Leading the new, flexible tax practice.

AuthorLagarde, Brandon

If you have been leading a tax practice for any length of time, you know the pace of change is relentless, with constant and often last-minute developments in regulations and the Code, rapid-fire technological advancements, and ever-accelerating market and client demands.

Today, you are also likely to be managing a shift to a remote, or at least hybrid, work environment. That is, you are navigating the future of work right now.

As a leader, you must be several things you might not have envisioned when you were just starting your career --a change agent, an innovator, and an adept people manager. Of course, you must do all this without compromising the quality of the service you provide.

Most tax leaders understand the formidable issues they are facing. BDO's 2022 Tax Outlook Survey, which polled ISO senior tax executives of middle-market companies, asked leaders to name their top five personal challenges. Not surprisingly, staying abreast of the latest regulatory developments was at the top of the list, but it tied for the No. 1 spot with managing a workforce that is at least partially remote. The remaining top challenges were people- and technology-related. Using new technologies, tools, and techniques was followed by finding and retaining talented people. Rounding out the list was the increasing volume of work and continually higher expectations.

There are no simple solutions to these challenges. However, at BDO we have formed and refined a point of view over the course of several years that addresses remote work specifically but is also suited to accommodate the many evolutionary shifts leaders are grappling with in this new world of work.

It all starts with a mindset that expects and embraces change. To be a leader today, you must accept the fact that everything will continue to shift and advance. Your approach, and the tools you use, must also constantly evolve --not only to keep up but to stay in the forefront.

To get this evolution right, organizations should focus on two complementary business drivers: culture and innovation. Thoughtfully cultivating both drivers is especially important to unlock and fully benefit from a remote or flexible workplace strategy. It helps tax executives develop a more productive, engaged, and creative workforce. This, in turn, can help the organization to realize tax savings, advance transparency, and model what the future may hold for the business. It also elevates the department itself, allowing it to serve as a strategic adviser to the C-suite.

Culture comes first

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