Kate Flanagan, AITI CTA, is an expert in tax careers. Kate is a Partner with Barden and has significant experience in advising tax professionals on career and industry trends, contributing first hand to the professional future of many individuals and teams across Ireland.
In this blog she takes a closer look at five trends that will shape the tax market in 2019 and will provide an abundance of career opportunities for those working in tax.
2019…More Changes Coming
The tax market, and indeed the world, has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade. Led by factors such as globalisation, digitisation and general economic and trading conditions, the role of the tax advisor has had to evolve rapidly, be it in practice or industry.
2019 will be no different and will be defined by future economic disturbances, emerging technologies and changes to supply chains that alter substantially the way tax is recorded and the way in which many tax professionals will do their jobs.
A Shift to Business Partnering Roles Within In-house Tax Functions
We have already witnessed the shift of focus in certain skills required for in-house tax professionals. This will continue into 2019 with a particular emphasis on:
- The ability to work across the business and communicate tax matters in a non-complex matter is an absolute requirement now for in-house tax teams. How are you at translating tax speak into plain English?
- Business partnering will feature more on job specs, being described as, for example, “providing proactive support, advice and guidance to business managers” and “become an interface or translator between tax and non-tax departments”.
- Playing a pivotal role in influencing the decisions that the business makes and helping to maximise shareholder value and return. The actuality of being a tax business partner will really come to the fore in 2019.
Data, Technology and AI Continue to Transform Business
Data is fast becoming the new currency. The collection, management and interpretation of data is increasing in importance and is now considered a vital part of every business. Data can provide quality insights enabling management teams, and leaders, to make better and more informed business decisions.
In particular the tax function of every business has access to increasing amounts of valuable data. Having the ability to manage, extract, analyse, interpret and communicate such data can result in cost savings and efficiencies for the business across a range of activities, including people, mobility, reporting, supply chains, mergers and acquisitions.
Technological advances, such as real time reporting in payroll and VAT, along with the increase in AI, are resulting in a desire to automate processes across the tax function. This will require tax professionals to develop their range of skills, stay informed and become more tech savvy during 2019 and beyond.
Brexit Will Stir up a Demand for New Skills
With so much uncertainty still surrounding Brexit, it’s difficult to predict the exact impact it will have on the tax function, and in particular indirect tax. However, there is no doubt that Brexit will stir up a demand for tax professionals with new and developed skills within particular areas.
- The ability to use data analytics to assess the impact of Brexit on companies supply chain costs will be crucial.
- Revenue is upskilling their staff to becoming more skilled in data extraction and analysis as part of their revenue audit techniques. This means that tax professionals dealing with Revenue audits will need to be equally as skilled.
- Brexit will impact the operation of VAT on both an Irish and international level. It is not possible to predict the exact impact of Brexit on indirect tax as this will not be known for years to come. This in itself will increase the demand for indirect tax specialists in both practice and industry.
- Tariffs and customs duties could arise on the supply and acquisition of goods and services across the border with the UK and Northern Ireland. Again, huge uncertainty here will inevitably cause a demand in customs experts.
- Group structures will have to be reviewed and possibly restructured if it’s made up of UK companies. New Irish companies may be incorporated to avoid Brexit customs and duties. As such tax professionals with experience in intra group transactions and restructures will be in demand.
- As companies consider relocating offices and staff, tax experts will be required to deal with issues around immigration and internationally mobile employees. Global mobility and human capital teams within the firms will grow significantly and perhaps we’ll see more in-house opportunities arising in this area.
More Tax Professionals Will Return to Practice
As the corporate landscape continues to evolve and the role of the in-house tax advisor adapts, many tax professionals will opt to return to practice.
The opportunity to work on technical tax and client solutions teams, manage a variety of clients along with a structured career path, are many of the reasons cited by tax professionals to return to practice.
Equally 2019 will see a movement between firms where tax professionals are looking to specialise in certain areas and ensure career development.
Alternatively, those looking to broaden their experience will move into mid-market and SME firms to get a better handle of tax issues across all tax heads.
Remuneration – Focus on Intrinsic Rewards
Much was made in 2018 about the shortage of candidates and how this candidate driven market will lead to salary inflation in the months and years ahead. Whilst there is some truth in this, 2019 will be a year where the focus will be much more on intrinsic rewards.
How people feel about the work they do will become an increasingly important differentiator.
Companies and firms who can demonstrate a great working environment, positive culture and a place of work which has a meaningful purpose will be the winners in a candidate driven market.
There is no doubt that 2019 promises to bring more changes and development, however with these come lots of opportunities for tax professionals and teams.
If you are a tax professional looking for a new opportunity or wishing to build your professional team get in touch with our specialist and experienced tax career advisors here at Barden – Kate Flanagan (Tax Partner, Dublin) and Aideen Murphy (Tax Partner, Cork).