written by Vince Lendrum *
Following a comprehensive review of our activities last year, including consultation with members and key stakeholders, 2018 will be a year of action.
We look forward to rolling out member service initiatives that will include an ever-richer selection of events and a renewed focus on key emerging demographics, such as women in the tax profession and younger practitioners. This will set us on the path to deliver on our mission of shaping the tax profession of the future.
I look forward to meeting many more members at our 33rd National Convention in Cairns from 14 to 16 March. The convention organising committee has brought together a diverse range of high-profile, expert presenters from across the profession to deliver the quality technical sessions that have become a hallmark of this landmark event. It is very exciting to take the National Convention to North Queensland for the first time, and to deliver on the member request for a “destination location”.
The Barossa Convention will be back in May 2018, celebrating its 50-year anniversary. It is South Australia’s premier event for tax professionals and will feature a unique “SME” take on issues affecting practitioners nationwide. It will also include practical technical sessions, with an emphasis on “real-world” application, along with fantastic opportunities for attendees to network with peers.
The biennial National Resources Tax Convention will also return in October 2018 at the prestigious Crown Perth complex, focusing entirely on the mining, oil and gas sectors. It will provide excellent resources-specific training, networking and business development opportunities for all attendees.
In addition, the enrolment deadline for the first 2018 intake for our flagship educational courses is rapidly approaching — be sure to point your rising stars in our direction to continue their tax technical training and their path to attaining the CTA designation.
A number of new service initiatives will be rolled out this year, including programs for achieving a broader, deeper engagement with specific demographic segments that will be influential in terms of shaping the future of the tax profession in Australia.
One of these involves more proactive support for the growing impact of women in the tax profession. Along with a number of planned events, we recently launched the “Women in Tax” website (www. womenintax.com.au), which provides content for women and men who support gender equality in the tax, accounting and legal professions. The site includes articles and videos on subjects such as leadership, diversity and career progression.
Over the coming year, we will also implement an Australia-wide mentoring initiative that will support the career development of younger tax practitioners. The initial pilot program will include a selection of mentor–mentee pairs and will roll out for a period of nine months. Depending on its success, we plan to expand the program to larger numbers and the increasingly influential emerging segments of our member base.
As the reputation of our education courses, information products and opinion contributions increases, we also look forward to expanding their scope and reach. This will be supplemented by a range of changes to member benefits, including an annual briefing webinar and new information toolkits.
In my next report — and at the National Convention — The Tax Institute’s future strategy (which the National Council and executive team have developed over recent months) will be shared in more detail.
Acknowledging our role as the leading forum for the tax community in Australia, the strategy focuses on our three core activities of advancing knowledge, supporting current and future members, and advocating on behalf of the sector. This is in the context of a renewed commitment to represent current and future members and shape the future of the tax profession, while contributing to improving the tax system for the benefit of all.
I am optimistic about the future of the tax profession in Australia and The Tax Institute’s ability to positively influence this future. The Institute’s business fundamentals are strong, and we are determined to continue delivering successful outcomes for our members and the wider tax profession.
I also take this opportunity to welcome Tracey Rens to the position of president for 2018. Tracey is a senior partner at Deloitte Australia and has over 20 years’ experience in international tax. The International Tax Review has recognised Tracey as one of Australia’s “women in tax leaders”, and I am excited by what I’m sure will be a significant contribution to The Tax Institute and the wider tax profession.
I look forward to meeting with even more Institute members, and other tax professionals, at our events or on one of our educational courses over the coming months.
* Vince Lendrum is The Tax Institute’s interim CEO. This article was first published in the February 2018 issue of the Institute’s member-only journal, Taxation in Australia.