Tax Talent Management Tips, Part II

  • July 14, 2014

As I mentioned in a previous post, there is a growing need to recruit and develop future tax leaders. That post focused on useful recruiting practices; here, I will discuss development practices.

Most tax functions conduct a variety of technical training sessions. These programs, which typically include in-house tax seminars, are highly valuable. Many tax executives and managers also actively encourage tax professionals to become members of a professional tax organization – such as TEI, IFA, or COST—and, in some cases, to pursue advanced degrees, such as an M.S. in taxation. It is equally important, of course, for tax leaders to provide their staffs with the time necessary to participate in professional organizations and/or to further their education.

These training activities delivers on the dual benefit of advancing tax professionals development while ensuring that the tax function has access to the latest tax intelligence. That said, there are two other less formal development activities that can help companies from a tax talent management perspective: rotations and exposure.

  • Rotations: The primary form of rotation relates to jobs. Job rotations give rising tax professionals the opportunity to explore most, if not all, tax areas.  For example, income tax professionals should learn about all phases of the income tax life cycle – from the tax provision, to the tax return, to tax audit management, to tax planning. The same rotation philosophy can be applied to transaction tax professionals; they should be involved in both tax return and tax exam processes while having an opportunity to interact with the various businesses and customers when reporting and collection issues arise. Another form of rotation relates to the specific areas of the company and, in the case of large companies, which businesses the tax professional works with. It is helpful to assign tax professionals specific business responsibilities (e.g., compliance) and then rotate these business assignments on a periodic basis.
  • Exposure: Another leading tax talent management practices is to ensure that all in-house tax personnel have adequate exposure with the senior executive management team as well as ongoing exposure with various corporate functions, business leaders, and business personnel.

Employing an integrated and holistic recruiting and development approach can greatly enhance a company’s ability to attract and retain the right type of tax talent in an age of tax talent scarcity.

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

Bill Brennan Headshot
Bill Brennan
Former Chief Tax Officer

William Brennan was formerly a Chief Tax Officer at Vertex, Inc. He has over 33 years of tax experience with a record of building, developing, and leading large corporate tax departments. Bill has worked in many industries throughout his career including healthcare, software, financial services, transportation and manufacturing. His tax practice experience has included planning, intercompany transfer pricing, structuring/restructuring of business operations, offshore intangibles, contract manufacturing, cross-border financing, mergers and acquisitions, legislation, private letter rulings, examinations, administrative appeals, and litigation. As a former Vertex Chief Tax Officer, Bill provided insight and thought leadership regarding in-house corporate tax department operations, global tax law and policies, and emerging tax industry trends. In addition, Bill advised Vertex’s Board of Directors and senior management on the development of the company’s income tax solutions under Vertex Enterprise. Prior to working at Vertex, Bill was the Vice President-Taxes at McKesson Corporation for 12 years. McKesson Corporation is a Fortune 15 company with revenue in excess of $130 billion, and is the largest pharmaceutical distributor and health care information technology company in North America. In addition, Bill has held senior leadership roles for a number of other Fortune 500 companies throughout his career. Bill received a Master of Science in Taxation from Golden Gate University and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Marquette University. He is a licensed CPA and a member of the AICPA, IFA and USCIB.

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