Since starting my Tax recruitment career back in 2014 one of the most common questions that is posed to me is ‘what are the pros and cons of working In-House versus within Practice?’
The first thing to point out within this argument is that there are less In-House roles across the Thames Valley than there are roles in Practice. So when making the move you may have to be slightly more patient to move out than you would be if you were happy to move from one Practice to another.
When working in Practice your portfolio will consist of a number of different organisations, which could give you a broad view of industries. However, working In-House will allow you to gain a greater understanding of an organisation. You will have the chance to add more commercial worth and you will deal with people across different areas of an organisation. You are also likely to be able to gain a wider practical tax knowledge. If you happen to have started in a larger Practice your experience can be restricted to one area, but moving In-House you will gain the opportunity to build more rounded experience. Another aspect that many enjoy is the chance to see a job through from start to finish. Practices are often called upon to help with projects, but generally only where specific expertise is required. When working In-House you should be involved within the whole project cycle. Again this gives broader, rounded experience.
From a financial perspective the remuneration can be higher In-House and there are often higher bonus’s that go along with the role. The work-life balance should also be better with less travel and more control over your own workload and deadlines.
Working in Practice you are likely to be viewed as more ‘specialist’ in one particular area. As I already mentioned many people would like a broader experience and more varied role, however, this does not suit everyone. You are also less likely to be involved in advisory and planning working In-House, with the majority of roles involving more reporting and compliance work. It will also sound obvious, but if you are the sort of person that enjoys less ‘routine’ then working In-House may not suit. Although you will gain exposure to a wider birth of people internally, you may miss the chance to work with multiple clients.
The other thing that can be harder to obtain In-House is career progression. The departments tend to be smaller than you will find in Practice and therefor it is not as easy to move up. There are some very large tax departments In-House locally, but more often you may be the only In-House person or one person within a small team.
One thing that is certain is that you can have a fulfilling career either In-House or in Practice. It is very much a personal decision and one that requires a lot of thought. It is harder to move out of Practice once you have moved to Manager level and beyond because of the lack of In-House roles paying an equivalent salary and the fact that you will probably have become even more specialised in one area.
Original Author - Tony Campbell