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A recent YouGov survey, carried out as part of a partnership between the Centre for Ageing Better and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation showed one in 5 adults who retired in the past 5 years have found it to be a difficult transition.   The issues people were concerned about included money, feeling bored, missing social interactions at work, losing purpose and being lonely.

Yet despite these fairly fundamental concerns, the survey showed that most retirees had done little to plan for this major life change, with over half revealing they didn’t seek any prior help or guidance.

The concept of retirement is undoubtedly changing, and is very different to that experienced by previous generations. For many it is no longer the gold watch at 60 or 65, followed by a gentle retreat into your twilight years accompanied by a mug of cocoa and slippers by the fire. Even though they have reached the conventional age of retirement, many will be compelled to carry on working through necessity, many because they want to.

But it is not just work. In my experience, there are a good number who choose to ‘retire’ from their first career early and therefore are younger and not ready to give up on fulltime work. They want to do something meaningful, but are not sure how to go about it, how best to utilise the skills and experience they have built up in their professional life.

In all cases, work isn’t the only consideration. You may well have things you want to achieve, a bucket list of activities you want to enjoy, and have the energy and curiosity about the world to do them.  Travel, volunteering, charity work, studying, learning new skills – the list is endless. But planning these activities can seem daunting and it difficult to know where to start, especially if up until now you have been wholly focussed on your professional life and therefore haven’t given much serious thought to any of this.

Then there are the intangible issues – are you ready mentally? How do you look back on your career? How will you approach the lack of structure? The absence of work colleagues and clients? The mental stimulation you have enjoyed at work? The status that your position has provided?

If any of the above resonates with you, you might find my FutureLife retirement coaching programme an ideal way to help you plan for this new and exciting phase of your life.

Through a series of structured sessions, we will tackle the issues that are important to you, and I will work with you to create a tailored plan to enable you to enjoy a happy and productive retirement.  I will help you formulate a road map for the coming months and years ahead that you can use as your guide and reference point.  The sessions will also provide you with the opportunity to work through any fears or anxieties you might have as you approach this milestone.

This can be a time of mixed emotions – retrospection, pride, anxiety, joy, apprehension, excitement, trepidation. Channelling these so that you approach retirement with a positive attitude and a plan that will work for you are crucial to achieving a successful retirement and the FutureLife programme with work with you to achieve this.

If you would like to have an informal discussion as to how my Coaching programme might help you or members of your team plan ahead, please contact me, Liz Watt :


Women’s Networking Groups – by Liz Watt

One of the joys of developing a  Coaching practice has been the opportunity to work on broader personal development projects that I have long been interested in, and one such has been establishing women’s networking groups.

A networking group can be a powerful thing. But why a women’s networking group? Research shows that one of the ‘unwritten rules’ of advancement in business is to have a strong network, both inside one’s workplace, as well as within the wider business community. And did you know that most women do not have as strong a business network as their male counterparts? Such a group provides an opportunity to develop a network amongst your industry peer group and a platform  to discuss relevant issues in a safe and supportive environment. It is an opportunity to take time away from the office to plan, reflect,  learn and share, gaining confidence through sharing ideas and experiences. Studies show that membership of a networking group helps increase women’s self-esteem, thus aiding them to reach full potential.

Indirect Tax Women’s Network Logo

My first venture has been a  networking group for women in Indirect Tax.  Established earlier this year, it has really taken off.  The founding group is approximately 14 strong, and meets once a quarter for an afternoon.  We have a great guest presenter on a topical issue, there is time to discuss any topics that are relevant to the guests, and there’s plenty of opportunity for networking during the afternoon and afterwards. Its non-technical  – the prevailing view was that everyone gets more than enough technical input back at the office!

So as an example, our first speaker was Jayne Constantinis who gave a fabulous presentation on communication skills and how we can enhance them. It was a really interactive session and stimulated lively debate!  In upcoming sessions, our speakers will cover topics such as personal presentation and how to build a great professional wardrobe that really works for you, stress management / resilience and networking & developing strategic relationships.

I am delighted with how this initiative has taken off and the feedback has been great. For example : ‘a really informative and entertaining session’; ‘took away a lot of interesting points that I will certainly be implementing’; ‘a very friendly and supportive atmosphere for the group’; ‘really interesting and practical tips that can be put into practice easily’.

There seems to be real appetite for the network and the membership is drawn from the profession – Big 4, mid-tier and independent consultancies – and those in industry and commerce. The first group is based in London, for those at Senior manager or equivalent and above. However, given the success of this, I’m expanding – there will be a second London group early next year and regional groups will follow. I am also establishing  a group for newly promoted managers and equivalent, who perhaps have different issues to tackle at this earlier point in their careers.

And of course there is no reason why this networking initiative can’t be rolled out to other areas too so I will be extending this into Direct Tax and Management Consultancy too.

I’m keen that the networking groups should be inclusive and have been gratified at the support and sponsorship I’ve received from male clients and contacts. If there are any men who would like to find out more about the group, or come along as guest speakers, please let me know!

If you would like to find out some more about the Indirect Tax Women’s Network, or if you are interested in how I might be able to set up a network for your particular technical discipline, please get in touch for a chat. Contact me at



There are so many personal development books, blogs and programmes out there that it can be difficult to know where to start.

So to help you, I’ve selected some of the material that I have found powerful, useful and interesting, and included some that have been recommended to me too.

I hope you enjoy them!



Amy Cuddy : Presence

Don’t fake it till you make it, fake it until you become it – the essential guide to improving your body language.

