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The Evolving Role of the Tax Professional

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In recent times the tax professional has seen an unprecedented amount of change across their specialism including regular developments to regulation, compliance, workplace environments and technology. Demands from businesses are falling more on the tax department to increase efficiency and contribute more to overall growth. Over the last twelve months, we’ve spoken to tax professionals to discover how their role is changing and how they are evolving with it.


With an increased drive towards automation, and technology solutions becoming more commonplace in many organisations, we are now seeing the role of the tax professional evolving to meet demands in other parts of the business. An increased focus on upskilling and the broadening of skill sets is becoming far more apparent. For organisations, providing training for upskilling has become an important factor in employee retention with a large percentage of tax professionals saying it increases employee engagement and satisfaction.


The upskilling trend has already started to slowly create new niche roles with the emergence of the Tax Technologist, a data analytics and tax specialist. This is the spark of a more diverse tax landscape and a fundamental change on how tax professionals can develop into specialisations with the market.

Employees aren’t just choosing to focus on hard skills though, with many looking to train emotional intelligence and communication skills. They are embracing soft skills as a way to improve efficiency and working relationships with colleagues and clients. 


COVID-19 has been a key factor in the evolution of how we all work over these last few months. The tax profession is no exception, with employees taking on alternative work arrangements such as remote working. This sudden change to our workplace environment had many organisations and tax departments in an initial state of uncertainty, namely around how they will cope and adapt to this new style of working. However, if these past weeks have shown us anything it is that these new arrangements can and do work efficiently, and we anticipate it is likely that these changes will become more commonplace in the future and become a key factor in how employers can attract or keep talent on board. 


Businesses have also quickly evolved in the current climate to embrace systems such as online training systems and cloud-based work environments. Technology isn’t the only way businesses are changing, many are taking on agile methodologies as a way to combat distance between employees.  


What these last few months have shown us all, is that an ability to be agile and adapt to change proves to be a very useful skillset, and if nurtured in the correct way can be extremely effective. This attitude is mirrored for the tax professional, where a positive attitude towards upskilling, and a willingness and ability to adapt to change will benefit the personal and future career development of the tax professional in this ever-evolving tax landscape.