A Gameplan for CFOs to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Seven people in a boardroom, as seen through a glass door. Five people in business attire sit around a minimalist white table in similarly styled chairs. The remaining person is standing and appears to be leading the conversation in the front of the room. She points to papers attached to the wall, as if she is going over important data.

When asked to rate their 2023 talent management priorities, CFOs give top marks to leveraging automation to improve the employee experience in the finance function. Tax leaders can follow a similar approach by deploying digital technologies in ways that enable employees to apply more of their time and skills to higher-value and presumably more fulfilling activities.

According to Deloitte’s ongoing CFO Signals survey research, 84% of finance chiefs agree or strongly agree that the deployment of advanced automation delivers talent management and employee experience benefits. 

My colleague, Vertex Chief Tax Officer of Transaction Tax Michael Bernard, has encouraged tax groups to embrace this approach. He notes, “In-demand tax professionals are more likely to accept a role in which they spend less time on repetitive, transactional tasks and more time honing their strategic contributions. The opportunity to develop and sharpen skills and expertise related to current business systems and advanced tools also offers recruiting and retention benefits.”

Deloitte also reports that newly hired CFOs have a unique opportunity to leverage the start of their new tenures to frame and launch a talent management strategy. To do so, chief financial officers can focus on seven talent management “pillars”. Chief tax officers should be aware of these priorities given that they frequently report to their CFO. Plus, tax leaders can leverage these same activities to strengthen recruiting, retention and staff development in the tax function. The following five pillars are a good place to start:

  1. Get the right people in the right seats: This includes taking an inventory of team members’ skills, improving performance management processes, exiting sub-par performers and recruiting high performers.
  2. Building high-performing teams: This work involves measuring (and improving) employee engagement, addressing any cultural dysfunction that exists and getting clear communications protocols in place.
  3. Developing talent to support a sustainable organisation: This pillar involves delivering training, providing coaching to staff members and creating succession plans for critical positions. 
  4. Enhancing employee engagement: Strategies for doing so include getting advanced automation in place (as Deloitte’s survey research indicates), providing clear career development opportunities and expanding training and development offerings.
  5. Increasing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): “Many executives understand that a diverse workforce often provides a source of competitive advantage,” according to Deloitte. “Attaining competitive diversity, though, requires programmes that recruit diverse candidates, embrace inclusion and boost retention of diverse employees.” (For a deeper dive on DEI, check out this podcast featuring Robin Allen, Vertex Senior Director, Global Talent Acquisition, People & Culture.) 

When setting their own talent management agenda, tax leaders should also bear in mind what works best when retaining top performers. The CFOs in Deloitte’s survey research indicate that three mechanisms offer the most bang for their buck:

  1. Providing flexibility regarding work location (cited by 71% of CFOs);
  2. Providing career development and more clarity in growth opportunities (63%); and
  3. Increasing salaries (62%).

Read Mike Bernard’s’ Tax Matter’s piece on Advanced Tax Automation = Recruiting + Retention Benefits for additional resources related to tax leaders and talent management strategies. 

Blog Author

Larry Mellon, Tax Directory, Vertex Inc

Larry Mellon

Tax Director

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Larry Mellon is a Tax Director in the Chief Tax Office, where he is responsible for providing insights, thought leadership and customer-centric direction to Vertex functional groups, supporting the continued expansion of Vertex indirect tax solutions and overall enterprise strategy. He has over 30 years of experience in sales and use tax compliance, risk assessment, jurisdictional audits, administration and management, as well as VAT compliance. Larry joined Vertex in 2005 as a Sales and Income Tax Supervisor and has served as Tax Manager since 2012, where he has played a pivotal role in elevating and advancing the company’s tax management offerings.

Prior to joining Vertex, Larry served as a Senior Tax Accountant and Property Tax Manager at Foamex International, Inc., a polyurethane and advanced polymer foam product manufacturer and marketer. Mellon also held multiple roles at The Franklin Mint and is a member of the Institute of Professionals in Taxation (IPT).

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