Insights from TEI Executive Director, Eli Dicker

Tax Executives Institute (TEI) Executive Director Eli Dicker recently visited Vertex headquarters to share his insights on the TEI membership and the future of his organization, address employee questions, huddle with our executive team and – perhaps most notably – provide a valuable dose of context.

Webster’s defines context in two ways:

  1. “The parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning;” and
  2. “The interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs.” Both meanings define core elements of our work at Vertex as well as one of our organizational valuesWe are responsible for understanding our customers.

Dicker has more than 25 years of experience in corporate tax, and he was appointed to his current role after serving as TEI’s chief tax counsel from 2005 to 2012. He succeeded his friend and longtime TEI Executive Director Timothy McCormally at the end of last year. (McCormally’s eloquent retirement column provides an excellent summary of TEI’s mission and evolution.) In addition to meeting with our executives, as part of the visits to all 14 of TEI’s Platinum Sponsors Dicker is conducting, he generously agreed to meet with our employees for a Q & A session as well.

Both sessions helped all of us within Vertex better understand the interrelated conditions corporate tax departments contend with while throwing light on how we can help our customers address their most meaningful tax challenges.

Dicker’s session with our executive team focused on a walk-through of Vertex Enterprise, our groundbreaking new solution for corporate tax. That said, our meeting with Dicker was light on marketing chatter and heavy on grounded, direct questions about the real-world problems that tax professionals face and how our tool addresses those issues. One of the most illuminating facets of our discussion with Dicker about Vertex Enterprise came courtesy of John Viglione, Chief Technology Officer. He led a discussion about Gartner’s recent “Nexus of Forces” research, which I intend to pass along in a future post.

One of the most illuminating, and impressive, facets of Dicker’s meeting with our workforce was the time and understanding he invested in understanding the questions our employees fired at him. After a five-minute introduction about TEI’s mission and its upcoming activities, Dicker devoted the rest of his time with Vertex employees, responding to their questions about TEI member challenges, tax laws, tax reform and related topics.

After fielding each question, Dicker was careful to find out where the questioner worked in our company; then, he would couch his responses in a way that resonated with the questioner’s role and work – whether our employee worked in tax research, the information technology function, sales or another part of our company.

Dicker’s objective was clear, and appreciated. He wanted to make his responses – which reflect the cumulative insights, challenges and thinking of more than 7,000 tax professionals who are TEI members – meaningful for our employees, who are hungry for as much customer context as 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.

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Jon Sappey

Director of Industry Relations

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Jon Sappey is Director of Industry Relations at Vertex, working with industry associations and other groups to maximize Vertex's support for and contribution to the advancement of the corporate tax profession. Jon came to Vertex in 1997 with a background in marketing, and he currently serves on a variety of strategy teams. He holds an MBA from Yale University and a BA from Harvard College.

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