Kurtis Bond.

Kurtis Bond first gravitated toward tax when he was in law school. "I think it was the problem-solving that initially interested me--the challenge of figuring out how to navigate and interpret a complex statute that applies to a wide range of relationships," he explains.

In addition, Bond says, he really liked (and still likes) how integral tax is to modern society. "It's a driver of behavior, a tool used by governments to effect change and fund initiatives, and it is constantly changing to (ideally) reflect current values," he says. For example, Bond notes, "if you look at what's happening in the world right now, tax is always in the news--the global OECD BEPS initiatives that impact multinational tax-base considerations, the recent U.S. tax reform that has highlighted international competitiveness concerns, and the changes to the taxation of small businesses and their owners in Canada that have impacted the day-to-day lives of many individual taxpayers." Bond, now tax manager and managing tax counsel at ConocoPhillips Canada, says his time at the company has provided him with diverse experiences, including planning and executing complex reorganization transactions; navigating audits, appeals, and litigation matters; and dealing with tax accounting in an international company. "It's all interesting," he says, and "the best part of being in tax is that you're never done learning."

Bond calls the Canada tax team at ConocoPhillips "exceptional": "They're a great group of talented individuals that really know their stuff and work well together. Being a Canadian subsidiary of a U.S.-based multinational company, we also work closely with our U.S. colleagues, and the relationships that have been developed there have allowed us to collaborate very effectively. I think the ability to discuss and understand everyone's concerns and work toward a common objective to provide the best result for the enterprise has been a huge benefit to the organization."

Private Versus Corporate Practice

Prior to ConocoPhillips, Bond was in private practice at a law firm. How do the experiences compare? "Both have their pluses, but I really enjoy where I'm at now," he says. "I went into law school thinking that I would use the skills for business and didn't really intend to practice law in the traditional sense, so being at a company where you can participate in business decisions, impact the direction of the company, and see the long-term impact of your and others'...

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