How To Be A Rock Star Tax Executive

Be a rock star tax executive
Conquer tax function challenges and focus on rewarding work.

As businesses contend with waves of challenges—some tactical, others unpredictable—a tax executive’s strategic input is crucial to managing costs and risks, creating efficiencies and turning reliable data into actionable insights.

And if you’re like most tax executives, you strive to be that strategic contributor. Planning is more enjoyable and fulfilling for you than compliance. You want to facilitate growth, mitigate risk and find efficiencies. Those outcomes fuel your sense of accomplishment, not to mention your peers’ recognition of your work.

Besides, what’s better than making a positive impact in your role and being appreciated for it, all while doing the work you want to be doing?

That’s when you know you have achieved rock star tax executive status. So how can you make that your daily reality?

Start by asking yourself about six areas central to your personal success in the tax executive’s role and function within your organization.

1. Growth: How do I position my tax department to support enterprise growth and business objectives?

Understanding your business’s strategic priorities and life cycle enables you to uncover opportunities and prepare for challenges. Proactively connecting with the C-Suite and other business leaders paves a two-way street through which you can support tax planning and highlight for others the tax implications of strategic decisions.

To some degree, your ability to support business objectives will depend on your tax department and tax resources. That just underscores the importance of being informed.

2. Risk: How do I effectively manage tax risks?

For many tax executives, the ability to identify, assess and mitigate potential exposures to tax liabilities is the essence of the job.

Develop a repeatable process for mitigating tax risks by following these four steps:

  • Identify
  • Measure
  • Prioritize
  • Manage

As you embed this approach in your tax operations, it will evolve into a more targeted, sophisticated process.

3. Resources: How can I ensure my tax department has the budget and staff to support the enterprise and enable me to focus on adding value?

Convincing your C-Suite colleagues to invest in people and tools can be difficult. Leaders want to know why an investment is in the business’s best interest and why you can’t work around the issue instead.

Be judicious with your requests, make your case using data and know your options.

4. Cash flow: How do I minimize my organization’s tax burden and increase cash flow?

You must have command of tax laws and how your organization interacts with them. Grouping cash flow initiatives into two categories—enterprising and protective—may help you weigh the costs and benefits of devoting resources to them. Enterprising initiatives bring in cash that your organization probably would not have otherwise.

Protective initiatives help keep cash from going out the door.

5. Policy: How do I stay on top of tax policy developments that affect my organization? 

Tax policy is an area in which a relationship with an experienced advisor can have outsized benefits. One who knows your business and industry and is savvy about tax policy nuances can distill the information you need to know.

6. Compliance: How do I ensure tax compliance while focusing on my interests in tax planning and business strategy? 

Whether you’re able to focus on high-value, strategic tax functions may depend on resources. So, consider what combination of people, processes and technology would meet your tax compliance needs. Then evaluate that against common resource management options, seeking a cost-effective way to build flexibility into your tax function as your organization evolves.

Want to learn more? This was just the opening act. Access our guide “How to be a rock star tax executive,” and dig into best practices, technology tips and more.

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