A Career in Global Mobility: Everything You Need to Know

A Career in Global Mobility: Everything You Need to Know

Perhaps you’ve been reading about people working overseas from a beach somewhere during the pandemic and you’ve wondered who is advising them on their income tax and social security obligations? Well, that’s probably a Global Mobility specialist.

In Global Mobility, we deal with the implications and obligations from an employment tax (income tax and social security) perspective for people moving around the globe for work purposes. This could be a permanent relocation or just a temporary work assignment. It could even be business travel!

In this article, activpayroll’s Global Tax Manager, Steph Smith, takes a look at some of the key things to consider when looking at a career in Global Mobility practice.

Getting Started in Global Mobility

Global Mobility isn’t as well known as some of the other areas of tax that you may be aware of, e.g. private client or corporate tax, but that doesn’t make it less important or less attractive as a career. In fact, if you get involved in Global Mobility, you can specialise right from the outset in an area which is fraught with complications and challenging situations and clients love it when they have a specialist on hand to help them with their queries. There aren’t as many of us out there compared to other tax specialisms so you’ll be in high demand!

Are There Any Qualifications Required?

Many Global Mobility specialists start out by studying law or accountancy at university or even working with the tax authorities, but that’s certainly not a requirement. Having an interest in tax, in particular international issues, is the main consideration when choosing your specialism as Global Mobility.

There are professional tax qualifications that some people choose to take, but most of these don’t focus on the day to day issues you’ll deal with in Global Mobility, so hands on learning and experience is more important as you grow your knowledge on mobility issues that you will deal with on a day to day basis.

What Qualities Are Required?

Global Mobility and the services offered within this specialism can be complex and wide ranging with the interactions between different jurisdictions, different tax regimes and so on, so it’s important to be able to simplify complicated legislation and tax rules to make it easy for clients to understand. Remember, you’re dealing with people from all over the world who won’t necessarily be used to different tax regimes and may not even speak your language so patience and good personal communications skills are also important.

You will probably enjoy reading income tax and social security legislation and can put that law into practice in real life scenarios. There are constant changes to legislation as well, so you’ll need to be interested in keeping up to speed with Government Budgets and changes to laws around the world that could impact your clients.

Relationship building skills are really important too. Employees of clients will be working with you for at least the period of their work assignment or the years in which they are travelling for business, so it’s important that the clients (and their employees where the client is an employee) trust you to manage their situation from an income tax and social security perspective.

In addition, as employment tax is so intrinsically linked to global payroll, it is inevitable that you will get some exposure to the inner workings of an end to end payroll process which provides you with an additional set of transferrable skills. And given that Global Mobility can also cover aspects such as Immigration, Employment Law, Relocation, Equity Income, Pensions and Benefits as they relate to internationally mobile employees, you may also find yourself gaining valuable knowledge and expertise in all of these areas making you a very valuable commodity indeed!

What Are the Most Rewarding Aspects?

Dealing with people across the globe means that you’re always learning and you get to meet some really interesting people. Learning about legislation in different countries, learning about different cultures and every day something new and interesting arises. Two days are very rarely the same. You can be dealing with people moving across the globe who are nervous, excited, scared and the last thing they want to be concerned with is their employment taxes and global mobility challenges, so it’s great to be able to support them on this so they can focus on their mobilisation and settling in to their new country.

A whole world of opportunity literally opens up with a career in Global Mobility!