The challenge of communicating tax

Get tips for conveying complex tax issues to other members of the business.

Jeffrey C. LeSage

Jeffrey C. LeSage

Americas Vice Chairman, Tax, KPMG US

+1 212-872-2100

Transcript

Dave Winsko, Vice President, Global Tax, Westinghouse: To communicate in simple terms, very clearly in non-technical terms, what all this means (e.g. why is my rate so volatile). The challenge of communication I think is extraordinarily high. You can't sit in a in a CFO meeting or a board meeting and start you know spouting off code sections and start to get into granular details. CFOs don't want to know how to build the watch, they just want to know what time it.

Barb Beaulieu, VP, Head of Tax, Noble Corporation: I always find it’s my role as a Chief Tax Officer, to elevate the position and the profile of the tax department within the entire organization. So my philosophy is to get out of my office and to meet with my business partners, which are every other discipline within the organization. Primarily marketing and operations, but certainly every other discipline, so I have worked really hard at those relationships and keeping in contact. I've been lucky enough and grateful enough that we've always had a seat at the table for any strategic decisions.

Harris Horowitz, Global Head of Tax, BlackRock: We now need to be really effective communicators. Tax touches a lot of pieces of an organization.  Whether it starts from the organization chart, all the way through the development of earnings, where cash is, how cash can be moved around, and how the business model can be effective be it for direct or indirect taxes. So communicating taxes in non-technical way, to business folks at all levels, is really an important skill.

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