Interview: Kate Flanagan, Barden

19 Nov 2017 | 12.09 pm

Interview: Kate Flanagan, Barden

'Tax professionals will need to have a more rounded skill set'

19 Nov 2017 | 12.09 pm

Barden is a specialist finance, accounting and tax recruitment practice with offices in Cork and Dublin. Partner Kate Flanagan is a chartered tax advisor with eight years’ tax recruitment experience


How important is the tax recruitment element of your business?

Barden is a specialised finance, accounting and tax recruitment practice.  Our tax specialism contributes significantly to our business not only from a revenue perspective but from a market and business development perspective.  Having a dedicated tax desk enables us to offer unique insights and services within the wider finance community.

Grown in interesting ways?  Tax has become more complex over recent years and the gap between the role and demands of the tax practioner within practice and the in-house tax advisor within the corporate sector has narrowed.  This has resulted in an increase in opportunities in the Irish market and is slowly diminishing the “traditional” career options for tax professionals.

How many tax-related roles you have filled in the last year?

Revenue related to tax recruitment has contributed significantly to the Barden business over the last 12 months.  With over 90 assignments, we have been engaged by accounting, legal & tax firms, and across industry and financial service companies to identify tax talent.

The increase in activity was reflective of favourable market conditions and a continued investment within our own business– new partner appointment of Kate Flanagan (Chartered tax advisor with 8 years tax recruitment experience).  We envisage the trend to continue as Kate grows the team and tax is expected to experience the fastest growth rate over the next 12 months.

Have any industry sectors been to the fore in recruiting tax professionals? 

Professional services firms have undoubtedly been at the forefront of recruiting tax professionals.  The changing tax landscape is increasing demands for specialist services from both international and domestic companies.    This demand has also arisen due to a general pick up in the economy across all industry sectors including pharma, technology, retail, FMCG, banking, aircraft leasing, insurance and the public sector.

Although the firms have been the dominant players in the hiring, there has also been a noticeable increase in the numbers of tax professionals being recruited into in-house tax teams of large corporates headquartered in Ireland, due to the same reasons above and of course to reduce fees and reliance on the professional services firms.

Is the tax sector changing in terms of the skills it requires from tax professionals? 

Absolutely.   Disruptive forces, including globalisation and digitalisation mean that tax professionals are undergoing an evolution in the skills necessary.  The ability to translate complex tax matters into a clear concise manner is the no 1 skill required by virtually all hiring managers.  While a strong technical orientation will remain important, the tax professional of the future will need to have a more rounded skillset.  The emergence of the “tax technologist” who understands data analytics, as well as the tax rules will be required so that tax professionals can add value in innovative ways.

Do you think that Brexit will impact on the tax advise sector?

Yes, this period of uncertainty will have an impact for businesses including potential tax implications for investors and taxpayers in Ireland, particularly those where there is a close business relationship with the UK.   Initially there will be little impact on direct and indirect taxes however the scope of future tax changes will be determined by the outcome of the negotiations.  However, as most indirect taxes are EU based taxes, it is likely to assume that these will be impacted more by Brexit than direct taxes.  As a result, there will be an increase in the demand for indirect tax specialists.

Furthermore, talent has become one of the key assets of most businesses.   As a result of Brexit, businesses will need to give consideration for to a number of issues related to their talent, including immigration, tax and social security and mobility policy implications.  Tax Costs associated with assignees working in the UK (or vice versa) will need to be reviewed to ensure they are fit for purpose going forward.  An increase in the demand for global mobility/human capital tax specialists will arise.

Overall there will be an increase in the need for tax advisors to help businesses develop a Brexit strategy and advise on the tax implications of the many changes that will come about post negotiations.

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