After conducting more than one thousand tax professional searches over three decades with the support of our team, I have learned why tax professionals leave many organizations. Given the importance of hiring tax professionals, I thought it would be helpful to share information that will help you retain your tax team longer. This article focuses on the reasons tax professionals shared about leaving and staying in tax organizations.
First, tax professionals are highly educated with many of the people we work with having earned a BS, BA, and/or MST, and/or MBA, and/or JD and/or LL.M and/or CPA. Tax professionals are smart, lifelong learners who often deal with technically sophisticated tax issues. Years ago, I spoke with a tax executive and asked him what he loved most, and he said he loved the transactions that were technically sexy. This was a tax executive who thrived on solving complex tax issues. The tax executives we have come to know over many years are smart and creative and the best of the tax profession.
What drives tax professionals to spend years and money on education, gain specialized training in a public accounting firm, a law firm, and/or a corporation? Why should tax management executives and CFOs plan for 15%-30% attrition annually? People’s lives are constantly changing; management must prepare for changes in their tax organization. It is how management prepares that will determine the successes and failures of an organization. I wrote this article to help you address these changes. There are reasons why tax experts move to other organizations and reasons tax professionals stay for many years.
My advice to anyone entering the tax profession is to start with a public accounting firm to gain the training. What often occurs in public accounting is high turnover at the three-to-five-year level of experience. The reasons that tax professionals provide us most often for leaving are stated below.
Reasons Tax Professionals Leave Public Accounting
“I did not come into the tax profession with the understanding I would need to work this hard and this many hours. I want to live a normal life with my family.”
“I want to be promoted to Manager and they are delaying my promotion to Manager.”
“I want to learn and am not receiving enough training, nor do I have a mentor here.”
“They are not paying me enough money for the hours I am working here.”
“The Partner on the project underbid the client. There is no way I can finish the work on the time they bid for the project. Therefore, I do not bill the real number of hours I worked to finish the project and end up working for free. If I do not bill out at the number of hours the Partner bid, then I may not be promoted.”
“I prefer to do the work and not charge a client for every three minutes of my day.”
Reasons Tax Professionals Leave A Law Firm
“I never imagined the working hours at a law firm would be so long. I rarely see my family since starting with this firm. The competitive environment to put in more hours at a law firm keeps me here 6-7 days a week.”
“I came in to work in international tax and the firm has placed me under a Partner who is focused on expatriate taxes, However, I want to work on international restructuring but working for that Partner is not available to me right now.”
“I want to go into a corporate tax environment to focus on the tax work. I do not want to chase clients for payments.”
“The Partner I work for has little time for me and I am looking for a better Partner/Associate relationship to grow professionally.”
“There are politics in the firm that make this environment not the right fit for me.”
Reasons Tax Professionals Leave A Corporation
“The Head of Tax never has time for me, understandably so; they are so busy. We are a forty person plus tax organization, and I feel removed from the Head of Tax.”
“What I want to do most is develop myself technically and they do not have the budget to send us to more detailed training sessions.”
“ There is a difficult personality affecting everyone in the tax department. They never do anything to remove this person, so I am going to leave. Several of us have expressed our thoughts of the negative impact this person has on the environment but no one in management is brave enough to do anything to solve the morale issue for the rest of the tax department.”
“The past few years, they have forgotten about our raises. Our tax team has saved the company a lot of money, but they never reward us a bonus for saving the company millions. I am leaving now.”
“Recruiters are calling me to do the same job with other companies, and the pay is much higher. I asked for a raise, but it goes on deaf ears, so I am leaving for money.”
“My Head of Tax (HOT) is about the same age as me and he is not going anywhere. I want to lead my own tax department and there is no upward opportunity with this company.”
How To Retain Your Tax Team Longer
Now that I have shared the reasons tax professionals tell us they leave companies, you should learn why tax professionals love to stay with their current tax organizations. These are the types of communications we receive from tax professionals in recruiting calls.
“I love working for my Head of Tax, they are very supportive and include me on important decisions effecting the company business operations. They make me feel included.”
“I am not interested in leaving as my boss has become my best friend.”
“My boss has a way to keep us eternally motivated. She sends us inspirational random quotes often. Even when she is not around and available these motivational quotes often let me know she is thinking of me. These messages are small acts of kindness. I appreciate this because we have a big tax department, and she makes the time to motivate me. It personalizes my relationship with her.”
“One of the biggest reasons I stay with this company is my Head of Tax has an annual conversation with me about my role in the tax organization to discuss where I would like to be one year from now. I know they are looking out for me because they ask if I want to move to lead a tax department with another company or stay with our current team. This demonstrates they cares about my success and support my professional advancement.”
“My Head of Tax is always fighting for us to ensure we are compensated according to market or above. My current boss advocates for me so I trust and respect them. Therefore, I am not going anywhere.”
“I worked on R&D strategy to claw back over 10 Million dollars in R&D Tax Credits. My Head of Tax made sure I received for my successful work for our organization. I appreciate the fact that he went to management to get me a nice bonus.”
“My spouse needed medical attention and my Head of Tax helped me get this time off to care for them. I will never forget her kindness and consideration when I needed it at one of the most challenging times of my professional life.”
Special Note: Never miss an opportunity to show someone on your tax team that you care!
You will retain their loyalty to your organization for a very long time.
Give Yourself A Management Edge
- Request copy of Complimentary eBook: 300 Inspirational And Motivational Quotes
- Establish A Relationship With An Experienced Tax Search Consultant: https://www.taxconnections.com/tax-executive-search-services
- Understand The High Importance Of Promoting Your Tax Expertise: You Must Promote Tax Career And Accomplishments. If You Are Not Promoting You…Who Is? TaxConnections platform provides the best vehicle to gather all your professional assets to one online location and spotlights your career accomplishments.
- Watch the two videos on the right hand column of our blog page. https://www.taxconnections.com/taxblog
- Join our tax community to get noticed for your tax expertise: https://www.taxconnections.com/membership/sign-up
Have a question? Need help in staffing your tax organization? Have a tax compensation question? Have a tax leader retiring within the next year or two?
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