The rising role of the tax strategist



BDO recently released a copy of its “2023 BDO Tax Strategist Survey,” which announced that tax roles are taking more of a critical place at the decision-making table inside organizations. Notably however, the report includes feedback from more than 150 senior tax executives.

The majority of responses focused on the fact that these execs are technology focused and decision makers within their organizations with as much pull as any C-suite member.

So what were the priorities of these senior tax execs?

The survey spanned the gamut in terms of the responsibilities of those surveyed. Individuals were involved in a variety of aspects of organizational management including everything from cyber security to M&A activities to “economic resilience strategy.” This diverse range of focus areas is an illustration of just how integrated tax professionals are now in the everyday management of organizational operations.

As the tax code has become increasingly more complicated, at a time when the global economy is expanding, more complex areas of an organization are also subject to more complex tax structures. The survey reported that areas of focus for tax strategists are expected to continue to increase in terms of demand for professionals.

Global tax compliance as well as tax technology implementation were among the two largest focus areas for those surveyed. Unfortunately, the demand for these highly specialized skills are also combined with the largest challenge being lack of candidates with specialized knowledge.

With increased IRS funding and the expectation of more oversight, senior tax execs are gearing up now for what’s coming down the line. That means the demand for highly skilled tax professionals is only going to increase in both the public and private sectors. The 150 executives surveyed listed tax compliance software, enterprise resource planning software and tax provision software amongst their highest areas of focus for implementation of new technology over the next 12 months.

In addition, data analysis with predictive modeling is also a critical component for 12 month goals. This also means that predicted budgets for tax technology are rising.

All this is to mean that the squeeze of taxes is being felt outside of just small tax practice firms. Companies both large and small, nationwide, both inside and outside public accounting, are looking at their teams and resources needed to maintain tax compliance in an efficient manner. To do so means investing more in technology and developing a highly skilled team.

This also raises the question though of how much more pressure will be put on owners of tax preparation practices. As larger organizations seek to add highly skilled and valuable tax professionals to their team of executives based on their priorities, how many will be pulled from the current public sector? It will no doubt bring more hiring challenges to light as we move through the second half of the year.

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