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Outsourcing Compliance: a Strategic Career Move

Brian Smith, Director of Indirect Taxes for The DIRECTV Group, frames outsourcing as a strategic choice – and a choice career move.

“For me, personally, outsourcing compliance meant I got out of the paper-pushing business and deeper into the tax business,” he recently told me. “I’ve been able to grow my career and so has my staff.”

Smith was talking about his partnership with Vertex Sales & Use Tax Returns Outsourcing. His decision to outsource is interesting for a couple of reasons.  

First, his decision was proactive. That’s important. When DIRECTV’s CFO challenged the company’s tax function to find ways to become more revenue-driven, Smith and his team did a little math. Their ensuing return-on-investment analysis of the compliance process showed Smith and his staff that outsourcing returns would save money and something potentially even more valuable: their time.

By spending less time on the administrative aspect of compliance, they could focus on conducting reverse audits, scrutinizing product taxability issues, and ensuring that they are billing taxes accurately.

“These were things that were more critical to the evolution of our business and to keeping our customers happy,” Smith said.

These higher-value activities also had some career-boosting benefits, another reason why DIRECTV's returns outsourcing is noteworthy. In the years since outsourcing sales and use tax returns, Smith has devoted time that previously would have been consumed by low-value (yet necessary) compliance work to focusing on projects like M&A due diligence, helping the company shape its legislative policy, and sizing up new tax technology investments.

“It’s a lot better to be viewed as a contributing resource to the company rather than just an expense of the company,” added Smith.

What type of activities could you focus on if you didn't have to spend time on straight compliance work?

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.

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About this Contributor

Stephanie Malin Headshot
Stephanie Malin
Director, Managed Services

Stephanie Malin is Director of Managed Services at Vertex where she is responsible for leading the development of strategic initiatives for the outsourcing business. She has been with Vertex for more than 20 years working in marketing and product management roles for both transaction tax and income tax technology products. Stephanie currently serves on the Corporate Market Strategy Team and leads the Managed Services Task Force. Her prior experience has been with financial and technology companies. Stephanie has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Drexel University and an MBA from Temple University.

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