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As IT Evolves, So Should Tax

Late last year, former Gartner CEO, Manny Fernandez focused his discussion to a group of IT executives on the changing expectations board members have concerning CIOs and technology investments. Fernandez, who now sits on the boards of five publicly listed companies, advised CIOs to “stop talking about technology and talk about business,” and to “frame conversations not in terms of costs, but in terms of revenue and EPS [earnings per share].” 

This guidance is very much in line the Future-State CIO model from the CIO Executive Council that charts the evolutionary journey IT leaders go through as they progress toward a state where IT plays a central role in driving business strategy.  The Council’s D-Suite extends the thinking beyond just the CIO role, to an "all-in" partnership across company leadership that drives business transformation, smarter decisions, and seeing the future more clearly in the eyes of the customer.  

As an active member, board advisor and mentor in the Council, I see that IT leaders and CIOs work at different points in the Future-State CIO and D-Suite models, from functional operators of technology plants, through leading transformations, to operating as C-level peers in the creation of business strategy. Through my work at Vertex, I see industry tax professionals going through similar journeys to CIOs, advancing the role that tax plays in all aspects of their companies. Tax and IT can be partners in their mutual journeys.  

CTOs and tax professionals should leverage the CIO’s journey to advance their own ideas. Here are a few things to keep in mind:  

  • First, IT is changing, and must continue to change. Tax and IT can change together. 
  • Second, CIOs are looking for opportunities to deliver business value. Tax is an area ripe for adding value to the company. 
  • Third, it’s all about business.  Frame tax investments and tax transformation in business terms. 

Now, you might be wondering how you can get closer to IT and the CIO. As advocated by Vertex's very own Peggi Rockefeller in a recent blog here, Tax IT Whispering is a skill that can help. As you build your whispering skills, think about where your CIO is on their own Future-State CIO journey and where you are on yours. Bring the two together for mutual success!   

Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information.


About this Contributor

Chris Kohl Headshot
Chris Kohl
Vice President & CIO

Chris Kohl is Vice President, Corporate Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Vertex. Chris is responsible for Vertex's technology infrastructure and internal systems and works with leaders across the company to drive business success through appropriate application of technology, systems, and process improvements. Since joining the company in 2003, he has transformed the IT organization from back-office function to strategic contributor. He also provides executive leadership to the facilities and real estate functions within Vertex.

Prior to Vertex, Chris held multiple IT positions in Fortune 1000 companies. He also had a successful tenure as an independent consultant working with healthcare and financial services organizations on strategic IT realignments.

Chris is an active member of the CIO Executive Council, a global professional organization of 500+ CIOs focused on delivering business value through IT. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University and holds an MBA from Villanova University.

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