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About In House Tax

About In House Tax

This weblog is a news and views site for tax professionals within the UK and international in-house tax community.  You will find information about appointments and people moves in and around the in-house tax market, issues affecting the in-house tax professional, opinions on the state of the tax job market, updates on tax technology, and other general thoughts of the day.

Hope you find it useful.

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Location: St Albans, United Kingdom

This site has been developed by Simon Godley, who also runs the niche tax recruitment company Talentpool Selection . Simon spends a lot of his time placing tax specialists into FTSE companies, large in-bound groups and some professional services organisations. He also recruits and is well networked around the UK tax technology and VAT markets.

Tax News

Credit Crunch - Impact on in-house tax jobs?

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

I am now hearing from a few independant sources of recruitment freezes affecting the large corporations and global banks in London that are looking to recuit. This is all quite worrying, and it would seem that this time the banks are not being slow off the mark to bring down the recruitment shutters. Although I guess this time the potential financial crises is happening in their back yard, rather than being sparked by an Enron or dot-com crash, and so they should know when to stop hiring.

Bob Reynolds, editor of Tax Careers, comments in their latest issue that recruiters are in somewhat of self-denial about what may happen to jobs in financial institutions, and that their attitude seems to be stay calm, your jobs are safe, everything will be OK. Bob responds with 'The banks will make some cuts and then, if the global economy improves, attempt to recruit again'. I would tend to agree with Bob on that.

If this potential crises does end up hitting us all hard, then in terms of in-house tax jobs, I suspect that it will be the major top tier banks and corporate giants that will need to cut in some areas, but generally in-house tax teams tend to stay fairly resilient in down turns. Tax teams within second tier banks and most other FTSE companies should stay at roughly the same size through a turbulent time. Some stand-alone tax roles may be at risk, but I think it will depend on their particular corporate sector.

The current nervousness in the market could all blow over in the next few months, and us recruiters will be smiling again, but I sense that the next couple of years could be a bit more difficult.

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posted by Simon Godley

Tax Compliance (in-house) a different location?

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Over the last 2-5 years, some of the large groups (mostly UK PLC) have relocated their tax compliance team to a different location in the UK. Typically with a HQ tax function based in London, they have moved the CT compliance function to somewhere like, eg Bristol or Sussex.

I have spoken recently with a couple of tax contacts in industry, and I am not entirely sure of the rationale here, maybe I am missing something?

Looking at the cost side, which is always the main driver, there will be theoretically a lower cost (ie lower salary) if you have someone based in Bristol rather than London. However, the supply of skilled candidates in that location is vastly reduced, companies often find that they can't recruit someone within the budget, the budget gets stretched, and they have to offer a salary that is closer to London levels anyway. Whilst the role is vacant, they have the option of hiring a temp/contract tax person, but the cost of the this will be higher (due to premium hourly/daily rates for temps) than a full time person in London. There is also the not insignigicant recruitment fees for hiring the people in the new location, partly because they will struggle to get people to relocate in the same role.

Clearly the other main cost is the rent/lease of the space needed for the team. I don't have details of corporate rents, but it may be a significant cost reduction to have 4 tax accountants sitting in Swindon rather than London, I'm not sure. This could be where the answer lies.

The other issue is communication, which has much more of an intangible value. The question is whether a tax compliance person will pick up more relevant information, and therefore do a better job, if they are sat with the other group tax members, compared to being sat in a far off remote location. My feeling is that they would pick up relevant information quicker if they are sat with group tax in London.

The caveat to all this is that I am not a Head of Tax trying to stick to a tight budget, and no doubt I am missing several other issues on this subject.

Any comments / debate on this very welcome.

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posted by Simon Godley

Extra holidays - impact on business

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The introduction of eight additional days’ holiday entitlement could have serious consequences for some businesses.

That is the warning from the Forum of Private Business (FPB), which is concerned that firms that do not currently give their employees 28 days’ paid leave every year will have to take cost-cutting measures to cope with the changes.

The government has published new regulations to boost the minimum holiday entitlement from 20 days a year to 24 days from October 2008, and to 28 days from April 2009. All part-time workers will be entitled to the extra holidays pro rata.

The FPB’s Research Manager, Rebecca Leavers, said business owners will not just be hit by the cost of finding cover for employees on leave. ‘Although it is true that there will be a substantial cost for some firms in terms of reduced productivity or finding extra cover for workers on leave, the impact on smaller businesses doesn’t end there,’ she said. ‘There is also the administration of such a change – contracts will have to be rewritten, for example.’

The Government claims businesses would benefit from reduced absenteeism and a more motivated workforce – but Ms Leavers is reserving judgement.

‘Many employers, who have a good relationship with their staff and actively promote flexible working, and the health and safety of employees in the workplace, still suffer from absenteeism,’ she says.

SG comment - what the above article does not reveal is that the proposed 24 and 28 days would include bank holidays, so I don't think this has major shakes. Not sure about other sectors, but all tax professionals I see have a minimum of 20 days holidays plus bank holidays, so the above proposals won't really change anything.

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posted by Simon Godley

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