The latest insights and best advice for tax professionals… Business Plus Feature

We were delighted to feature in the recent Business Plus feature. Here Aideen Murphy shares the latest insights and best advice for tax professionals…

Barden is best known as a specialist recruiter for Accounting & Tax, Legal, and Financial Services roles, and is also active in Technology and Life Sciences. Can you briefly explain how the consultancy is evolving with reference to focus areas, offices, headcount etc.

Barden is a partner led talent advisory and recruitment firm. We founded the firm as we wanted to build a recruitment practice that provides recruitment solutions in a different way. Established 9 years, Barden is now home to 40 talent advisors based in Cork, Dublin, Waterford, and San Francisco.

The firm initially specialised in Accounting & Tax recruitment, but our clients wished to explore other areas through Barden. We now provide solutions in the areas of Business Support, Executive Search, Financial Services, Legal, Life Sciences, Supply Chain and Technology.

We strive to think differently, altering our approach for each client dependant on their requirements. We have been extremely lucky that ambitious professionals from the various disciplines have joined Barden. It is their commitment and belief in our shared vision that has really set us apart. We aim to provide real solutions to real issues for our clients and the professionals we work with. We are fortunate that Ireland is enjoying a period of economic growth, but this doesn’t ease the pressure created by talent demands. We like to get to the core of our client’s issues, brainstorm internally and offer genuine solutions. The exceptional people within our firm, take time to truly understand each market. This has resulted in us carving out a niche in the talent advisory space and recruitment sector. People seem to like us and trust us!

What are the key takeaways for tax professionals from your recent 2023 Salary Survey?

We partner with the Chartered Accountants Ireland Leinster Society every year to provide a Salary Survey. This survey is focused on Chartered Accountants so isn’t a true reflection of the wider tax market. A large portion of Tax Professionals are also Chartered Accountants, but not all, and many are based outside of Leinster.

However, some takeaways which would also be relevant from our interactions with Tax Professionals would include:

  • More than 75% of professionals have hybrid working arrangements, offering a 50:50 split between home and office.
  • 1 out of 2 professionals have been promoted in the last year.
  • On average professionals have been approached 16 times by recruiters about external jobs in the past year.

What qualifications do employers favour when recruiting a tax professional?

Generally speaking, the Chartered Tax Advisor qualification offered by the Irish Tax Institute is the key qualification sought by employers however, it does depend on the role. If your day to day has a strong element of tax accounting, it is likely an accounting qualification will also be required. Some professionals qualify as both accountants and Tax Advisors when training so the dual qualification can be beneficial if you’re keen to secure a tax accounting driven role in the future.

We also see many tax qualified professionals who are also qualified lawyers, this dual qualification offers a different perspective.

In your view, what are the career advantages for an accountant who specialises in the tax area?

Tax has been, and always will be, a very diverse area to work in. Historically there was a preconception that tax is only about filing tax returns and meeting compliance deadlines but it’s really much more than that – nearly every business / personal decision has a tax effect! Within the corporate space, the tax function has now gained a seat at the table and is very much involved in the decision-making process for businesses rather than being consulted after the fact.

We have also noticed the creation of many new in-house tax functions within industry not just in within Corporate Tax but also areas like Indirect Tax, Transfer Pricing and Tax Technology. Given the changing landscape of global tax, and the complexities that these changes bring, there is also an increased reliance on the tax advisor within practice. Depending on your role, working in tax can offer a wide remit of duties, for example in industry there is scope to oversee business operations while collaborating closely with key executives and in practice there is the opportunity to be a technical expert and advisor.

Where are the best employment opportunities for tax professionals at the moment – Practice or Industry, and general accountancy practices of Big Four?

To be honest, tax professionals are in high demand across the board at the moment. We have been battling with a short supply of tax talent in Ireland for more than a year now, particularly at the recently qualified to 2/3 years PQE mark – an outflow of talent to international markets (Australia in particular) has been the biggest driver of this. Both industry and practice offer plenty of opportunities right now across various levels, many of these roles are newly created due to team expansion – which further highlights the value add of tax professionals. To sum it up, the demand for tax talent in Ireland outweighs the pool of tax talent active on the market which has been one of the biggest challenges faced by tax teams in practice and industry this year.

Credit: Business Plus

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