Over the years, I have completed several private studies for corporations who were benchmarking salaries for their tax departments. The purpose of this post is to educate you on how to obtain the most accurate and up-to-date information for your tax department. Allow me to set guidelines and boundaries right up front and that means how the information is gathered. First of all, the mass produced surveys of tax professionals by well-known staffing houses are so far off the mark that they often do a great disservice to those who read them. You must have a person who understands tax and the role each tax professional plays in an organization.
There are hundreds of unique tax positions around the world within specialized areas of taxation; unless you understand the complexity of technical skills involved you are destined to error on these mass marketed surveys. The key is to get up to date and accurate information from someone who is qualified to deliver it to you. The only way I have been 100% certain to deliver this information is when one of the following two situations occurs: 1) When I conduct retained search for clients they receive a Progress Report of the compensation of 6-10 candidates all with nearly the same technical tax skillset. 2) When I make a request of 10 similar companies to conduct a survey and they split the cost of the report. Other than that, I discovered the other surveys I see as useless.
Now I realize most of you reading this may want to know if your current compensation is at market/above market/below market. If you have established a relationship with a seasoned tax recruiter and they are a proven expert in such matters, simply ask them their opinion where you should be in terms of compensation. Now I realize you cannot take this to HR or your boss and tell them where you should be in terms of compensation. However, you should know where you stand in terms of the market. As an example, let’s say you are working in California and you are in Tax Reporting/Tax Provision. You must evaluate if the tax reporting/tax provision is entirely domestic or domestic and international. How many different entities does the organization have as a company overall? Is the company in a densely populated area such as Silicon Valley where everyone is competing for the same talent pool? Or is the company located in a less populated area where you know someone will need to be relocated. These questions answered give you more valuable information than any national cattle call survey.
As a service to our loyal corporate tax members at www.taxconnections.com, I will be privately releasing compensation data to our members of the searches we have conducted. My personal goal is to provide every corporate tax professional member of TaxConnections with information they can rely upon. If you are a corporate tax professional you should be hanging out on TaxConnections. Most of you have given your information to a network who forces others to pay on average $10.00 per email message to you. This is stopping 85% of connections from ever making it to you! TaxConnections membership ensures your tax reputation is visible and reachable at all times.