The Barden Career Model

The Barden Career Model

The unique Barden Career Model will help you plan your tax career and manage your salary negotiations.

At this point, you’re armed with a few different ways to analyse yourself and the external market (follow the links below to read the previous blogs in this series which cover these areas).

The Barden Career Model will enable you to pull this analysis together, as you begin to plan your future. The model can be used as a strategic tool to plan your career path and help manage your salary negotiations. For a more comprehensive overview of the model visit

The Barden Career Model

The Barden Career Model is a robust, strategic career tool designed specifically for accounting and tax professionals. It can be used to understand the context of your experience, how this reflects on the external market and, critically, how you should be compensated for the value of your time. The following basic principles apply:

Step 1

Let the centre of your circle represent the company and role in which you will be “perceived” to add the most value and hence you will be compensated most for the value of your time (i.e. paid more). “Perceived” is key – this isn’t just about you; it is about how a hiring manager will view/rate your experience compared to “the other guy”.

Step 2

Your near environment contains companies, firms and roles that have something in common with your centre. Taking the earlier example of Vicky the VAT Manager, another VAT team in a Big 4 firm would be within Vicky’s near environment. Likewise, if Vicky’s client portfolio consisted of financial services companies, then a VAT manager within the in-house team of a financial services company would also be in her near environment. This is not a purely linear process and you need to use your imagination to populate your near environment. Your far environment contains companies and roles that have less in common with your centre. For example, for Vicky, a corporate tax manager within a pharmaceutical company would be in her far environment.

Step 3

Your model has two lines – your access curve and your learning curve. Your access curve represents the “perception” of your ability to do a job compared to the other person (which is pretty much the same as your chances of getting that job). Your access curve begins to dip as you move away from your centre. Your learning curve represents the “perception” of the amount of learning there will be for you in a given job (how much a company will need to invest in you to get a return). Your learning curve begins to ascend as you move away from your centre.

Your salary

The closer a role is to your centre, the more you should be paid and the less you will learn. The further from your centre a role is, the less you should be paid and the more you will learn.

What’s next?

This is only the start! Life isn’t about answers – it’s about asking questions to make sure you’re going in the right direction. This guide should get you thinking about your options, asking yourself questions, and figuring out if the direction you’re going in is the one you want to go in. Tax is a fantastic career and many tax professionals have already carved out their chosen path, so talk to your network; discuss different opportunities and please get in touch with us – your specialist tax recruiter. We’d be delighted to give you some more detailed insights tailored for your career.


To read the previous blogs in the Tax Career Series click on the links below…

New Tax Career Guide Out Now…

Are you a tax professional considering a career change?

The practice landscape for tax professionals…

The corporate landscape for tax professionals…

Practice or industry?


Need help achieving your ambitions?

Are you a tax or accounting professional looking for help in achieving your ambitions? If so get in touch with one of our expert team below, who are ready with lots of CV, LinkedIn, interview and career advice along with cutting edge market insights.

Aideen Murphy, Partner, Barden Cork at

Kate Flanagan, Partner, Barden Dublin at

Aoibhín Byrne, Associate & Expert in Recently Qualified Tax Careers at

Neil Murphy ACA, Senior Associate & Expert in Mid-Senior Accounting & Tax Careers at





At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to and we will take it from there. Easy.

You might also like

No resources found