It feels like a very positive start to the year for the tax technology market, with momentum from 2013 being maintained as we settle into 2014.
The Big Four specialist teams that focus on tax technology in the UK (mostly centred in London) continue to look to add strategic hires, those that can go-to-market with specialised tax systems knowledge and experience of client projects. Professional services firms are also looking to widen out their teams at the more junior end (below Manager grades) to form more of a ‘pyramid’ shape to the team. This is good news for junior tax professionals with a leaning towards IT that may look to specialise in the sector. On the client side, it seems that the pipeline for ERP related indirect tax and tax accounting systems projects within the larger-end multinationals remains good.
The smaller specialist consultancies and implementation partner firms are also benefitting from this as they get locked into long-term SAP roll-outs and upgrades, often involving the tax domains.
The tax software houses also remain busy – their levels of innovation on new products and new releases have been quite high, and we are seeing new products coming into the market, in particular products which solve some of the VAT determination and VAT reporting requirements within SAP. This is good news for the market as it leads to a better range of options on the customer side, and will lead to more implementations projects over the next 1-2 years, further increasing the demand for specialists in the tax technology field.
We are generally seeing that the area of tax analytics and diagnostics through use of technology as a growth area.
In terms of activity within industry, we are seeing the occasional tax technology focused role coming up based within an in-house tax function, or as a bridging role between tax and IT. This type of role will only spring up in a top tier multinational i.e. FTSE 20 / Global 100 type business or large global financial services group, and is more likely to be SAP-Indirect Tax related. We expect this type of role to come up more frequently as the use of tax technology systems matures in the UK and Eurozone.
We currently see our main markets revolving around London and South East in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium, with other activity areas in parts of Eastern Europe due to positioning and development of finance shared service centres which tend to house a tax compliance / tax process function.