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3 Important Traits for a State and Local Tax Analyst Candidate
The majority of tax and accounting hiring managers would agree – finding and retaining staff to work in state and local tax is a substantial challenge for their operation. However, many would be surprised to know the degree to which they are not alone. In a recent survey conducted by Allyn International, hiring and retaining employees to perform state and local tax duty is one of the top challenges for responding businesses’ tax and accounting departments – even more pervasive than audit concerns.
While there are a variety of traits that hiring managers would agree are essential to these roles – such as analytical mindsets, attention to detail, organization, and prioritization, there are several overlooked traits that when present in a hire increase the likelihood that the team member will find success and fulfillment in the role and will remain or grow within it for years to come. In this article we highlight 3 such overlooked traits that are must haves for any Allyn Tax hire.
Someone entering the state and local tax industry must be able to operate under the stress of working through uncertainties. The accounting industry is full of professionals who thrive in roles with order and regimented processes, who are seeking jobs where certainty can almost always be achieved, and there will always be an ability to get a decision made by a colleague or supervisor when they lack the security. There is nothing wrong with the desire to work within such frameworks and the more clean-cut areas of accounting, and we certainly need those type of people in our organizations, but state and local tax is not an area that provides such a role, and those without the resilience to power through uncertainty will experience burnout. Issues that won’t have absolutely certain answers will happen every day in their role. Issues with state filing websites, unexpected notices from a jurisdiction, a unique research issue where the laws or official guidance are unclear, to name a few. When navigating the map of state and local tax there is often no “X marks the spot”. You must use your skill set, experience, and training (often in that order) to find where you best believe the “X” should be. Those who thrive in this type of work, who are personally committed to the success of not just of their own contribution but the business itself and are resilient to the pressure and stress of uncertainty will similarly thrive in the role.
Continuing on the issue of uncertainty, an excellent candidate will be one that knows uncertainty exists even when it is not apparent. That is to say they exhibit awareness when they are performing their work to evaluate the areas where things may go wrong and more importantly the areas where they do NOT know things can go wrong. For example, the ideal team member would have the awareness to recognize when they are putting monthly tax data together where a seemingly trustworthy number looks inconsistent with your specific operation. Or perhaps they are conducting research on a taxability issue and reviewing laws and regulations and have the awareness to recognize when one minor piece of verbiage negates their ability to equate your business to that which is being addressed. At Allyn, we call this “finding the boogeyman”, the ability to be aware of what is lurking under the bed or in the closet of your tax challenges, waiting to become a problem. Team members who cannot exhibit awareness are going to be consistently blindsided by complications that while not necessarily in all cases are their direct fault or responsibility, will still lead to ineffectiveness in your tax operation.
Possibly the most underrated when it comes specifically to consultants, a successful state and local tax team member will exhibit empathy for the others who feel the effects of the taxes they manage on behalf of the organization. State and local tax touches nearly every element of a business’s operation from the expected like finance and sales, but also HR, marketing, individual operations, and more. If a sales and use tax audit is being done of a manufacturer, a plant manager may be pulled in and have substantial obligations explaining the use and purpose of certain equipment, or even have to explain and substantiate what percentage of time a forklift is used on the manufacturing floor versus the warehouse. For those who are typically so far distanced from tax concerns, these can be frustrating tasks and their lack of understanding of tax industry verbiage can be daunting. The tax authorities will rarely meet us 50/50, its typically their way or the highway, so a successful tax specialist will tap into their empathy and bridge the gap for those others affected in the organization as much as possible. Such empathy is not just a soft element, it has real operational advantage as such actions typically result in the tax specialist gaining a better understanding of their own operations and building relationships within their organization that allow for more effective and accurate tax functions. This even extends to empathy for the state and local jurisdictions. Those who work with them with understanding and grace, appreciative of the limitations face and requirements made of them, will see issues and audits resolved in a much smoother fashion.
Tips for the Taxpayer
It is just as important, if not more important, to identify if your company and job opening is the right fit for a potential candidate as it is to identify if you think they are the right fit for you. As with any role – it is best to hire for fit rather than simply skills or experience. If you attempt to force someone with the right skill set into a state a local tax role where they don’t have these three qualities, it is suffice to say you are operating on borrowed time.
Evaluate your candidates for resilience, awareness, and empathy. Be just as concerned with ensuring that your candidate does not end up in a job they will be unable thrive in as you are with filling your open role. The upfront effort is likely to pay dividends for years to come.
How Can We Help?
Looking for advice on your tax operations and hiring strategy? Reach out to us for help.
Even better, why not let Allyn be the staff of your tax operation? Allyn’s tax team is staffed with seasoned tax professionals experienced in all aspects of Federal, multi-state and local tax compliance and consulting for large US and global corporations. We use that experience to your advantage.
We are not your typical outsourced consultants – your business will get a specific tax analyst assigned to you, they will be your point person and always available to you – as one of our clients once said “When I contact them with an issue or action item, it is not unusual for them to respond immediately. It is almost like they are sitting in the office next to me. They essentially are an extension of my team rather than a third party”
At Allyn, we firmly believe that our clients' prosperity constitutes our own. We are proud to provide high-quality, cost-effective services to our customers, ensuring maximized savings and minimized costs, with expert-driven guidance along the way.
Contact us and we can provide a customized solution to meet your company’s needs. For further information on Allyn Tax services, please contact: email@example.com.
For More Information
If you are interested in learning more about this topic or other tax topics, please visit our Tax Publications under News & Publications at www.allynintl.com.
Contributor: Jordan Perri
About Allyn International
Allyn International is dedicated to providing high quality, customer centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management and global trade compliance. Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Allyn’s regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.A., Shanghai, P.R. China, Prague, Czech Republic, and Dubai, U.A.E. For more information, visit www.allynintl.com.