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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

What makes a top flight Group Tax Director?

Friday, 14 December 2007

By Simon Godley

The latest issue of Tax Careers magazine (December 2007) features a profile of Joel Walters, Group Tax Director of Vodafone. It's an interesting article as it interviews Joel, and outlines how he got to where he is now ie Global Head of Tax for one of the world's largest and highest profile companies.

What is mostly interesting, and the theme that underpins the article, is that he has not micro-managed his career through setting of targets and goals each year etc, rather when he has seen opportunities in front of him, he has seized them. For example, in 1986, he decided to shift across to a tax role in an accountancy firm from a law firm, and then shortly after move to a firm in Washington DC, just when the last major re-write of tax law was being released. He focused and mastered these new rules, and found ways of doing tax planning around them.

Later on in his career, he stepped out of tax a couple of times to work in two start-up companies. Here, he picked up very valuable commercial experience of getting a small business off the ground, and then translated and used this experience when he returned to tax. His quote being 'Great tax people are those who also have business experience. Just being a tax expert alone will not make you a great business partner within a business'.

I think there are two key drivers to be possibly learnt from this article - one is about taking risk, and the other is about how hard you work. Joel Walters has benefited in a very harmonious way from both areas - he has been prepared to take a risk in his career, and for this he has been rewarded. When he has then found himself in an interesting role, he has worked very hard at it, and as a result has got ahead of the game.

Some people take risks, and they don't work out, and so some may say that Joel has been lucky in his career. But I think, and I'm possibly quoting a famous successful person here, that the harder you work, the luckier you become.

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posted by Simon Godley


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