Telling the C-Suite about the Tax Function of the Future

  • November 15, 2018

Major, and multiple, global tax policy changes are capturing the attention of C-suites and boards. As tax executives help senior colleagues and board members respond to these pivotal changes, it makes sense for them to focus on a related and similarly critical topic: what the tax function of the future will need to thrive.

That’s the premise of a new European CEO article authored by Vertex Chief Technology Officer Jen Kurtz. “A rapidly changing global tax policy environment has instilled tax planning with a growing strategic importance,” Jen notes while pointing out that most of these policy and regulatory changes require tax departments to collect more – and more detailed – data while providing an increasingly real-time view of the organization’s tax-compliance activities.

Telling the C-Suite about the Tax Function of the Future

For tax functions to flourish in their increasingly important role, they will need to recruit and develop new talent, put in place new supporting technology and advance their collaboration with the information technology (IT) function.

“Many tax functions are discovering they have a growing need for tax experts with data management and data science skills – and they’re not alone,” Jen writes. “Other parts of the organization and other companies are hungry for data science talent, which intensifies competition.”

As Jen has previously described, more tax functions want to recruit and develop “tax technologists” – tax-first professionals who complement their tax policy and compliance expertise with valuable knowledge of tax technology (and how it fits with enterprise technology). By laying out this type of talent need – along with related technology and relationship management changes – tax leaders can make a clear and compelling case for why and how their functions need to transform to address an increasingly uncertain external tax environment.

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

Michael J. Bernard Headshot
Michael J. Bernard
Chief Tax Officer, Transaction Tax

Michael Bernard is the Chief Tax Officer of Transaction Tax. In his role, he provides insight and thought leadership around tax department operations, U.S. indirect tax, tax risk management, and tax policy, as well as emerging tax trends. He is an executive-level tax attorney with a diverse portfolio of experience in corporate tax, administration, and finance, including a substantive knowledge of U.S. and international tax laws.

Prior to joining Vertex, Michael was in various tax leadership roles at Microsoft Corporation for 28 years, the most recent being Senior Director – Tax Counsel. Michael led teams in the following functional areas: direct and indirect tax controversy, sales and use, business license, property, tax IT, SOX, and telecommunications. He also co-led a corporate taxpayer advocacy group with the Washington Department of Revenue and was a Director on the Board of the Washington Research Council. Michael has also testified before administrative and lawmakers at both the federal and state level.

Michael earned both a J.D. and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Creighton University. He is a part-time lecturer of Law in the LLM program at the University of Washington School of Law. Michael also served on the board of directors, executive committee, and chaired committees for The Tax Executives Institute (TEI) for nearly 25 years.

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