The Changing Role of the Head of Tax

Todays’ Tax Leaders need to build strong relationships with the CFO & the Board, but it doesn’t just stop there. More than ever, Tax Leaders need to immerse themselves within the wider organisation and will be expected communicate and liaise across multiple departments.

The expectation of Tax Leaders

The role of today’s Tax Leader is constantly evolving. The demands on a company’s Tax Leader are varied and individuals need to show they are able to understand the business drivers across the entire company.

This means they need to understand how their company generates revenue; the importance of reputation and the difference in motivation between Exec & Non-Exec Directors. They need to understand the importance of PR; they need to liaise with more internal departments than ever before (for example, Communications, Marketing and Legal) to ensure they send the correct message, in the correct language.

There is also a need to be able to sell ideas to key members of the organisation; a need to be able to explain Tax in plain language; as well as the need for Tax Leaders to earn the right to be ‘at the main table’. Tax Leaders must also ensure that the business’ Tax Department stays in line with the general trends of the market by convincing CFO’s to invest in modernising the Tax department to ensure it doesn’t get left behind.

Tax Leaders must be able to speak ‘business’ and ‘finance’ with the CFO and they need to put a tax strategy in place that fits with the company’s objectives. They need to know how to engage with the tax authorities; when to be tough & when to negotiate; and they must recognise that everything is open to being challenged (and probably will be).

In summary, a Tax Leaders must now be a dynamic member of the organisation,  representing the Tax department and understanding how tax impacts all aspects of the business.