US Tax Market 2017 Review

Last year we predicted that the ‘perfect storm’ would hit the US tax profession in 2017.

The ‘perfect storm’ we anticipated was caused by a range of factors that, combined, had the potential to shake up the tax market on a major scale. These elements were the following: Tax Reform, new rules and regulations from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the demographic shift. However, in reality, the Tax Reform did not sync with the other two elements, meaning we did not see a ‘perfect storm’ in the manner we had anticipated.

What did we see within the US Tax Market in 2017?

New Outsourcing Model

In 2017, we considered whether the PwC and GE outsourcing arrangement would be a one-off situation or a transformational trend. While PwC has gained new middle-market clients and clients that do not have built-out tax departments, we are yet to see definitive proof of major outsourcing initiatives similar to the GE model.

Candidate Driven Market

Our prediction that 2017 would be a candidate-driven market, even more so than 2016, came to fruition. As a recruiting firm, it became very difficult for us to recruit quality candidates in 2017. We saw an increase in the volume of retirements and also started to feel pressure in the compensation areas when recruiting.

Non-Technical Skillsets

In 2017, we saw a huge increase in demand for tax professionals with non-technical skillsets. Across all levels, not just at the senior levels, employers expected candidates to have the ability to communicate effectively with tax professionals, cross-functional groups, business units, and outside advisors.

Demand for Transfer Pricing Candidates

In 2017, we expected that the new rules and regulations from OECD/BEPS and the non-U.S. tax audit pressure would cause an uptick in demand for transfer pricing professionals. Last year, we had the largest number of transfer pricing roles than we’ve ever had in our professional experience of 30+ years.