Corporate Tax Executives: Hiring Trends You Need To Know

When you have been searching for tax executives for 30+ years you see hiring trends long before tax organizations realize what is happening. For tax executives who have worked with me over many years to build their tax organizations, I am going to share what we are seeing in the market right now so you are better prepared.

There is an explosion of tax opportunities about to reach the market of the likes I have not seen since TRA 1986 under President Reagan.

All the changes are coming and companies are gearing up to understand the impact of the new tax law changes. In the months ahead, you will experience a highly competitive environment for corporate tax expertise. Allow me to provide you some insight into trends unfolding today behind the scenes as I see it coming on fast!

For instance, there are more M&A Tax Counsel opportunities than I have seen in a long time because M&A activity is hot! It will be even hotter as multinationals repatriate earnings back to the United States so companies can continue to acquire and grow. Want to know what I discovered recently when I researched what the law firms and Big Four firms were hiring? Eighty-percent of the new lawyers hired in M&A tax have an L.L.M.

These tax professionals are spread out all over the country and they work hard and long hours. Believe me, I am an expert on these searches for my corporate clients as I know where people are hidden and what location they are willing to look at another opportunity. I also know it is hard work to get them to the table to talk to clients in the first place because they are busy working on deals.

The smart companies who get M&A tax lawyers on board from the public accounting and law firms offer them a more normal work life. One New York tax lawyer I spoke to recently said “If you come in a 7:00 AM and go home at 9:00 PM they wonder why you are leaving the building so early!” When you are pressing your tax lawyers to work longer hours and bill more time, you lose something along the way. Allow me to share with you that the major law firms across the country are literally missing the rare 5-8 year tax lawyer and the public accounting firms are missing them, too. There is a very high demand for 5-8 year tax lawyers and very low supply.

As I was talking to a Tax Leader in one of the national firms about this he told me privately “On exit interviews tax professionals tell us they leave because of the demands of time on their life. They want some balance in their lives. In fact, some are leaving the profession altogether.” Evidently, no one told them how hard tax professionals work and how many deadlines they must continually meet.

While I am sharing trends, you need to prepare for turnover in the tax provision role since it is a high turnover job. My advice to every leader I work with is “Prepare for high turnover in the tax provision role because they start looking in year three as it is not fun anymore…they tell me privately it is a fire drill and they do not want to do the job anymore. You always need a backup tax provision person in the wings in training as this is the smartest thing to do, unless you want to do the job yourself. These are valuable tax professionals but they burn out easily doing this job over and over again. Be prepared to train a backup long before you ever need one to do the tax provision otherwise you will be doing this job, too!

Now I will share one more bit of fruit of my labor that you need to know now. Do not allow your human resources team to think they will find you the tax expertise they need. It is wishful thinking on their part because no human resource person can handle the 25 jobs they are given to fill and also provide you the dedicated effort that a highly experienced retained tax search professional gives you on a search.

You must educate management that they need to get an expert in tax search because most companies utilizing human resources are now searching for months to get the expertise they need for their tax organizations.  Start educating your management team now and “Remember I told you so!”

Please call me at 858.999.0053 if you have any questions or email


Kat Jennings, TaxConnections, CEO and Founder and Advisory Team provides three areas of services: 1) Internationally recognized, retained executive search services for multinational corporations, public accounting firms, and law firms; 2) Introductions of sellers to buyers of small and medium size accounting firms; and 3) Provide brand building and education services that support and prepare accounting firm owners to buy/sell an accounting practice. We focus on educating the journey to sell a practice and how to increase firm revenue prior to any sale. Our program ensures you start years prior to a sale by learning what is expected of you during the selling process, and introducing firm Partners to cross selling opportunities that are easy to implement and reduce your workload at the same time. We introduce you to value added connections to smartly grow revenue in your accounting practice.

Kat Jennings has been retained by organizations worldwide to locate tax professionals with highly specialized tax knowledge and expertise. She has a thorough understanding of the tax business community, with a proven record of stellar performances matching professionals with organizations. Bringing two parties together to work successfully is the art of understanding personalities, cultural fit, expectations by both parties, flexible or inflexible work environments, understanding what drives and motivates each party, and revolves around the personality and ethics of each executive team.

Kat is a widely recognized expert in high level, tax executive search, as well as connecting buyers and sellers of accounting firms. TaxConnections provides and educates small to medium size accounting firms owners and Partners how to prepare and sell their firms so they can build a succession plan for their retirement. With larger firms seeking to acquire smaller accounting practices, there is a real need to help firm owners prepare to be acquired. Most firm owners are unaware they are not ready to sell when they decide to retire. TaxConnections educates firm owners’ what they need to do years in advance of selling an accounting firm practice.
Senior tax executives expect the utmost privacy when being introduced to multinational organizations about a new tax opportunity under consideration. Having said that, companies searching for a new head of tax expecting tax executive candidates to submit their resume through a resume portal, will never see a full slate of outstanding tax executives available due to a candidates’ desire for greater privacy. This is why privacy focused Uber Tax Recruiters consistently outperform in-house recruiters on tax executive searches.

We offer our clients a Performance Retainer Agreement arrangement so their HR department can still recruit and compete with the tax candidates we present on Head of Tax searches. The client pays us a partial fee upfront, and if they find a candidate they deem better than we introduce to them, we forfeit the final fee. Most of the time, they love and prefer our private introductions to tax executive candidates better than what they source through their own resume portals.

When we represent selling/buying small to medium-sized firms, firm owners/partners also demand greater privacy when considering the sale of their practice. TaxConnections provides a safe place to discuss their business needs, elevate their practices’ online reputation, and increase revenue through new streams of business development by outsourcing work and partnering with other firms. Over three decades, we have worked tirelessly to build relationships between firm owners most organizations rarely have access to in the world of tax. There are numerous possibilities you may never have considered previously to bolster the value of your practice and service offerings.

As a globally recognized consultant to multinational organizations, accounting firms, and law firms searching for tax expertise, Kat has been retained by public accounting firms, law firms, and corporations worldwide including Apple Computer, AC Neilson, Accenture, Agilent Technologies, Allergan, Alza, American Express, American Media, Aon, Baker & McKenzie, Barclays Bank, Bechtel, Cargill, Carl Zieuss Vision, Century Aluminum, Chevron, Clorox, Citigroup, Commercials Metals, Constellation Energy, Countrywide, Del Monte, Deloitte Touche, DFS, DLA Piper, E&J Gallo Winery, Electronic Arts, Ernst &Young, Fox Entertainment, Fremont Investments, General Electric,General Motors, Herbalife, Hewlett Packard, Hyatt, Intel, Jones Lang LaSalle, Kimco Realty, KLA Tencor, Koch Industries, KPMG, Levi Strauss, Liberty Mutual, LKQ, Loews, Logitech, Lucas Film, Maersk, McKesson, Nalco, Newell Rubbermaid, Nissan, Oracle, Orbitax, Pacific Gas & Electric, PwC, QAD, SAIC, SanDisk, Sanmina, Sempra Energy, SONY, Synopsys, Ticketmaster, Trimble Navigation, Toyota, Univar, Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo, Vertex, Yahoo, Xilinx, and many more not listed here.
Contact Kat at 858,999.0053 Office/858.232.4415 Cell or to request a private consultation regarding the sale of your practice, adding top talent to your organization, or merging your practice with another firm owner with a book of business. The possibilities are endless; if you have a dream of a new vision for your professional life; we will scout opportunities throughout the market to make it happen.

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