Career Change from Tax to Finance?

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I currently work at a Big 4 in Corporate Tax and I'm not entirely enjoying it. I started on the Tax grad programme about a year after uni (spent the year in between as an account manager at a Marketing company) and I've now been working in Tax for 5 years. I'm ACA qualified with 1 year PQE and I've worked in 3 different areas of tax - a mix of Personal & Corporate Tax. I'm worried that I'm pigeonholed into a Tax career and don't particularly envision myself having a fulfilling career in tax. My ideal role would be in Finance - either Finance Analyst/Manager or FP&A, which I feel I would enjoy a lot more (I prefer numbers over legislation).

I've applied to these types of roles at various size companies, but my applications have constantly been rejected straight off the bat and I haven't gotten to any interview stages. I've been brushing up on my Finance/Accounting knowledge so I can be ready for any technical stages of the interview (if I ever do get one!). I've tailored my CV as much as I can to gear it towards these types of roles. I'm now struggling to figure out what my next move should be. It seems near impossible to move internally within my current company to an Audit/Corporate Finance role and I would like to have these conversations with my manager in the near future.

Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations on how I could transition out of Tax?

Replies (7)

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the sea otter
By memyself-eye
03rd Aug 2023 09:14

You prefer numbers over legislation - there's your error.
Computers can 'do' numbers, humans interpret and apply 'legislation' - that's what employers want.
Numbers don't change (one and one is still two even for accountants), legislation does change and gets more burdensome over time.
It's the ability to keep up with and adapt to those changes that will get your career moving.
Alter your thinking. Good luck.

Thanks (1)
Replying to memyself-eye:
By nuttyalmond98765
09th Aug 2023 13:40

You make a good point re computers vs humans. I've started looking into the various Finance career paths and I'm strongly leaning towards Commercial Finance, which sounds a lot more interesting than the Financial Accounting/Reporting side.

I personally haven't enjoyed the various roles I've had within Tax, although this could be down to the teams I've been in. I'm lacking passion in my day to day work and don't find my current role fulfilling, hence looking to change career paths.

Thanks for the advice!

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By Leywood
03rd Aug 2023 09:35

Maybe try a smaller practice, more generalist role, then move when you have some experience.

Dont use the word 'gotten'.

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paddle steamer
03rd Aug 2023 09:41

Do the corporate finance deals not usually have some tax angles/considerations within their creation?

Certainly when structuring property development transactions they usually do (in my experience), could you meantime say stay in tax with your firm but get your foot in the door by being part of the transaction team initially on the tax bits, thus over time polishing your CV with slightly more relevant experience (surely some of the legal/finance/security parts will rub off on you over time)

I would say that whilst I work in house and these days do not raise money the tax angles to me are some of the most interesting bits, if you can get from A to B by 2 routes, but route 1 saves £150k, then that to me is more satisfying than shaving 10 basis points from the interest costs or getting bank to say take slightly less security.

However each to his/her own, I did enjoy excel modelling various approaches to say development/project problems and preparing the pack for the bank but once that was done the implementation was to me always a grind and the tax side was actually the next best sexy bit.

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By David Ex
03rd Aug 2023 11:22

Always thought tax was more interesting than churning out monthly accounts and budgets but I guess it’s the specifics of a particular role that matters.

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By paul.benny
03rd Aug 2023 11:30

If your experience is entirely tax, you have any uphill struggle to get a FP&A role or similar. The leap is too great when you don't have even vaguely relevant experience.
And, fwiw, I don't usually ask technical questions at interview, unless I'm looking for something very specific.

You might fare better outside practice - as an in-house specialist for a company: The focus is different for a start and opportunities may arise to move sideways.

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By Self-Employed and Happy
03rd Aug 2023 13:28

Having worked for a top 50 I applied and after initially getting rejected was called a few times to be offered the job I wanted, the problem I saw was exactly as described, you'll probably be amazing at one particular thing and be pigeon holed, we once had someone join our office who was an auditor for a Big 4, utterly hopeless at Accounts and even at what I would regard as basic Tax.

If you were more Accounts based you'd find it a bit easier to get Finance roles, but unless you want to go back to basics (low end salary) you're going to struggle.

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