Where should I specialise?
Regardless of whether you start your tax career with an accountancy firm, legal practice or in-house, where you specialise will eventually be a decision you will have to make. Each area offers different benefits and opportunities for your career:
Corporate Tax differs depending on whether you choose a path in Commerce & Industry or Financial Services:
Commerce & industry
A tax career within commerce and industry provides an opportunity to grow commercially and can eventually lead to participation in significant business decisions. You can gain greater exposure to wider tax issues and an increased in-depth knowledge of the role that you are involved in.
Companies in this sector can range from retailers to software companies, oil and gas organisations through to manufacturers and from pharmaceuticals to property companies. There is a lot of variety and diversity to be found when working in tax, the ‘workplace’ could be almost anywhere!
Opportunities in financial services are plentiful for newly qualified tax professionals, as Heads of Tax seek support for increased transactional activity and to manage reputational risk. Furthermore, when more senior opportunities arise the trend is to promote internally, which once again creates the need for newly qualified tax professionals to backfill the positions that have been vacated. Working for such an institution provides the invaluable opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the full range of financial services and products such as banking, insurance and investment management sectors and to understand their relation to tax.
Private client services
Private client services involve working with individuals to help them with their tax affairs, helping them to comply with tax regulations and manage their finances efficiently. Working within private client services opens up careers in diverse sectors within tax, such as non-domiciled individuals, private equity and entrepreneurial services.
Opportunities in these sectors exist within smaller boutique firms and family offices, where more autonomy and responsibility for a specific area of tax falls to fewer people. Read more about personal tax here.
Transfer pricing refers to the setting of prices between related companies (for example a parent company and its subsidiary) for goods or services. Transfer pricing has become a topical area within tax due to the proliferation of legislation in an ever increasing number of countries around the world.
Globalisation has led to increased international trade and cross-border transactions, and transfer pricing is an area of considerable focus in today’s economic climate across both commerce and industry and financial services. Being a cross-border transferable skill, transfer pricing offers a good route into an international tax career.
Indirect Tax is a tax made on goods or services as opposed to people or organisations, such as VAT. Taxation specialists with expertise in Indirect Tax are very much in demand due to the increasing volume of cross-border trade, the importance of cash flow within organisations and the increasing sophistication of tax regimes in many countries around the world.
Due to the nature of VAT and other Indirect taxes (such as Excise Duty, Insurance Premium Tax and Stamp Duty), opportunities to develop and further your career on an international scale are quite realistic.
People Services Tax provides both variety and the opportunity to specialise in a single element of taxation.
Opportunities within people services in expatriate tax, international assignments and global mobility have increased due to the number of individuals choosing to work, live or retire abroad.
Ultimately, tax has many opportunities to offer graduates, with clear progression in a stable industry – one of the certainties in life are taxes! High calibre graduates will always be in demand and it pays to do your research – by making informed decisions at the start of your career, you will be able to enjoy the rewards of a sound and secure role with the benefits of financial freedom for many years to come.