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Taxologist insights: Advice to young tax professionals

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Taxologist: A tax professional who embraces technology to yield remarkable results.

We spoke to several Thomson Reuters customers and partners who are recognized as “taxologists” to learn about their vision for the future of their tax departments, their greatest challenges and their advice to young tax professionals. A collection of their insights follows:

Vision for tax department

Evolution and integration of tax teams

Clayton Otto: Our goal is to integrate all of our various departments. We need to have those [departments] more seamlessly integrated with one another, where if one group needs information for whatever project they’re working on, they don’t have to ask from somebody else.

Doug Tehero: I see our tax department in the future continuing to break down some of the historic silos and really getting a single, cohesive group that touches a lot of areas.

Technology and resources

Gary Abellard: Our long-term vision for the tax department is to be obsessively, analytically driven, which means being able to consume as much data as possible for effective and efficient decision making.

Scott Nelson: I think that budgets for tax departments will probably be decreasing over time so that puts more pressure on departments to take advantage of technology.

Biggest challenges

Data management

Gary Abellard: One of our biggest needs in the tax department … is to be able to leverage standardized data seamlessly across different platforms. We want to be able to enter the data one time and leverage the data across the entire tax life cycle, as applicable.

Scott Nelson: I think our biggest challenge now is being able to do more, faster.

Clayton Otto: I think some of our challenges are just around data and data management. There are times where we’ll get information from various sources, and it’s just not exactly the way we need it, so there’s a lot of work-around to get data where we need it.

People and team structure

Gary Abellard: Filling open roles with resources that have a high level of fluency simultaneously in tax, analytics and technology is going to be a challenge.

Kelly Gual: A lot of companies are very manual … people don’t know what they don’t know, and they’re scared of change. You have to be able to show them how putting the data in up front makes their lives a whole lot easier and leads to better business and tax decisions in the long run.

Doug Tehero: In the last three or so years, we have been restructuring the way that the department works, trying to get a lot more cross-functionality where teams are working together. It takes a long time to change direction on a big boat, so to speak … changing the way that we do things takes time.

Responding to change

Corri Dickerson: My biggest challenge is just responding to change. Change is happening daily – just being able to respond quickly with the data that we have available.

Jun Miyake: Over the next three years, we see a lot of change happening. I’m seeing a lot of investment in terms of technology to help with that and for any future changes. We’re going to be investing more in getting the right people in place to be able to help our clients.

Advice for young professionals

Embrace change

Corri Dickerson: The advice I would give to someone is: Don’t think you know where your career is going. You have to be willing to change … because tax is ever-evolving, as most careers are. You have to be willing to always keep changing with technology.

Doug Tehero: Don’t get comfortable. Be flexible, be adaptable and embrace change rather than running from it.

Technical and soft skills

John Carr: You’ve got to know your stuff, you’ve got to know the law and you’ve got to be comfortable with technology.

Danielle Colabella: You really need to network, and you need to develop those relationships because you never know where you’re going to meet somebody in the future and where your path in tax may end up.

Jun Miyake: Be open-minded and flexible. We look for people who can solve problems, who can innovate, who always improve on what they’re doing – they’re not happy with the status quo. As long as they can marry that with getting things done, which at the end of the day is what we’re here for, I think that’s probably the best attitude to have for this business.

Bonus tip

Shari O’Boyle: The advice I would give to someone starting would be to make sure that you understand the full picture.


Meet the taxologists


Taxologist resources

Read more taxologist stories and access tips and tricks for tax technology users at any level at tax.tr.com/taxologist.

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