Finance and accounting

Think about career development rather than promotion


Advice for tax professionals from Matthew Duquenoy, consultant with Michael Page Taxation

Despite the challenging economic conditions it would be wrong to assume that you need to put your career on hold. Some organisations may be cutting back, but in fact it's an ideal time to be thinking about building your career. In the current market employers are working hard to make the most of talent. For those people who select to stay where they are, career development becomes a bigger issue; particularly in tax.
Compared with five years ago, you may be working harder to keep your job and the already lean tax team may be even leaner, with fewer obvious options for advancement. But whether you're committed to your current employer or not, developing your role, showing creativity in overcoming obstacles, improving processes, building relationships; these are all areas that can lead to your current role evolving as well as giving you the required ammunition when the time comes to make the move externally.

Develop your tax career

Think about career development rather than promotion. After all, this is the overwhelming reason that in-house tax professionals look to move. Due to the visible grades in practice the desire is to hit the next level, in industry it is adding variety, doing more of what you enjoy, or less of what you don’t. The problem comes when there is no more work. If you have explored all avenues then a move may be on the cards, and if you have added value in your current role then this stands you in very good stead for looking externally.
In my opinion 'adding value' really is the best way of ensuring tax career development. By being indispensible you would certainly have been considered for any internal moves and be first in line for new work, but also proving to prospective employers what an exemplary addition you will be to their organisation. And this applies to all levels and areas of tax: from accountants who have improved compliance processes across the business, to managers who have coordinated and established new transfer pricing databases, to heads of tax who excel in implementing structures and establishing companies.
This 'value-add' attribute is what prospective employers are looking for, so if you have demonstrable proof of going above and beyond, particularly in these testing times, then an external move may well offer you the career advancement and development that you're looking for.
For more advice on developing your tax career, please visit the Michael Page Career Centre.