written by Vince Lendrum *
Tracey Rens, in her President’s report for March, shared our vision for the future of the tax profession and The Tax Institute’s determination to play an important role in shaping that future.
In this month’s CEO’s Report, I will focus on what this means for the evolving needs of our current and future members, and how The Tax Institute will continue to adapt its services to meet these needs.
The first practical implication of the Institute’s new vision and strategy is that they provide clarity around what we do and why we do it. Specifically, The Tax Institute is “committed to representing our members, shaping the future of the tax profession and continuous improvement of the tax system for all”. There is equal clarity around the three pillars of how we do this — “through the advancement of knowledge, support of members and advocacy”.
I will explore what this may look like in three key areas:
1. support of members
2. advancement of knowledge
1. Support of members
Here at The Tax Institute, we are continually observing the changing nature of the tax profession and the needs of tax professionals, and will continue to adapt to their broadening requirements. This pillar will remain at the centre of everything the Institute does.
In response, we are evolving our products and services to serve increasingly influential segments of our current and future membership and will do so in a way that delivers increasing levels of value.
This is already evident in the launch of the Women in Tax National Congress and the Women in Tax website, designed to support the career progression of female practitioners. We have launched a new national mentoring program to support younger practitioners and will be launching new tax tools for SME practitioners. There will also be a renewed focus on delivering exceptional value through our established activities of building vibrant tax communities, organising events, delivering opportunities for knowledge sharing and learning, and providing tax insights and advocacy.
In addition, in line with our aspiration to shape the future of the profession, services will evolve to serve a wider range of stakeholders for whom tax is central to their professional success. This will see a wider membership base and a deeper engagement with the traditional membership across Australia. Specifically, this will involve a key-account approach to the major professional services organisations, government departments and other sectors with which we have direct links.
2. Advancement of knowledge
Core to our contribution to the profession is the tax-technical knowledge that exists across our membership. This has contributed to upskilling the profession, with record numbers of participants in both our CPD and more formalised modules of study.
Our information repository and access to the most current, complete and practical body of knowledge in this space is unsurpassed. Our challenge is to make better use of this knowledge for the further benefit of our members.
We will continue to identify the current and future needs of the profession, then design, create and/or curate appropriate, high-quality content (from purely tax-technical information to advice on soft business skills), which we will deliver to current and future members in ways that suit their varying needs. This will fulfil our ambition of supporting the knowledge and learning needs of current and future members throughout their life-long journey as tax professionals.
Advocacy is the area in which the Institute and its 'virtual army' of volunteers and members can have the most impact on the future of the tax system and on the profession as a whole.
Significant inroads have already been made through the appointment of a dedicated Senior Tax Council, resulting in a heightened media profile and increased member satisfaction with regard to their representation.
By engaging with the membership, assimilating ideas and concerns, formulating well-considered opinions and insights, and having the appropriate links and relationships with relevant government and private sector stakeholders, the Institute — and, by extension, its members – will have the satisfaction of positively influencing the direction and implementation of the tax system as a whole. Being an increasingly credible voice for the profession further enhances the value of the Institute’s brand and the benefit members derive from being associated with it.
To achieve all this, other areas of the organisation will need to adapt and evolve. Additional goals have been set to ensure the Institute is a great organisation to work and volunteer for, our governance and leadership practices are at a world-class level, and our technology and support infrastructure becomes a true enabler and facilitator of the future.
* Vince Lendrum is The Tax Institute’s interim CEO. This article was first published in the March 2018 issue of the Institute’s member-only journal, Taxation in Australia.