While demand for talent in Vietnam is high, the niche role of a tax specialist remains an exclusive position which requires a good network to break into. Due to its highly-specialised nature, competition for jobs may not be as intense as other accounting and finance roles. It remains a profession with many opportunities and potential.
As more multinationals enter the Vietnamese market, organisations are looking to establish their core business functions in the country. Having a sound finance team and tax specialists in place is hence vital to their daily operations if they want to increase efficiency.
Tax specialist roles are often misrepresented as being highly analytical and boring. Although this may be true in the early stages of your career as the bulk of the work involves crunching numbers, more emphasis will be placed towards developing good tax strategic skills as you gain more experience. Professionals are typically attracted to the field by the opportunity to add value to organisations by ensuring that businesses comply with government regulations.
Breaking into the professional market
Apart from possessing strong analytical skills, companies prefer candidates who are CPA or ACCA qualified. Past tax-related experience within chartered or commercial businesses from any of the Big 4 firms will be advantageous. Due to the highly-specialised nature of the job, career progressions are usually vertical, with tax specialists becoming tax managers and later tax directors.
The daily job responsibilities of a tax specialist varies on the size of the firm. For example, established international organisations would require that their employees have skills related to transfer pricing as opposed to their smaller-scale counterparts.
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