions to the client.
Have confidence in sharing ideas and suggestions colleagues and senior team members, this will be recognised over time.
Identify and seize opportunities to develop skills internally and relationships with Tax Directors and Tax Partners. This will allow you to learn from experts in their field and gain invaluable client exposure.
Seek internal and external learning and development opportunities to keep abreast of changes within the tax arena and technological change.
Long term career planning
Having a clear path to you achieving your long term carer ambitions is paramount for tax professionals.
Developing a specialism in a particular market or area of tax early in your career is attractive to firms when recruiting for senior roles.
We are seeing accountancy firms create niche teams in tax that are focused on property or manufacturing for example.
In turn when building teams, they are looking high quality talent with a proven track record with these types of clients.
Building a breadth of experience early in your career will help you to work out where you most enjoy or are interested in. This allows you to specialise in an area, build specific skills and work with a particular type of client.
You can then begin to plot your route to achieving your ultimate career aims with a view on two or three moves away - not just the next stepping stone.