A valuable route to business success


By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

May 2023

How do you ensure that people in every part of your organisation have the knowledge they need to do their jobs well? The short answer is, with difficulty.

A lot of information is documented. It is written down and stored in files and folders, on paper and digitally. In this case, sharing knowledge is a management challenge.

  • Is it easy to find?
  • Do the people who need it know it is there and have access to it?
  • Can it be easily revised and updated over time?
  • Where does the responsibility lie and who has ownership for updating these documents?
  • What governance is needed?

There need to be formalised processes in place to make sure all this happens, or the risk is, that it will not. Often, there are legal requirements around storing and sharing certain types of information.


Sharing knowledge is not easy because knowledge is, by its nature, diverse, fragmented, always changing and often inaccessible. For example, if a nugget of relevant information about a great promotional opportunity is hidden away in your lead partner’s mind, what happens when they retire?

These informal, undocumented and often highly valuable tips and tricks evolve organically and in response to real business challenges. They are the value of experience, tested by time and proven to be effective.

What kind of knowledge do I mean? It might be knowing the time of day when a major client is most receptive to a phone call. It might be an effective exercise for promoting remote team engagement. It might be insight into the nuances of business culture in a cross-border market.

This is the kind of information that lubricates the cogs and wheels of business and is easily lost when employees leave or retire. Even if they stay, too often organisations do not have processes in place to share this kind of applicable insight across departments or teams. That limits its effectiveness. It may be highly valuable, but if it is siloed it cannot be put to wider use.

As a global network, we understand the complexities of sharing knowledge across an organisation, and we know its benefits. We distribute more formal information, such as the kind of technical knowledge a professional services network must continually share and develop, in the usual ways, for example through a comprehensive digital archive available on our intranet. We also organise a calendar of national, regional and global meetings at which expert speakers from inside and outside the network share specialist knowledge. We run a yearly timetable of educational webinars and internal newsletters.


It is fundamental to UHY that our member firms share insight across borders, allowing them to serve international clients more effectively.

We use mentoring to disseminate the knowhow that is accumulated by experience. We encourage secondments across the network so that individuals get to try new ways of

working, experience business culture in other countries and  bring that knowledge back to their firms.

We work to promote continual communication, within and between the member firms in our network. Regional and international events create a collaborative environment. Special interest groups bring together colleagues with similar specialisms. We hope and expect that conversations which begin when colleagues come together, continue, in other forms, when they return to their firms.

Sharing knowledge and knowhow can be complex, and requires different channels for different kinds of information. Do it in the way that best suits your circumstances – whether through digital knowledge centres, informal chats, training sessions, secondments or anything else – but do it. The continual communication of knowledge is the key to success.

Image acknowledgments:

Learning: Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash




In the third of three blogs exploring personal success, Rhys Madoc looks at ways to manage your career path.


By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

March 2023

The last few years have raised some challenging questions about how we work, where we work and why we work. I have discussed some of the challenges in previous blogs: for example, issues around recruitment and retention, leadership, and the role of lifelong learning.

But on an individual level, one thing is sure – more people than ever are choosing to re-evaluate their careers. Am I enjoying what I do, and where I work? Is it time to look at alternatives and, if so, how?


Career planning has always been integral to a successful working life for ambitious professionals, but seldom on such a wide scale as we see today.


The first thing we should note is that developing a career plan is not the sole preserve of a school leaver or graduate just starting out. It is as relevant and beneficial to anyone at any stage of their working life. As industries, commercial environments and technologies evolve, so do opportunities for personal and professional career development.

As an example, consider our profession. The career ladder for the accountant of previous decades was fairly predictable, with a likely progression from newly-qualified CPA, and with hard work, to eventual partner or managing partner in an accountancy firm, or a chief financial officer in a commercial enterprise. While this is still a laudable ambition, there are today many more options to pursue along the way that will appeal to those starting off in the profession, or those seeking to join it from elsewhere. Furthermore, as our profession continues to embrace and adapt to new technologies and ways of working, re-evaluating your career path can be an exciting and enticing proposition.

