How to Hire Tax Technologists

  • March 16, 2020

Of the many challenges bearing down on business leaders, “the one affecting them most is unquestionably the fight to hire and retain the talent they need,” writes Oracle Profit Magazine’s Minda Zetlin. “Nowhere is long-term thinking more vital than when it comes to planning today for the technology team you’ll need a few years from now.” 

To be clear, the “them” Zetlin’s article is addressing consists of chief information officers (CIOs) and other IT leaders. However, just as most companies across all industries are operating more like technology companies so, too, are more internal functions taking a page from the CIO’s playbook and hiring for technology skills. Vertex Chief Technology Officer Jen Kurtz has previously written on the tax function’s growing need for tech-savvy talent, a group she refers to as “tax technologists.” Zetlin’s article, which also cites insights from Jen, shares some practical tips for hiring and grooming tech talent. 

According to Jen, as the amount of organizational transaction and tax data soars and as more tax functions invest in powerful tax technology, tax leaders have a growing need to hire more tax experts with technology skills.  

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“These skills might include deep knowledge of tax software and/or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, an understanding of basic coding or experience selecting external technology vendors and managing those relationships,” Jen writes in this Tax Matters post. “To be clear, tax technologists are tax professionals first. They must have the same expertise tax professionals have always possessed when it comes to the intricacies of tax policy and compliance. The difference is that tax technologists also know how specific technology, in the tax function and throughout the organization, can be effectively and efficiently deployed to help address all of those tax management intricacies.” Zetlin’s reporting on IT-hiring trends shows how important it is for technologically skilled professionals to continually learn and expand their skill sets. Until recently, for example, an expert in Java or relational databases could count on working in those areas for years. That’s no longer the case. IT functions are “really starting to look for people who are lifelong learners,” Jen explains in the Oracle article.

IT professionals certainly need a foundational ability to develop, test, implement and/or maintain software, but they also need to demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning. That’s why Jen looks for job candidates with a knack for troubleshooting and an affinity for new technologies in addition to possessing the requisite technology skills. Tax leaders interested in hiring tax technologists might consider screening candidates for similar competencies.

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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