TikTok for tax talent?

Staying Ahead of a Sales and Use Tax Audit

One 13-second video posts pictures of five CPAs who later became highly successful entrepreneurs, including Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank. On a related note, a host runs through a list of interesting accounting fields, such as data analytics, digital content, ESG governance and forensic accounting.  

These and other videos are part of a TikTok feed created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Their aim is to educate high school and college students about the profession while encouraging them to consider earning the CPA designation and pursuing accounting, and accounting-adjacent, careers.  

This modern twist on social media recruiting reflects the current state of accounting and tax talent pipelines (in a word: insufficient). It also points to the widespread need for professional associations, businesses and business groups (hello, tax groups) to improve their recruiting, retention and development capabilities via more targeted and creative efforts.  

The AICPA’s TikTok videos also caught the attention of The Economist, which observes that the association wants to “jazz up the job by branding the accountant as a strategic contributor”. A similar dynamic applies to the tax profession, especially within departments where advanced tax automation enables tax professionals to do less tactical work while expanding their higher-value contributions. 

The article cites some familiar labour statistics: the 1.6 million accountants and auditors working in the U.S. in 2023 are far fewer than the 2 million who were on the job in 2019. Many organisations also have a growing need for indirect tax help, given that CPAs often join tax departments. The Economist article concludes by noting that the AIPCA “touts virtues such as autonomy, remote work, travel, the ability to live anywhere” as “just the sort of thing that many youngsters relish”. 

That’s important to bear in mind given that Gen Z will constitute about 33% of the workforce in three years. While tax departments and their HR colleagues may or may not be ready to integrate TikTok videos into their recruiting efforts, they should consider that these highly educated, entrepreneurial professionals differ in meaningful ways from other generations

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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