For example:

  • The rise of accounting technologies (cloud-based services, blockchain, and AI-based analytics to name a few) fuels demand for those passionate about IT
  • In a noisy and competitive world, there is an increasing need for clear, articulate communicators in the accounting profession including those specialising in financial marketing, business development, investor relations, and corporate communications
  • Clients want sustainability expertise from their professional advisors. A specialism in ESG (environmental, social and governance) audit and non-financial disclosure is very likely to become a sought-after credential.

Accounting professionals at any stage of their career can benefit from numerous options such as these. I would recommend taking a look at the new ACCA career navigator,1 a useful framework which maps experience to competencies and potential career destinations in the profession. ACCA professionals practice across the globe.


For anyone planning or reviewing their career in accounting, many factors come into play, from reward and motivation to ability and self-fulfilment. The most important step to take, I would say, is finding time for an honest and objective self-assessment of your skills and capabilities, your motivations and what you believe in.

Evaluating your options within our profession could offer pathways to even more enriching prospects. The proliferation of opportunities for personal growth in accountancy means that skills such as negotiation, leadership, communication, people management and coaching (see my previous blog about intangible skills for more on this topic) are valued as much as complex technical expertise in the workplace and play a prominent role in UHY’s continuous professional development programmes. In UHY, our member firms continue to invest and participate in UHY’s own bespoke development programme for our future leaders developing such non-core skills to ensure continued added value for our clients and colleagues.

Whatever your experience or specialism, my advice would be to stay flexible and keep an open mind.

Job security and fulfilment are the results of working hard at finding or creating opportunities, and being prepared to keep learning: technical and soft skills training is available to support most requirements.

In summary:

  • A successful career strategy will identify the skills and experience gaps between what you have now and what you need to fulfil your ambition and achieve your goals
  • Filling the gaps becomes your career plan, and might include additional training and qualifications, job shadowing or finding a mentor. A number of member firms in the UHY network also offer their staff opportunities to experience other environments such as voluntary or not-for-profit work and to support their local communities.
  • These principles are relevant whether you are looking for progression within your current employment, or outside of it.

I acknowledge these are challenging times for career professionals and recruiters alike, but I also believe they are exciting times, full of opportunity and potential for all.


1ACCA is the global body for professional accountants, and their qualifications are recognised and respected across the world

Commuters (B/W). Photo by Craig Ren on Unsplash
Options. Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels
Engineer on laptop. Photo by ThisisEngineeringRAEng on Unsplash 




In the second of three blogs exploring personal success, Rhys Madoc looks at the importance of intangible skills.


By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

February 2023

If someone asked you to describe the skills you need to do your job, what would you say?

Many of us would probably talk first about the ‘hard’ skills (also known as core skills) our jobs require, whether that is in-depth knowledge around tax, audit or IT, or the ability to write a plan or analyse a set of figures. Hard skills are the technical proficiencies and subject-specific knowledge our clients expect. You will not go far as an accountant without a technical mastery of accountancy rules and standards.

You might stop there, but that would be only half the story. We all use a set of more intangible skills in our day-to-day working lives as well. It is increasingly recognised that these skills, also known as soft skills or power skills are just as important as technical ones.

In fact, the balance between hard and soft skills – once weighted firmly in favour of technical ability – is shifting towards the interpersonal side. It is an important shift, one that can make a difference between a good employee and an outstanding one.


The terms soft or power skills describe a series of mindsets and behaviours that can elevate our abilities beyond technical competence and into much more rounded, effective performance.

As Eric Frazer, assistant professor of psychology at Yale University School of Medicine, recently told the BBC1, what soft skills really means is people skills.

“Some examples of soft-skill mindsets might be someone who is a continuous learner, or someone who is highly resilient,” he said. “Many behaviours – critical thinking, active listening, imaginative problem-solving to name a few – are soft skills.”

Research by LinkedIn2 found that people skills – those skills by which we interact and encourage the best from others – are in high demand and that the four most in-demand soft skills are leadership, communication, collaboration and time management.


