Future of Tax/Future of Vertex

  • October 16, 2015

Combine the demands for global transparency with the performance improvement potential of the cloud and big data, and what we have is a recipe for a whole new world for tax.

You have seen exceptional thought leadership from the Big 4 accounting firms, and a recent Tax Executive article highlighting that tax is poised for transformation.

As tax technology specialists, we anticipated these trends in our advanced strategic scenario planning more than a decade ago, shortly after we invested in income tax compliance. Since then we have progressed from the drawing board to the lab, and into the market with an iterative process to develop the first truly global, technology independent, open platform tax performance management and applications suite. We call it Vertex Enterprise, and it ushers in the era of Tax Possible.

Alongside our investment in advanced technology to enable tax to transcend manual processes and spreadsheets while liberating value trapped in silo-ed data stores, we also spent the decade investing aggressively in our ability to scale the organization to meet the needs of the global marketplace.

In preparation for the era of global transparency, we spent 10 years building on our investment in income tax and expanded our global presence with offices in England, the EU and Brazil — and plans for an operation in Asia are on track. We added and expanded our tax technology services consulting business in the U.S., and we've built deep integration of services models with PwC and Deloitte, in addition to furthering our partner relationships with EY, KPMG and a host of independent firms.

Finally, we've invested in our internal organization, redesigning ourselves gradually over the decade to deliver specialized solutions to the global enterprise, corporate and SMB segments of the marketplace, leveraging our uniquely collaborative culture. Together with our partner Spencer Stuart, we've invested substantially in the development of our leadership group, bringing on senior talent from across the industry.

All of this investment has been driving us toward being prepared with the right technology, right organization and right leadership for the era of Tax Possible.

And now that the future is unfolding before us, I am happy and proud to elevate 16-year Vertex veteran and current steward of our commercial strategy group, David DeStefano, to President. David will assume all day-to-day operational responsibilities effective January 2016. At the same time, I will assume responsibility for leadership of our Board of Directors as Chairman. And, I am equally excited to announce that David will ultimately succeed me as our third CEO and become a director on the Board the following year.

I have spent 20 years as President and CEO of Vertex, preparing the company to serve our industry with distinction in the remarkable era unfolding before us. My commitment, and that of our shareholder partnership, independent Board and exceptional leadership team, remains unwavering. Vertex exists to help tax professionals drive exceptional organizational performance so that their company's products and services can improve customers' lives.

I look forward to next year when I will congratulate David on his assumption of the CEO role and his energetic leadership of the company that will make your highest aspirations Tax Possible.

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

Jeff Westphal Headshot
Jeff Westphal

Jeff Westphal is co-owner of Vertex and serves on the Vertex Board of Directors. In 1988, he joined the company founded by his father, Ray Westphal. During his tenure, he has served as Director of Marketing, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and later as Executive Vice President. He was promoted to President in 1996 and to Chief Executive Officer in 2001. Under Jeff's stewardship, Vertex has established consulting and implementation service offerings, established European and Brazilian operations, and expanded to become the global leader in Enterprise Tax Performance solutions. During his tenure, Vertex was also awarded one of the "Top Workplaces" in the Delaware Valley and "The Best Place to Work in Pennsylvania.”

Since its start in 1978, Vertex has grown to around 900 professionals at its headquarters in the U.S. (King of Prussia, PA) and its global offices in Europe (London), Brazil (São Paulo), Dallas, Fort Collins, Naperville, Phoenix, San Francisco, Sarasota, and Seattle. Jeff is a member of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT), World Presidents' Organization (WPO), the Conference Board, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Middle Market Executive Council and is also a frequent speaker to business and community organizations.

Jeff served as Chairman of the Board of Open Connections, Inc. (a not-for-profit open educational organization) for 15 years and remains a trustee. In addition, he is Co-founder with his wife, Jenifer, of Kyle's Treehouse, (kylestreehouse.org), a web-based resource for families seeking hope and guidance for the treatment of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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