Tax accountant salaries surge as Gulf VAT-day approaches

Women walk past a shop at the Gold and Diamond Park in Dubai. The UAE and other Gulf countries are set to introduce a tax on goods from January next year. (Reuters)
Updated 14 October 2017

Tax accountant salaries surge as Gulf VAT-day approaches

LONDON: The introduction of VAT in the Gulf is stoking salaries for tax specialists across the region, according to recruitment firms.
With just over 11 weeks to go before companies start to add value added tax on their invoices, companies are busy hiring accountants with VAT expertise while big firms such as PwC run courses to meet anticipated demand.
“Candidates who are VAT specialists can expect to be paid well given the demand for their skill set and the shortage of qualified candidates with it,” Andy Georgeson, senior consultant at Michael Page Finance, told Arab News.
Salaries vary considerably but VAT managers in the UAE currently earn between 30,000 to 40,000 dirhams ($8,185-$10,890) per month — but rising considerably for senior roles in large corporations.
PwC last month introduced the first VAT diploma across the Gulf as some companies favor upskilling existing workforces rather than hiring new staff in order to get ready for the introduction of the new tax from January next year.
The need to give people the skills and knowledge to implement and comply with the new tax was, according to Amanda Line, PwC’s academy partner, why PwC introduced the VAT diploma.
“I am confident that this qualification will be fundamental in upskilling specialized tax professionals who can then prepare their organizations for VAT compliance,” Line said.
The introduction of the new tax is benefitting the Big Four accountancy firms as companies outsource tax advice to consultants, Georgeson added.
Yet despite the imminent introduction of VAT, some companies are burying their heads in the sand, said Chris Greaves, managing director of Hays in the Gulf.
“Our ‘VAT in the UAE’ report, released earlier this year, found over half of organizations based in the region did not have a strategy in place for VAT implementation.
“Of those that do, we are noticing that they are either absorbing VAT requirements into their existing workforce — some using their oversees teams for support, or outsourcing activity by engaging with external consultancies.”
He said it was difficult to predict how the introduction of VAT will affect hiring demand until it is up and running.
“There are still laws to be announced but once these are confirmed, there may well be an uplift in hiring as organizations become clearer on what they still need to achieve in order to meet the deadline.”
That view was shared by Georgeson, who added: “We are currently working on multiple VAT roles across the UAE and Saudi Arabia but we certainly expect this to grow as we get closer to the implementation date and thereafter.”
As many as 5,000 finance and accounting jobs could be generated with the introduction of VAT in the region, estimated Paul Drum, head of policy at CPA Australia.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have both set VAT at a rate of 5 percent. The pair are the first to have introduced VAT legislation since all six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) agreed in 2016 to introduce the tax.


Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation fell to 4.2% in July

Updated 10 August 2020

Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation fell to 4.2% in July

  • Month on month inflation has increased in Egypt over the past month

CAIRO: Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation fell to 4.2% in July from 5.6% in June, the central statistics agency CAPMAS said on Monday.
Month on month inflation increased to 0.4% in July from 0.1% in June, the agency said.