It is easy to see the importance of these skills. Understanding a client’s tax situation is essential. Being able to communicate your knowledge to the people who need to know – in a clear, concise, insightful and even thoughtful way – equally so.

Increasingly, successful business is based on the collaboration of teams rather than the labour of individuals, so knowing how to cooperate and delegate is essential.

Leaders can no longer expect to inspire employees by lecturing or cajoling from on high. In a candidate’s market, where open positions outnumber qualified applicants, successful leaders will be persuasive, inspiring and open-minded. Their people skills have to be second to none.


A successful career requires a mix of hard and soft skills, of technical ability and more intangible, human competencies.

To a large extent, technical skills can be taught, assuming a basic level of education and aptitude. But softer skills are at least partly innate.

That is why some recruitment strategies now prioritise the identification of able generalists over limited technicians. You can train someone to use a new accountancy software platform. It is less straightforward to teach them leadership skills or the best way to communicate difficult information.

It is not easy, but it is not impossible. Some candidates are helping themselves, taking courses in skills including public speaking or remote team management. Organisations that place a high value on communication and teambuilding offer training and development in the softer skills that clients increasingly value, alongside technical learning opportunities. We have run a series of soft/power skills training for UHY member firms for a number of years.

Accountants should grasp these opportunities, because we work in a profession that is already witnessing the encroachment of automation. Entry level technical tasks are regularly performed by AI-driven algorithms. As the technology advances, more of the technical skills we use every day will be rendered either obsolete or of lesser importance.

By contrast, those with highly developed soft skills are already on the front foot. Critical analysis, creative problem solving and communication skills will all be in high demand as accountants transform from back office technicians to front office advisors. Technical skills will always be needed – but they are becoming a given. It is soft, or power skills that will mark us out from the crowd.



1 – Leader; Photo by fauxels 
2 – Collaboration; Photo by fauxels
3 – Women in office; Photo by Christina Morillo




In the first of three blogs exploring personal success, Rhys Madoc looks at how to maintain both team momentum and work-life balance.


By Rhys Madoc, CEO, UHY International

February 2023

It is fair to say that the modern workplace is facing multiple challenges. Despite many accelerated post-pandemic benefits such as remote working and investment in automation technology, some businesses are contending with staff burnout, anxiety and overload which feed into an uncertainty around workplace performance and functionality.

Staying motivated is essential for getting through what may be tricky times ahead. However, achieving this at the same time as maintaining work-life balance is even more important.

In 20211, research published in Human Resource Development International found that the pandemic left us with a range of confused feelings about work-life balance. The shifts in work and non-work patterns have influenced employees’ work-family balance, which, in turn, have affected employees’ adjustment to and satisfaction with remote work.


One solution to the work-life balance challenge is to develop a culture that prioritises ‘healthy’ separation. This might mean actively encouraging employees to block their work communications outside of work hours, such as encouraging colleagues to take proper breaks and not respond to emails at the weekend or during holidays.

However, this approach is not always achievable, and critical to implementing good work-life balance is understanding what works best for you and your team. Research from the University of Sussex2 suggests that blanket bans on out-of-hours communication can be actively harmful to some employees, particularly those with anxiety or control issues.

Some people use work email to manage their tasks and work flexibly and conveniently, while others find it disruptive to their workflow. Understanding how and when your team use email is important, but email policy is also governed by your corporate culture. In striking a balance between organisational need and employee preference, flexible consultation is key.


The pandemic has demonstrated that in some working environments there may not always be a pressing need to be in the office every day. Scrapping core hours can mean less time wasted on the daily commute and, ultimately, a smarter way of working. Meeting client needs and building client relationships are essential and a Harvard Business Review study3 found that flexibility impacts the bottom line by encouraging employees to be more results-driven.

There are also talent-attraction benefits to be gained by offering a more adaptable approach as many jobseekers are demanding more flexibility post-pandemic.


