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Scarcity of tax professionals persists: "Prepare starters for tax technology"

The job market outlook for tax specialists has been favorable for years, and it is expected to remain so. New laws, regulations, and the recent digitalisation of tax processes ensure that tax professionals have a steady stream of work. Paul-Joffré Esterhuizen, specialised in tax recruitment, shares his insights about the job market for tax professionals. 

Shortages across the board 

The amount of tax and compliance professionals continues to be scarce and will probably remain so. According to Esterhuizen, there are several reasons for this. ‘’First, not many professionals are interested in the tax and compliance work area.

Additionally, more experienced professionals in the field are hesitant to switch careers; many of them tend to be risk averse. Furthermore, the increasing complexity of tax due to digitalisation and new laws and regulations, creates more workload for tax professionals. In the meantime, the number of new entrants at the tax job market does not increase''.

Increasing workload due to Pillar Two regulations

One of the upcoming laws that tax professionals have to handle is the “Minimum Tax Rate Act 2024’’, also known as Pillar Two. This legislation aims to ensure that large multinational corporations pay a minimum of 15% profit tax, with the objective of eliminating rate differences between countries and preventing tax avoidance. This reporting requirement will come into effect by 2025, placing an increased burden on tax specialists.

"Significant steps must be taken in the short term to adequately prepare for and comply with these new regulations. Tax specialists will be responsible for these tasks," explains Esterhuizen. "Some firms are already preparing for Pillar Two, while others are waiting to see what the Big Four firms do. However, sooner or later, all tax specialists must implement these changes. Balancing this with their regular workload can be challenging."

Growing demand for digitalisation 

In addition, Esterhuizen observes a different trend within the tax field: tax technology. "More and more organisations want to automate repetitive tax processes, partly due to the ongoing shortage of tax professionals. This is possible, but it requires professionals who possess a deep understanding of the systems that support not only digitalisation, but also all the tax regulations. Currently, finding tax professionals who are experts in both areas is extremely difficult."

Tax technology: the best choice 

According to Esterhuizen, the solution to this shortage begins at universities. "I recommend universities to prioritise tax technology in their courses. Data driven work is the future within tax and in many other disciplines. The new generation of tax specialists, currently studying Tax Law or Tax Economics, must be prepared for this."

Esterhuizen also has advice for the next generation of tax professionals. "I would suggest focusing on tax return work in your first job, so you can gain experience within tax technology. It may be tempting to start immediately with tax advisory work, but it is better to start with this when you have more experience. If you start specialising in tax return work and digitalisation, you can give better advice to clients when you are a senior."

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Do you need personal advice about recruiting tax professionals? Please reach out to Paul-Joffré Esterhuizen via pj.esterhuizen@robertwalters.com or via 020 644 4655.


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