First of all, congratulations!
You’ve finally completed a qualification widely recognised as being one of the most stressful, difficult and demanding exams within the profession. So what now?
Aside from the personal obstacles or challenges you may have faced during the qualification process, it is guaranteed that you have dedicated a vast amount of time to CTA. In fact, the recommended time spent on this qualification is an incredible 600 hours. These 600 hours that you could have spent; going to New Zealand 23 times, watching the Godfather 206 times or running the marathon 133 times. But, instead of getting astoundingly jet lagged, perfecting Al Pacino impressions or just getting absurdly sweaty, you chose to invest your time in promoting your career. And let’s face it – who wouldn’t take a promotion, salary raise and credible record over that. So what you do now is important when it comes to your future goals and aspirations being met and making all that hard work pay off.
The first steps
It was probably an easy decision for you to decide to complete your CTA qualification, but now you are at the end – where do you begin? What are the next steps and how do you ensure that the time you spent pays off in monetary and career terms?
Having a conversation with a tax recruitment specialist is a great place to start. Specialists in this sector will know the market and will understand the types of roles that you are now qualified to do. A simple chat does not mean you will be going down the path towards a new job, but that you are clarifying the path that you could take – when the time is right.
You will probably need to have a conversation with your current employer to see what their expectations are. They may want to move you into a better role with a better salary immediately. But they may not.
Your career options
The financial benefits of gaining the CTA qualification are very attractive. However, it’s not just the base salary that you should be paying attention to. Your CTA qualification offers you significantly more career options and can propel you toward roles that you may never have considered. Especially if you have chosen a specialisation that is sought after.
One approach is to try for roles within the Big 4 or Top 10 firms. These firms work with some of the largest clients in the UK and have workforces that are huge and varied. Roles come up regularly in Corporate Tax, Private Client and Human Capital sectors.
You can also work for mid-tier firms or smaller, but equally established boutique firms where you can really make your mark. You may not be able to expect the same level of compensation, but you will certainly be on a better salary than someone without your qualifications. The rewards of working for smaller companies include more flexibility, closer contact with clients and a more collaborative approach.
Another approach is work in-house for a company or business. This gives you more flexibility in terms of the types of work that you will do across the year. You will be employed for your overall skills and for your business understanding. You may have some responsibility for the progression and success of the business. This appeals on many levels. The career progression may be less defined, but director level roles are certainly possible. You can also expect a bonus within this structure – based on the profit levels.
Your salary expectations
Now that your extra time is not consumed with studying and focusing on the exams, it is time to reap the benefits of being qualified. You can feel justifiably proud of your achievements, but what you really want is the recognition and acknowledgement of your qualification and that means finding the right job at a pay scale that justifies the effort you put in.
As a newly qualified CTA professional you can look forward to a salary hike of anything up to 3-5k for qualifying. Your actual salary will depend on your location and the type of firm that you are working for. In order to get that salary however, you may find that you need to move to a new firm or a new role (promotion) within your current firm. There's a good chance that you thought this aspect through before you started.
While the increase in salary is important, it is actually the faster progression that will see your salary increase over time. Yes, you can now walk into a better paid job, but you can also expect that role to have career prospects and to move up the ladder more quickly than other's without the qualification.
Having confidence in your own abilities (after all you are one of a select few) will certainly help when it comes to finding the right role with the right money, but the right recruitment company will also help in that process.
What your employer thinks
From an employer’s perspective, the CTA quickly highlights your expertise, as well as your knowledge and technical understanding. If you’re current employer can’t offer you the rewards and work type that you deserve, and have worked hard for, then there’s definitely an employer out there who will.
If you pass...
With an average of just 28% of people passing, you’re one of a select few with a distinct advantage in the market place. You are sought after and as such you have the ability to pick and choose (to a certain extent) the roles you can move into. It is a privileged position to be in – but hard fought.
If you need to resit some papers...
Completing the CTA (regardless of whether you have passed this time round) has no doubt given you plenty of in depth understanding of what clients, sectors and work you want to specialise in. The motivation to do the CTA indicates managerial, director, partner driven goals – so your next step in your career should include an employer who supports and facilitates this.
So there were just a few things to ponder over… Once again, congratulations on your CTA achievement and be confident, comfortable and aware of the market and comfortable in making the best decision for you in your next career move.
Want some specific advice on what you can do and earn as a CTA? Contact us below with your query.