However, getting the balance right between looking out for employees’ wellbeing and recognising work-life balance, while also ensuring they remain connected to the organisation and its services are valued by clients is an ongoing challenge. As a network, UHY embraces enthusiasm, integrity and teamwork, and offering opportunities for collaboration is central to maintaining these values – you can read more about the way UHY embraces collaboration in my recent blog on the topic, Collaboration Works.

Research shows that collaborative teams are more innovative so fostering connectivity is another key way to keep employees engaged. UHY’s internal collaboration channels offer multiple ways of sharing best practice and accessing wider knowledge.

Whatever your approach, significant challenges – and opportunities – lie ahead. Work-life balance and team engagement are both important.  


1Human Resource
2Science Direct
3Harvard Business Review

1 Werner Pfennig on Pexels
2 Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
3 Christina @


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Businesses in Europe pay an average of over $6,202 in taxes on employment for a worker earning $30k – 13% above global average...



European economies rank markedly above the global average in the cost of taxes on employment for businesses, shows a new study of 23 countries by UHY, the international accounting and consulting network. Across Europe, the average cost of employing a worker earning $30,000 per year is now $6,202 (20.7% of salary), 13%% more than the global average of $5,468 per year – 18.2% of salary. This includes costs such as social security, unemployment insurance and mandatory pension contributions.

As more countries face rising economic stress triggered by inflation and increasing interest rates, governments are likely to come under more pressure to cut these costs. The lower the costs of employing workers, the less likely businesses are to need to make layoffs if their economies enter recession.

Subarna Banerjee, Chairman of UHY International, says that some significant economies levy employment taxes far below the global average, including New Zealand (4% of salary) and the Republic of Ireland (11.1% of salary – see table below).

Banerjee says that more governments could consider reducing the employment tax burden to help protect both businesses and workers as more economies threaten to slide into recession in the coming months.

Says Subarna Banerjee: “As businesses around the world face growing cost burdens, more governments could consider using the levers they have available to help them. Reducing taxes on employment would be a pretty direct way of incentivising businesses not to make redundancies.”

“Many economies have enjoyed near-record levels of employment in recent years, but that is expected to change. Keeping as many people as possible in work should be a key target for policy-makers in the coming months. A rise in unemployment will only exacerbate the issues many countries are facing due to consumer spending dropping sharply.”

Ireland, New Zealand among lowest employment tax economies

Both New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland are amongst the economies with the lowest burden of employment taxes in UHY’s study of 23 countries worldwide. Ireland ranks 17th overall, while New Zealand is 22nd.

Employers in New Zealand pay just $1,209 per year in taxes on employment for a worker earning $30,000. This includes the national KiwiSaver pension fund (3% of salary) and the contribution to the Accident Compensation Corporation (1% of salary). Employees have even lower costs, paying just a mandatory 1.39% of salary on top of income tax.

Employers in Ireland pay just $3,315 per year in employment taxes for a worker earning $30,000, through the country’s Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI). The rate of PRSI is reduced even further to 8.8% if the worker earns less than $481 per week.

Grant Brownlee, Director at UHY Haines Norton, UHY’s member firm in New Zealand, comments: “With the New Zealand economy slowing unexpectedly in the last few months, it’s important that businesses aren’t burdened by employment taxes. Our unemployment rate is among the lowest in the world and it’s important that businesses aren’t forced to make redundancies should we enter a recession. For businesses, laying off staff can be a last resort if taxes stay low.”

UHY’s study also shows that France has the highest rate of employment taxes for businesses employing higher earners. A French business paying an employee $300,000 per year must pay employment taxes of $121,014 (40.3% of salary). This is more than three times the global average of $39,508 (13.2% of salary) and 2.9 times the European average of $44,159 (14.7% of salary).

UHY’s study assessed the annual government-levied taxes to businesses of employing workers on salaries of $30,000 and $300,000 during the 2022 tax year across 23 countries worldwide. The full study is available below.

Notes for Editors

UHY global press contact:

Leigh Lyons on +44 20 7767 2624

Email: –

Nick Mattison or Richard Crossan

Mattison Public Relations

+44 20 7645 3631

+44 74 4637 5555