At the start of the year, the tax team in Barden Accounting & Tax attempted to predict some trends likely to impact the tax market in Ireland throughout 2019 (see here). We thought it would be useful to look back and see what really did happen during the year, and if the predicted trends had their defining moments.
In the second of our series we take a closer look at two more of our predictions around the ‘type of work and skills required for tax professionals’ and ‘data, technology and AI continue to transform business’.
A Shift to Business Partnering Roles Within In-house Tax Functions
I think we were partly right in this prediction. The ability for a tax function to be an integral part of any organisation and influence the way a business operates comes down to the tax professional having certain skills. The ability to liaise with all parts of the business and communicate tax issues in a very clear, non-complex manner…in essence acting as a business partner…
However what we didn’t emphasise enough was, that although these skills are critical, excellent communication and interpersonal skills are irrelevant if the technical skills and general commercial skills are lacking.
In-house tax functions primary purpose is to ensure tax matters are dealt with from both a regulatory perspective (tax compliance) and also from a strategic perspective (tax planning/advisory).
As a consequence, and to ensure this purpose is met, the role has to take on business partnering features rather than an outright shift to a business partner role. Tax professionals have to develop a broader skill set to survive and thrive in an in-house function.
Data, Technology and AI Continue to Transform Business
We were right in this prediction that the advances in data, technology and AI will transform businesses and that tax professionals will need to keep up to speed with these changes. However, we probably underestimated the impact it would have on the tax market in terms of employment opportunities. The specific requirement for companies looking to transform their tax function has led to a significant increase in the number of new opportunities in this space for tax professionals. Great news for tax professionals!
Tax/Transformation/Technology Managers and Consultants are being actively recruited within the big 4 and top 10 firms. A slower uptake within in-house tax functions apart from a couple of the bigger tech MNCs but undoubtedly they will follow the trend of their tax advisors in practice.
Watch out for our next blog…
Looking forward to examining the other predicted trends in the coming few weeks and whether they had a defining, or not so defining, impact on the tax market and on tax professionals in Ireland.
To view the original predictions blog see “5 Trends Set to Define the Tax Market in 2019, According to an Expert…”
To view the first blog in the review series see “The Defining, or Not So Defining Trends That Impacted the Tax Market in 2019…”
Need help planning your professional future?
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).