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Tax Professionals as Project Managers: Advice from The Walt Disney Company Tax Director Shanna Steed



Shanna Steed, a speaker at the marcus evans Tax Officers Summit XVII Spring 2014, lists the project management skills and expertise that Tax Officers need to deliver tax projects

NEW YORK, NY, Apr 29, 2014 - (ACN Newswire) - Tax Officers today should develop good project management skills, in order to operate in today's complex global business environment and enhance the delivery of tax projects, advises Shanna Steed, Director, Tax Provision, The Walt Disney Company. The primary skills required are good communication, organization and tax technical expertise, she adds.

A speaker at the marcus evans Tax Officers Summit XVII Spring 2014 in Palm Beach, Florida, May 15-17, Steed details the project management skills and expertise required of a tax leader:

- Communication. Both written and oral communication skills are critical to understanding project scope and stakeholder requirements and then conveying those data points to the project team.

Understand all the parameters around what is requested. Some Tax Leaders are reluctant to have a full discussion with the person making the enquiry. They start the project or calculation based on assumptions and the deliverable does not meet expectations. This can create chaos within the tax department.

- Organization. Front load the project. Understand time constraints, staffing needs, milestone and deliverable dates, and agree project components with stakeholders. Tax departments have ongoing regulatory and statutory deliverables. Layering on incremental work will cause stress. Step back, understand what staffing resources are available, match them to availability and skill set or get external resources as necessary.

- Tax technical expertise. To achieve the intended result for a particular project, specific expertise may be required on a particular subject matter. Identify, build or acquire needed resources early.

- Be agile. The tax function must be agile to handle requests and to move resources and capabilities to current priorities and requirements. Adapting quickly to changes in tax rules, as well as changes in business environment and operations are key to success.

- Keep executive summaries simple. A finance professional without a tax technical background should be able to understand the key points without getting lost.

- Good documentation. Keep a record of all project issues that arise and how each issue is resolved or mitigated.

- Be audit ready. Develop audit-ready project files and documents.

- Train staff. Continually build skills, so team members are prepared to respond to changes in the environment or company. Change is inevitable, so change management has to be part of the department's culture. Be proactive in building personal and technical skills, but also have the technology tools to efficiently adapt to those changes.

- Align with the business operations. Ensure the tax department has a seat at the table when various business initiatives are being discussed or planned, so that tax considerations are part of the initial discussion and not an afterthought.

About the Tax Officers Summit XVII Spring 2014

This unique forum will take place at the PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, May 15-17, 2014. The Summit offers solution providers and tax executives an intimate environment for a focused discussion of key new drivers shaping the future of the tax industry. The Summit includes presentations on corporate tax management, international tax planning, corporate tax reform and transfer pricing policy.

For more information please send an email to [email protected] or visit the event website at www.taxofficerssummit.com/ShannaSteedInterview

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Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world's leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit www.marcusevans.com.

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