Friday, 13 February 2009

Casualties in the tax world

It seems there are a considerable number of people in the accountancy and tax world who have lost their jobs, and many more who will fear the axe. I was surprised to hear of a quite senior person who had left his Big Four job at a regional office having moved house and uprooted his family to move there. No matter what “leaving package” he has been given, the reality is that if he does not find another post soon his standard of living will fall and he and his family will have to draw in their horns. There are many people in the job market now in our sector and the over forty-fives will have great difficulty in finding jobs even after the recession recedes, though realistically that may not be for two or three years, even taking the more bullish view.

What will our redundant colleagues do whilst the economy bottoms out, and will they all find it harder to get back in in a profession where there is a culture of filling roles from younger and cheaper trainees rather than appointing the more experienced?

I wonder how smaller practitioners will be affected by new payers forced to come into the market as sole practitioners or small partnerships. In the online world this is easier than it used to be, but for those used to maintaining a good standard of living there would be considerable pain whilst building a practice against those of us who came into the market from the last accountancy recession. I think that many will be forced to go elsewhere and be more flexible.

I remain optimistic for my own business because it already “lives lean”, whilst providing a quality service, and there are only so many clients out there though there will be more start-ups as time moves on. For an established firm, it is important to maintain standards and market as well as we can. My firm had an advantage in that it was born at a time when there was only a downturn in the accountancy world. Now it is national and global. It is a sad situation when able people who have worked hard to be qualified and to be good at what they do, only to be dispensed with en bloc in a numbers game.

Have you submitted your Tax Return yet?
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