Are you a tax professional considering a career change?

The general landscape

Before you rush into ‘career change’ mode, it’s important to figure out where you sit in the general tax landscape.

Our advice? Take a step back and look at the wider context of the market.

Simply put, where do tax professionals exist? The tax market can be broken down into three key sectors:

Practice (accounting, tax and legal firms);

  • Practice (accounting, tax and legal firms);
  • The corporate sector (industry/in-house); and
  • The public sector (Revenue, government and educational bodies).

Where you started your career almost always influences your choices thereafter. ‘Like with like’ is a fundamental truth that should take centre focus during your job search. You’ll be most likely to make a move to a company or role that shares something in common with your most recent company or role. The more post-qualified experience you have, the harder it is to move beyond your ‘like with like’ environment.

Take the example of Vicky, a VAT manager in a Big 4 firm. Vicky is most likely to move into another professional services firm as a VAT manager or move to the corporate sector as a VAT manager. Vicky is less likely to move into a firm looking for a tax generalist, or into the corporate sector as a corporate tax manager. However, if Vicky had realised after qualifying that she didn’t want to specialise further in VAT, it would have been easier for Vicky to make a move into a different sector at that stage in her career. Like everything in life, there are exceptions to the rule and nothing is impossible. However, some things are just more likely than others.

Our focus…

To help support you in your professional career journey, and in any career changes you might be considering we’ve put together a Career Guide for Tax Professionals.

For the purpose of this guide, we will focus on the practice and corporate landscape, assuming that the majority of tax professionals will begin and progress their career in one or the other. Suffice to say, an interest in developing tax policy and associated work would make a career in the public sector a relevant option to consider.

To download your copy of The Tax Professionals Career Guide, by Barden, click here.


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, Expert Recruiter in Tax, Treasury and Practice Careers, Barden Dublin 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.

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