How can we be our strongest selves in life’s most challenging situations? We often approach these situations – job interviews, difficult conversations, speaking up for ourselves – with anxiety and leave them with regret. Moments that require us to be genuine and powerful instead cause us to feel phoney and powerless, preventing us from being our best selves. Harvard professor Amy Cuddy shows us we need to stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others, and instead change the impression we’re making on ourselves.

Malcolm Gladwell : Outliers : The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of Success overturns conventional wisdom about genius to show us what makes an ordinary person an extreme overachiever.

Why do some people achieve so much more than others? Can they lie so far out of the ordinary?

In this provocative and inspiring book, Malcolm Gladwell looks at everyone from rock stars to professional athletes, software billionaires to scientific geniuses, to show that the story of success is far more surprising, and far more fascinating, than we could ever have imagined.

Steve Peters : The Chimp Paradox

Do you sabotage your own happiness and success? Are you struggling to make sense of yourself? Do your emotions sometimes dictate your life?

The Chimp Paradox is an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happy, confident, healthier and more successful person. Prof Steve Peters explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life so you can:
- Recognise how your mind is working
- Understand and manage your emotions and thoughts
- Manage yourself and become the person you would like to be

Angela Duckworth :Grit: Why Passion and Resilience are the Secrets to Success

In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement. Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that – not talent or luck – makes all the difference.

 Cheryl Sandberg : Lean In

Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is a massive cultural phenomenon and its title has become an instant catchphrase for empowering women. The book soared to the top of bestseller lists internationally, igniting global conversations about women and ambition. Sandberg packed theatres, dominated opinion pages, appeared on every major television show and on the cover of Time magazine, and sparked ferocious debate about women and leadership.

How about a magazine subscription to see you through the winter months? And a great Christmas present! Try Psychologies magazine: Full of great articles on Wellbeing, Happiness, Positive Psychology, Health, Nutrition, with great guest interviews and contributions. For example,  the December issue has an interview with George Clooney talking about anger, respect and responsibility – what’s not to like?!



Retreat : Meditations from a Monastery – BBC Four

A recent BBC series which goes on a search of inner peace in three Benedictine monasteries. Still available on the iplayer.

Mel Robbins : Become the person you want to be

It takes just five seconds to use this tool, and every time you do, you’ll be in great company. More than 8 million people have watched Mel’s TEDx Talk, and executives inside of the world’s largest brands are using the tool to increase productivity, collaboration, and engagement.

In The 5 Second Rule, you’ll discover it takes just five seconds to:
Become confident
Break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt
Beat fear and uncertainty
Stop worrying and feel happier
Share your ideas with courage



Eat Sleep Work Repeat

A lively weekly podcast about happiness and work culture. Hosted by @brucedaisley

All in the Mind

BBC Radio 4 : A programme exploring the limits and potential of the human mind. Listen to the podcast


If you have come across material you would like to recommend, I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me on



INDIRECT TAX MARKET SURVEY – have you completed the questionnaire yet?

It’s that time of year when BLT gather data for our Indirect Tax Market Report and Salary Survey, that’s due for publication at the beginning of 2018. Always an interesting read, the report will include information on global Indirect Tax recruitment trends in the last year, information about sector differentials, data on gender diversity, working patterns as well as salary bandings and benefits information.

The report is only as accurate as the data we receive, so for that we need your help!

To ensure you receive your copy on publication, do take a moment to complete the short survey at the following link. All information received will of course be treated in the strictest confidence, and will be used purely for the purpose of compiling the data for the survey.

Of course the more responses we get, the more comprehensive and accurate the report will be – so a huge thank you in advance for everyone’s input.

You can find the link to the survey here.

Best regards

BLT’s Indirect Tax Team

Salary Survey Image

BLT: Indirect Tax Partner/Director Recruitment

Well what an unusual couple of years it’s been. The Brexit referendum, Trump, economic uncertainties, and often terrifying news here in the UK and abroad – all have been causing havoc with making predictions for the future. Invariably, the first question that we get asked at BLT is ‘What’s been the impact on the Indirect Tax job market?’ – and its not been a simple question to answer.

Certainly, some areas of the market have been affected by the ups and down of the last couple of years: the numbers of junior VAT hires taking place, the regularity of Indirect Tax contracts, in-house roles on mainland Europe/Switzerland all spring to mind as examples.

Conversely however, it’s been a very different story at the more senior end of the spectrum. A large number of professional services firms have been busy positioning themselves for the future, by investing in (and securing) top Indirect Tax talent at often very senior levels. Did you know that we at BLT have effected more Partner and Director Indirect Tax hires in the last two years than ever before?

Some examples of BLT placements since 2015:

  • VAT Partner, Top 10 firm, London
  • VAT Partner, Compliance/Technology, Big 4 firm, London
  • National Customs Partner, Top 10 firm
  • VAT Partner, Southern Region, Top 10 firm
  • VAT Partner, Dubai, Top 10 firm
  • VAT Partner, GCC region, Top 10 firm
  • VAT Director, M&A, Big 4 firm London
  • VAT Director, Technology, Big 4 firm London

We’d go so far as to say that there haven’t been many Indirect Tax appointments at this level in the professional services firms that have taken place without our involvement.

We’re confident that our clients and those we have helped move have gained great value from the BLT experience, and from a personal perspective, we’ve found working on such hires a hugely enjoyable and professionally rewarding experience – we’d love this trend to continue into 2018 and beyond.

So if you’re an existing Indirect Tax Partner or Director thinking about your future career direction, or just simply want a sounding board, do get in touch so we can show you what we’re made of.

To discuss hiring senior talent,  the number to call is + 44 (0) 207 405 3404 and speak to Guy Barrand or Emma Wade (email

Guy's Blog



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