For Heads of Tax Departments

As the department leader, you know tax poses unique hiring challenges, but the news that demand for talented tax specialists far exceeds supply hasn’t necessarily hit the top brass.

Successful heads of tax know when it’s time to bring in a specialist, and TaxSearch knows how to talk so your colleagues will listen. Finance executives and HR directors are tight on time and short on bandwidth, but a bad hire or unsuccessful search is a risk you can’t take with your critical tax opening.

While it’s common to assume that filling key tax positions is no different than any other recruitment effort, the deficit of talented specialists changes things. With over three decades of experience helping heads of tax solve their staffing needs, we’ve found three persistent tax recruiting-based misunderstandings that can act as roadblocks to swift, successful hiring efforts.

Misunderstanding #1
"We are encouraged to do our own recruiting."

There’s a limited pool of high-caliber tax executives, and identifying and engaging them is not easy. While utilizing HR efforts, personal networks and advisor referrals may be advocated, or even company policy, it’s likely to result in an unsuccessful search that wastes time and creates risk exposure. 

In fact, most D.I.Y. recruitment endeavors are likely to fail because

Most HR departments are overloaded, an issue that’s compounded by the complexity of understanding the tax world and effectively communicating with those candidates. In addition, world-class tax professionals are in high demand, but low supply. Without a previous relationship or credible intermediary, getting their attention can border on impossible.

In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easy to find innumerable, self-identified ‘tax specialists’ on professional sites like LinkedIn. However, getting them to accept an invitation to connect is not. Moreover, without the benefit of an actual relationship or preexisting familiarity, it can be onerous to identify the first-class candidates the tax leader is truly seeking.

Top-tier tax professionals are also notoriously cautious, and the best do not openly seek new opportunities. Hoping these elite candidates will even notice -- let alone respond to – HR’s classified ad without the involvement of a trusted, third-party search firm is a true leap of faith. And if the imbalance of supply and demand weren’t enough, the hiring process is typically lengthy, especially without the help of a third-party firm. 

An unsuccessful search can also be costly, as tax is one of the few areas that can be a profit center. A key position that is left unstaffed or poorly filled undermines opportunities to increase shareholder value through tax planning, not to mention the unsettling lack of risk mitigation while a corresponding role remains vacant.
Much like sourcing from one’s personal network, when relying only on referrals, there’s the very real possibility that only the most active candidates are being promoted. And even in the event of a seemingly successful self-directed hire, it’s hard to ignore the nagging concern that there may have been someone better suited to the role. 

TaxSearch’s unparalleled data and deep relationships grant you access to the entire marketplace. Rather than narrowing the field of options, TaxSearch provides the peace of mind that the tax professional you select is the best possible match for the role.

All the same, we understand that there are times when a self-sourced candidate seems too good to overlook, and we encourage you to pursue those opportunities first. Moreover, because of our longstanding relationships in the industry, it’s likely we’ll have useful intelligence on those individuals. In addition, we are willing to incorporate any potential applicants that have been sent your way into our search process as part of a joint effort to find the ideal tax professional for your critical position. 

TaxSearch’s deep relationships and outstanding reputation ensure that even seemingly unavailable candidates will take our calls, and due to our years of specialization, we can easily pinpoint the best matches for your company. Moreover, when presented with the right opportunity, these top-tier tax professionals are willing to have the tough, but critical conversations with us, so that we can be certain their goals are in alignment with yours.

Misunderstanding #2
"All tax-specific firms are the same."

Whether your company has an existing relationship with or is considering the proposal of another boutique retainer firm, it’s common for finance executives and HR directors to presume that all tax-focused firms are equal. 

But while there are other firms that say they are tax specialists, none of them have the relationships or credibility in the market that TaxSearch does. Presuming all firms offer the same outcome is as illogical as assuming all attorneys, doctors or mechanics are the same. TaxSearch’s data and relationships are unparalleled, and offer the ability to identify and reach the ideal, seemingly ‘off the market’ candidates.

Similarly, our methodology is unique and our policy of transparency affords those high-demand, low-supply individuals the confidence to quietly explore your opportunity to see if it’s a good fit. 

What’s more, in the 30+ years TaxSearch has been in business, we have never – not even once -- had a global general retainer or boutique firm be asked to come in and clean up a search we didn’t fill. In contrast, over the last 12 months, we’ve been called in multiple times to complete one of their search failures.

At TaxSearch, we’re experts, specialists in tax, with the deepest relationships and most credibility in the market.

Misunderstanding #3
"General retainer firms already know us and offer more."

Most companies are already engaged with a general retainer firm, and many financial leaders and HR professionals assume that they will be more effective in identifying candidates for critical tax leadership roles because they:

  1. Have worked with the company previously.
  2. Know the organization and culture.
  3. Have a global outreach.

But while these advantages are valid, they’re short-lived. 

Yes, general retainer firms possess an international network and associations all over the world, but many of those relationships have resulted in multiple “off limits” constraints. TaxSearch also has access to a worldwide pool of talented tax professionals, but we only work with a small, select group of corporate clients. These limited constraints, combined with our singular reputation, global reach and sole focus on tax, have culminated in an immense sourcing pool with no equal.

Although a general retainer firm may have a head start with respect to past experience and related insight, so long as the client and individual hiring authority are willing to partner with us to share information, TaxSearch can quickly get up to speed on a company’s culture in order to understand their needs. Moreover, we will collaborate with key players to ascertain KPIs and major metrics, as we seek to understand the corporate culture. 

In fact, learning the nuances of a company’s culture is a cinch. Filling your most critical tax roles by seeking out the talent that will bring you the most shareholder value, while also seamlessly meshing within that existing culture is not so simple… And is also what sets us apart.

We’re not just a recruiting firm, we’re a partner. TaxSearch solves your tax staffing problems not only by connecting you with superior talent, but by helping you with retention and development. We’re dedicated to the tax profession and believe in collaborating to help build and maintain world-class tax departments. 

While we limit the number of new clients we take on in order to continue to effectively recruit, we offer a free, no-obligation consultative search analysis meeting to determine that our goals are compatible. At TaxSearch, our goal is for mutual success, and we will only take on an open position where we’re 100% confident we will exceed your expectations.

Your department’s success requires top talent for critical tax roles; count on TaxSearch to find it. Start here today.