Q. You recently rebranded your company. Why ?
After operating as City Skills for nearly 4 years we felt that the name and brand wasn’t quite connecting with the specialist and very niche profession that we cover. We focus our energies purely around U.S International tax professionals across a number of markets and so we felt having a name that made it very clear who we are and what we do was the best way for us to move forward into the next chapter of our businesses evolution. We are very excited about our new name and branding and feel it will resonate with the candidates and clients we serve.
Q. Can you tell me more about your areas of expertise and the types of clients you work with?
We work with predominantly accounting practices (CPA Firms if you’re in America!) and international law firms who offer any type US International tax services. This could be private client, expatriate or corporate tax focused. We work with a number of Big 4 firms both in Europe and across the USA as well as many other well established firms. We also have a keen interest in working with boutique firms who rely on us heavily to help them source high caliber talent as they seek to begin or further develop their US International Tax offering. Our clients are scattered across the globe and include locations such as London, San Francisco, New York, Dubai, Singapore, Frankfurt and Toronto.
Q. How easy is it for US tax professionals to come and work in the EMEA region ?
It’s never easy to gain employment as a US tax professional in the EMEA region. Firms will not just hire and relocate anyone. They typically seek at least 4-5 years US international tax experience gained within a high calibre accountancy practice, client facing experience as well as relevant qualifications (LLM, JD, CPA or Enrolled Agent). Even if you have these prerequisites you will need to convince the firm that you are passionate and committed to relocating to the new jurisdiction on a long term basis.
Some locations are of course more challenging than others. For example, Switzerland over the past 18 months has become a lot more challenging for Non EU US tax professionals to obtain work permits than it was say 4 years ago. This has been largely due to a number of Swiss cantons placing heavy scrutiny over applications being made by Non- EU workers as they seek to protect employment opportunities for their countries nationals. London for example poses far less barriers for US tax professionals for as long as the firm you are applying to possesses the license to be able to employ overseas workers.
From the very start of our business we have been helping professionals relocate to Europe. There are a lot of things to consider when making such a move outside of the usual salary, job description and growth opportunity considerations. Our advice is to speak with a recruiter who has experience helping individuals relocate as they would hopefully offer you some invaluable insight and save you a lot of research time on Google!
Q What predictions do you make about the US International tax recruitment market for 2016?
I think the market for such professionals will remain strong in 2016. We have started hearing murmurs from our clients that multi-year individual tax work, which over the last few years been somewhat of a “cash cow” for many firms is starting to decline and I would expect to see some of these firms shifting more of their attention to US corporate tax within the middle markets and helping US high net worth individuals with their closely held businesses. US International Tax has been a Top 3 specialty service within CPA firms across the USA for the past 3 years. I would expect this to still be the case in 2016. Firms will continue to want to strengthen their talent base in this area as they seek to take advantage of the forever growing market of overseas businesses of varying sizes wanting to do business in the USA and vice versa.
Q. What differences have you noticed between the UK and US tax recruitment markets ?
I think the biggest difference between the US and UK recruitment markets is the speed at which the US market moves. US firms know who they want when they see them and come across as a little more decisive. They don’t necessarily need to have seen 3 or 4 candidates before they can make a hiring decision. If the right candidate is presented to them they will hire them and hire them quickly. The fact that the US use “at will” contracts means that a professional can resign their current role and start with a new firm in a matter of days of accepting an offer of employment. This is of course a lot quicker than in the UK where typically a professional will have anything from a 4 week to 3 month notice period. The other key difference between the US and UK markets is that the US workforce has historically been a mobile work force. It is very common for a US professional to have worked in 3 different cities before reaching the age of 30. Firms are very willing and open to professionals who are relocating from a different city and will usually support them by way of flying them out to interview, assisting with relocation costs and providing them with insight into their potential new city. If you contrast this to the UK where most professionals in London would not consider relocating to Manchester or Birmingham for work purposes. Yes the dynamics of these markets are of course very different but we have found US professionals to have a much more “go getter, we will go where the work is” attitude.
Q. There seems to be an increasing number of tax recruiters who are expanding their business from domestic recruitment to include cross-border recruitment. Why do you think this is?
For many recruiters I don’t think this is a strategic move but more a sign of the times. Many people in general including of course tax professionals want to at some stage in their careers work in a different city or country whether this be to enhance their experience or gain some type of specific exposure, further develop their skills or just out of personal choice. With this of course comes the need for the recruiters they work with to be able to offer them cross border opportunities. We have been observing this trend for some time and now we receive daily calls from US tax professionals who want to move to new locations. Many of the professionals we work with see us as there trusted advisors so whether they are looking for a move within the US or internationally they know that they can call us and we can give them sound advice and perhaps present them with job opportunities.
Q. Given that you service clients across many time zones, how do you structure your working day?
In short, my days are very long! Typically I will work from 8am through to 11pm. This is sometimes extended if I am working on assignment on the West Coast of the USA where they are 8 hours behind London. I split my day in to two mini days, 8am-1pm I will work my European markets then 2pm – 11pm I will work my US and other markets which is where the bulk of our clients are. This sounds simple enough but for anyone who is already in recruitment you will know that structures can very easily go out of the window if a pressing matter comes up. It is not easy and not for everyone but I love it!
Chris Bale: “Bola, I really appreciate you speaking to etaxjobs and giving us your expert view of the US tax market, both domestic and international”
Recent Placements made by Bola Yusuff:
· International Tax Leader – CPA Firm – Relocated, Miami to Washington DC
· US Corporate Tax of Counsel – International Law Firm – Singapore
· US Corporate Tax Manager – Big 4 – Relocated, Chicago to Frankfurt
· International Tax Sr Associate – CPA Firm – Relocated, Munich to Miami
· US Private Client Tax Sr Manager – Tax Firm – Relocated from Toronto to London
· US Corporate Tax Sr Associate – Big 4 Firm – Relocated, Washington DC to London
· US Expatriate Tax Manager – Big 4 – Relocated, Toronto to Qatar
· In-House US Tax Adviser – Wealth Management Firm – London
· US/UK Private Client Tax Senior Manager – Tax Firm – London
Bola is the owner of International Tax Search (formerly CitySkills). You can contact him on +44 – 203-137-2768 or by email: email@example.com. To view the current tax vacancies that International Tax Search is handling, please click here.