What CIOs Want from Tax Leaders During COVID-19

  • May 29, 2020

Is our tax management software secure? Is our tax technology vendor staying on top of resiliency?

Many tax executives have fielded these questions from their information technology (IT) counterparts since the COVID-19 crisis began; others should expect to do so soon. Managing IT security and resiliency qualify as top CIO priorities right now, especially as IT leaders invest significant time and energy supporting the widespread shift to remote work while deploying, or improving, desktop virtualization, virtual private networks (VPNs) and collaboration tools as quickly and securely as possible.

Tax executives’ relationships with their CIOs—and their CFOs—have  always been important, as my colleague Chris Livingston, cloud business leader for Vertex, discusses in a recent CIO.com podcast. Chris’ insights can help tax executives understand IT’s pre-COVID priorities, which included cloud migrations, cybersecurity and the growing use of advanced technologies, such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Collaborating with tax and finance executives qualified as a top CIO responsibility prior to the pandemic and those interactions have grown even more important today, as companies rapidly intensify focus on identifying financial risks and other business risks (e.g., ensuring that tax rules remain current amid numerous changes). Assessing and effectively managing those risks requires critical finance, accounting and tax management systems to remain up and running even as many organizations have quickly pivoted to a remote working model.

CIOs are juggling other new priorities in the wake of the pandemic declaration. For example, as companies extend networks and access to systems and other technology tools to their newly distributed workforces, the additional access points increase cybersecurity risk. Coronavirus-themed phishing scams are sadly on the rise, and IT leaders are hustling to repel those attacks while educating newly virtual teams on how to spot and sidestep these cyberbreaches.

Being proactive about phishing scams, increasing IT resources that support remote working models and developing greater IT resiliency figure prominently on a list of seven tips CIO.com identifies in its new CIO survival guide to the pandemic.

This short article will help tax leaders more effectively communicate with CIOs while both colleagues operate in crisis-management mode. It also provides some useful leadership guidance regarding crisis communications and engaging internal customers that tax executives can apply to closer to home.

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. The views and opinions expressed in Tax Matters are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position, or opinion of Vertex Inc.

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