What CIOs Want from Tax Leaders During COVID-19

Is our tax management software secure? Is our tax technology vendor staying on top of resiliency?

Many tax executives have fielded these questions from their information technology (IT) counterparts since the COVID-19 crisis began; others should expect to do so soon. Managing IT security and resiliency qualify as top CIO priorities right now, especially as IT leaders invest significant time and energy supporting the widespread shift to remote work while deploying, or improving, desktop virtualisation, virtual private networks (VPNs) and collaboration tools as quickly and securely as possible.

Tax executives’ relationships with their CIOs—and their CFOs—have  always been important, as my colleague Chris Livingston, cloud business leader for Vertex, discusses in a recent CIO.com podcast. Chris’ insights can help tax executives understand IT’s pre-COVID priorities, which included cloud migrations, cybersecurity and the growing use of advanced technologies, such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Collaborating with tax and finance executives qualified as a top CIO responsibility prior to the pandemic and those interactions have grown even more important today, as companies rapidly intensify focus on identifying financial risks and other business risks (e.g., ensuring that tax rules remain current amid numerous changes). Assessing and effectively managing those risks requires critical finance, accounting and tax management systems to remain up and running even as many organisations have quickly pivoted to a remote working model.

CIOs are juggling other new priorities in the wake of the pandemic declaration. For example, as companies extend networks and access to systems and other technology tools to their newly distributed workforces, the additional access points increase cybersecurity risk. Coronavirus-themed phishing scams are sadly on the rise, and IT leaders are hustling to repel those attacks while educating newly virtual teams on how to spot and sidestep these cyberbreaches.

Being proactive about phishing scams, increasing IT resources that support remote working models and developing greater IT resiliency figure prominently on a list of seven tips CIO.com identifies in its new CIO survival guide to the pandemic.

This short article will help tax leaders more effectively communicate with CIOs while both colleagues operate in crisis-management mode. It also provides some useful leadership guidance regarding crisis communications and engaging internal customers that tax executives can apply to closer to home.

Explore more resources from our industry influencers:

Jen Kurtz: Chief Technology Officer at Vertex Inc. Vertex delivers the world’s most valued tax solutions for companies to connect, transact, and comply while growing their business.

Jen Kurtz

Chief Technology Officer

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Jen Kurtz is the Chief Technology Officer focused on driving the technology strategy and next-generation products and solutions through customer innovation and emerging technologies. Jen leads the Office of Technology responsible for bringing together the technology vision, strategy, architecture, and capabilities required to drive breakthrough innovations that will propel Vertex forward in seizing new market opportunities.

Previously, Jen served as a lead member of the software development and commercial enterprise architecture teams. Prior to joining Vertex, she was a software engineer at Verizon and Platinum Technology (now Broadcom) respectively bringing large scale business applications to the market.

Jen has been honoured by Oracle for Women’s History Month and Working Mother Magazine at their annual Working Mother 100 Best Companies event. She regularly speaks at local and national technology conferences and has an M.S. in Computer Science from Villanova University and a B.S. in Computer Science from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

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