<h4><span style="font-size:16px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><strong>To satisfy increased demand for tax insights, future tax professionals will need a far broader skill set.</strong></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif">While it may come as a surprise, this kind of job spec will become increasingly familiar in the world of tax. Once the skill set of a senior tax executive was centred predominantly on extensive knowledge of how to apply complex rules. But now, disruptive forces, including globalization and digitalization, mean that the skills necessary to be a successful tax professional are undergoing a remarkable evolution.<br /> <br /> Pioneering university tax programs are now striving to ensure that future tax professionals are equipped to deal with the challenges posed by real-time tax reporting advancements and new transparency requirements, driven by global initiatives such as the OECD&rsquo;s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project.<br /> <br /> The war for tax talent has never been fiercer. While a strong technical orientation will remain important, the tax professional of the future will need to have a more rounded skill set, including the following four key competencies:</span></span></h4> <h4><span style="font-size:16px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><strong>1.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Application of robotics, AI and automation:</strong></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif">Tax function roles typically involve standard processes. Companies that invest in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and process automation will be able to automate much resource-heavy, repetitive tax work. This will allow companies to quickly dispense with the most tasks that are carried out thousands of times a day. In turn, more challenging work for tax professionals should be the outcome.<br /> <br /> Tax professionals will therefore need to develop new skills and an understanding of how to apply new cutting-edge technologies. And recruiters will be seeking to headhunt individuals from non-traditional backgrounds. Indeed, an increasing number of the next generation of tax professionals will come from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.</span></span></h4> <h4><span style="font-size:16px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><strong>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The capacity to analyse data:</strong></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif">Until recently, tax advisers were relied upon to understand the rules and to advise the&nbsp;business on the tax consequences in the jurisdictions where business was conducted. As the world has become more digital, and as tax collection is automated, introducing almost &ldquo;real-time&rdquo; assessment, companies are investing in technology to digitize their reporting processes.<br /> These changes create real-time data, which businesses need to extract, analyse and validate to ensure the appropriate tax rules are applied to the information it generates. The emergence of the &ldquo;tax technologist&rdquo; &mdash; who understands data analytics as well as the tax rules &mdash; can support the development of real-time tax dashboards and visualization techniques, to offer game-changing opportunities for tax professionals to add value in new ways. This is driving a wholesale shift in the competencies required by tax functions the world over. And, ultimately, it will reshape the talent dynamic across the whole profession.</span></span></h4> <p><span style="font-size:16px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><strong>3.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The ability to be a influencer</strong>:</span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif">Tax directors are increasingly becoming key players at the front-end of business strategy. With the international tax structure undergoing a fundamental overhaul in response to BEPS and other global tax initiatives, the tax department is being further drawn into a broader strategic business role.</span></span></p> <h4><span style="font-size:16px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><strong>4.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Adaptability as part of a more purposeful, contingent workforce:</strong></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif">Companies are increasingly being challenged to leverage a more mobile, &ldquo;on-demand&rdquo; global workforce to deal with labour shifts and shortages. Sophisticated recruitment platforms now make it possible for organizations to employ &ldquo;gig&rdquo; workers on a temporary basis, so they are agile enough to scale resources to demand, and to cater to a new generation of workers looking for greater flexibility. At the same time, these workers are seeking a higher sense of meaning and purpose in the work they do, and are willing to move to different companies more rapidly to broaden their experiences.<br /> <br /> Tax functions will need not only to adapt to emerging gig workforce trends, but also to optimize recruitment processes to train, manage and nurture a workforce with a new set of employee expectations. Companies will also need to make provision for the new set of motivators required for, and the new risks and challenges presented by, short-term employees in an increasingly contingent talent pool.</span></span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:16px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><strong>Business-shapers of the future:</strong></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif">With so many forces at play &mdash; from globalization to the arrival of BEPS &mdash; the tax function will continue to evolve toward a more automated business function led by a new generation of tech-savvy professionals. Many of the talent strategies that worked yesterday will no longer work tomorrow, and the demand for a more flexible approach to talent management is far greater than before.<br /> As a new breed of tax professional emerges in this digital world, the tax function will continue to evolve, while its strategic decision-making position will remain as important as ever to an organization&rsquo;s success.</span></span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:16px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><strong>Conclusion:</strong></span></span><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:verdana,geneva,sans-serif"><strong> </strong>Tax leaders must make sure their function is prepared to recruit, manage and nurture the very different tax professionals of tomorrow.</span></span></h4>


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