A day in the life of an Employer Solutions (GMS) trainee
- Lewis McMahon
What is the name of your service line, which office(s) are you in, and when did you join?
Employer Solutions (GMS)
Office: GT Oxford
Joined the firm in April 2018.
What does your service line do?
Within employer solutions, we have three main service lines we offer to our clients. These are: Global Mobility Services (GMS), Employment Tax & Reward/Share Scheme Services.
I have chosen to specialise in the GMS service line. In short, we add value to our clients through assisting them in managing their internationally mobile workforces. We do this in many ways, including through assisting with the preparation of assignees UK tax returns, hosting UK tax briefings, drafting short-term business visitor reports, providing assistance with modified/shadow payrolls, tax equalisation calculations, as well as various advisory services.
The above are integral to our clients as the world we live in now is extremely mobile, greatly due to the advancement of technology, which allows individuals greater access to otherwise unknown job opportunities all over the world. We also see home working, as well as secondments, becoming increasingly popular in our constantly evolving technological world. Many of our large clients struggle with managing and tracking their global workforce, as well as ensuring compliance with the jurisdictions that they cross through.
What do you do in a typical day / week?
My typical day would be a mixture of tax return preparation for various assignees, all with different positions from a UK residency and UK domicile perspective, along with carrying out various payroll calculations, attending internal team meetings, joining tax briefing calls, preparing NIC/tax equalisation calculations for various employers we hold as clients, carrying out various payslip/STBV data analysis, as well as getting involved with billing clients on a monthly basis.
What have you done in the last few days?
Preparing UK tax returns for a range of assignees: This would typically involve determining an individual’s residency and domicile status, with a particular focus on using the SRT (statutory residency test) to assist with this. Once this is determined, we now know the position we take for preparing the return. In preparing a tax return, we will look at how the above two positions will ultimately determine the tax treatment of the assignees incomes, as well as their entitlement to any applicable reliefs and exemptions.
Submission of a modified payroll to HMRC: We operate a modified payroll when an assignee is tax equalised (e.g. their tax liability is equal to that of what it would have been in the UK/no better or worse off) and goes on assignment to another country from the UK. My task involved submitting our tax equalisation calculations to HMRC (estimated RTI).
UK Tax Briefing: I attend UK tax briefings on a regular basis. This is where we host a call with the assignee (usually around the start of their assignment) to ultimately approximate what we think their tax position will be with regards to residency, domicile status, as well as with respect to exemptions, credits and reliefs that may be applicable. We run through a detailed questionnaire with the assignee to effectively determine the above.
Billing our clients: Through the system we use for billing our clients, we raise bills typically once a month. We will have usually agreed the fee with the client beforehand, however we do take into out factors, such as WIP, when determining exactly how much to bill clients, closely looking at our recovery and utilisation percentages to ensure we are hitting the required targets.
Which skills do you think are most important in your stream?
Skills essential for my role include:
- Good people skills – Essential to build rapport with clients, as well as getting yourself known within the firm.
- Good networking skills – Building relationships within the firm will greatly support your success throughout your career, especially with regards to vertical progression and progression within your role.
- Not being afraid to ask questions – tax is complex, and you will never know until you ask. This in fact shows good initiative when carrying out work.
- High level of attention to detail – With a large part of my work involving preparing tax returns, preparing compliance/advisory reports, drafting important emails to clients and dealing with large volumes of client data, this skill is imperative to your success.
- Ability to manage own workload, as well as others expectations – saying “no” to incoming work where necessary – This I feel is a skill within itself, as it shows not only initiative, but the fact that you have the ability to take ownership and accept accountability for what is yours.
What kind of client contact have you had so far?
I have attended many on-site client meetings, where I have interacted with clients on a face-to-face basis. I have also had several conversations with clients via telephone, including via briefing calls, calls with other ES service lines, general advisory projects etc. We frequently contact our clients via skype, given that many of the assignees we prepare tax returns for are not based in the UK.
Favourite part of the job so far?
My favourite part of the job is the fact that every day is different and that each tax return you prepare, each briefing call you attend, each client you meet on-site, is in fact its own individual case. This is greatly due to the fact that tax is such a broad area and the legislation we apply to each client is never one and the same. Therefore, you are forced to think outside the box every day and to apply the relevant legislation to each client/assignee, rather than just engage in repetition.
I love the fact that I can get involved very easily across any team in the firm, particularly any ES team, with regards to client work. This factor adds such huge value not only to our clients but to our employees as well, as they get to widen their knowledge of exactly what each team in the firms does. You are also able to get much more hands on experience of each service line.