Over the last few months, we reached out to CFOs and Tax Executives and asked them how their operations have changed over the past year. We asked them what the experience has been like working from home? Will they continue to work remote? How have corporate tax executives been managing an increased workload ? How will they address the tax hikes coming under a new administration? Are they adding staff to their tax organizations? How will they handle the interviewing and hiring process? The answers to these questions are the focus of this blog post. I will share the information obtained from conversations with CFOs, corporate tax executives, tax partners in accounting and legal firms, and independent tax services providers. Their feedback is a huge reveal in this everchanging market.
On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts And Jobs Act brought in sweeping changes to the tax code by former President Trump with the passage of H.R. 1 by the 115th Congress of the United States. https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr1/BILLS-115hr1enr.pdf. The changes to the tax laws were dramatic and lowered the tax rates for individuals and businesses. Less than four years later, President Biden is planning a seismic shift with the biggest tax hikes on individuals and businesses in almost thirty years. All the changes in tax rules and regulations across multiple state, federal and international tax jurisdictions, including dramatic technology transformation has had a huge impact on taxpayers, tax professionals and tax organizations!
During the current 117th Congress, tax increases will be a central component of new legislation and stimulus bills. As a result, tax professionals will face an increased workload brought on with all these legislative changes. The result will be a lot of misinformation or no information or guidance from tax authorities as well. There is a lot to keep up with here with impending tax hikes. Mistakes will be made that will be very costly for corporations and individuals. The question is how can corporations reduce their tax risks? They need to place close attention to the needs of their tax organizations. They need to build a tax team of strength; they need to make certain their corporate tax team is productive and happy!
What has happened over the past year? According to a survey conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, 75% of the professionals surveyed indicated they have been successful working from home. They have improved their productivity and performance at work and gained back time they would have lost commuting or dealing with office interruptions. Microsoft conducted its own survey and found among the more than 31,000 workers surveyed, 73% hoped remote work options would continue to be available to them.
What are corporate tax executives privately communicating to us? One year ago, there was a lot of resistance in hiring tax professionals to work remotely but the thinking has clearly changed through the pandemic. Corporate tax organizations have adapted to the remote work changes. Corporate tax executives are now interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and training entirely through video conferencing. While discussing a search assignment with a client recently, they indicated that everything is working perfectly for them with a remote team. What is interesting to note is their tax department was staffed with a highly experienced tax professional team. They added more experienced tax professionals to their remote corporate tax workforce over tax staff who require a lot more training.
An aspect of a corporate tax team working remotely is that it takes extra time for anyone working remotely to handle their IT issues. When you are working with computers and software and companies like Microsoft logging into your computers updating their software while you sleep, things happen on your personal computer. You awaken to start your day and realize your computer is not operating as it did yesterday. This stalls the workday for any professional working from home. Now everyone realizes most of the time all you need to do is restart your computer to fix the problem. Corporate Executives are also spending more time with scanners, printers and many challenging technical fixes they previously handed off to admins and IT experts while working at the company. Corporate executives workload has increased working from home.
One of the biggest challenges for corporate tax organizations is hiring and retention of tax staff. Many tax executives are wondering where all this talent has gone. How can they access this talent pool? How will they train staff remotely and keep them engaged? What they often do not realize is 3 – 5 year tax professionals working for the Big Firms are locked in to get their CPAs or their Masters Educations paid by the firms. These firms have great retention strategies for their hard-working top talent. It is a herculean task to attract them. Many of these staff members want to stay in public accounting to make Tax Manager title. They do not want to leave public accounting before they make Tax Manager because they do not want to take a step down in title to a Senior Tax Accountant or Tax Accountant in a corporation. We counsel our corporate clients to give staff level roles an enhanced title like Tax Manager or Tax Principal. It works to get them on board. You can then elevate your inhouse corporate Tax Managers to Senior Tax Manager or Tax Director titles. You must use every resource available to you to attract talent to your corporate tax organization today or go without tax staff.
The final point I want to make in this post is the importance of getting ahead of the hiring surge about to happen for corporate tax departments. Corporate executives must support their tax organizations by adding staff now. Having three decades of expertise recruiting tax professionals for corporate tax organizations, I can tell you exactly how the coming hiring surge will play out for many corporate tax organizations. Corporations are likely hearing from their lead tax executives or outside advisors to start staffing now. Company executives may not be listening to their tax experts and here is exactly what will happen. Your corporate tax teams will be so understaffed and overworked, you will end up losing great tax expertise currently in your tax organization to higher salaries due to higher demand. Start now building up your corporate tax team and give your tax executives what they need to address all the tax hikes coming.
Here is a sample list of our clients:
Have a tax search for your organization? Contact Kat Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 858.999.0053 X100.
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