As companies accelerate their digital transformation, embed new ways of working, and identify new growth opportunities, they are relying on tax perspective to help them navigate the challenges that arise along the way. The tax function is being called on to transform its role from compliance manager to that of a strategic partner to the business.

Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels to accelerate sustainable transformation. The rapid shift towards digital tax administration is adding further urgency to operational transformation. In effect, tax leaders need to redefine the tax core. Redefinition of the tax code has profound implications for the future of tax talent.

There are dramatic shifts underway in how tax work is done. Deeper automation, for instance, is a top priority for tax leaders in terms of changing how compliance processes are managed. This will alter the day-to-day roles of tax professionals. Tax leaders recognize that their teams need entirely new technical skills, with data analytics and technology transformation at the top of their wish lists.

Post-COVID hybrid and remote-working models are now the norm. Tax leaders must take new approaches to talent recognition, career development, and technology workflow adaptation as top of their agendas. Hybrid professionals, i.e., tax technology and business-advisory specialists, are fundamental to the future talent model. Companies, however, are struggling to hire and develop such professionals. Those that exist today tend to be tax specialists who have developed technology and advisory skills on the job.

As digital transformation proceeds apace, the tax function must become accustomed to working in an environment of growing transparency, as the public and tax authorities want to know who pays how much tax, when, and where. Most tax leaders believe that, over the next three to five years, tax authorities will have more direct access to their IT systems.

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