Shaping our tax profession of tomorrow

written by Tracey Rens *

In 2018, The Tax Institute celebrates its 75th anniversary.

Since the Institute’s establishment in 1943, Australia’s tax system has changed dramatically and we have evolved to meet the growing needs of the profession.

For 75 years, we have advocated for a better tax system, helped people connect, shared knowledge, educated young tax professionals and built a vibrant membership.

We are now Australia’s leading educator and professional association in tax, with over 12,000 members. The Institute’s Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) designation has also become the tax profession’s premier credential.

This, however, doesn’t mean we can be complacent. The Tax Institute and the tax profession need to prepare for the future by embracing change, disruption, innovation and a broader perspective. We need to actively shape the tax profession of tomorrow.

Our vision

Towards the end of 2017, the Institute undertook a strategic review, which established the following vision statement that articulates our identity, activities and purpose:

“The Tax Institute is the leading forum for the tax community in Australia. We are committed to representing our members, shaping the future of the tax profession and continuous improvement of the tax system for the benefit of all, through the advancement of knowledge, support for members and advocacy.”

This sets out, in a single, clear statement, the Institute’s:

  • 'who we are' — the “leading forum for the tax community in Australia”
  • 'what we do' — “advancement of knowledge, supporting members and advocacy”, and
  • 'why we do it' — “representing our members, shaping the future of the tax profession and continuous improvement of the tax system for the benefit of all”.

The review also identified the key strategic objectives, being: (1) governance; (2) the “three pillars” of membership, knowledge and advocacy; and (3) people.

The strategic objectives

From the review, the following five key strategic objectives were identified:

  1. governance: implementing effective governance systems, structures and procedures across all leadership, management and operational functions
  2. membership: maximising tax community reach and providing a great member experience
  3. knowledge: helping to shape the future of the tax profession (through the advancement of knowledge) and supporting members and the broader tax community at each stage of their career through the provision of life-long learning
  4. advocacy: identifying areas for reform and achieving policy objectives, drawing from our members’ experiences and our dedicated policy team, and
  5. people: supporting our employees and volunteers, attracting and developing talent ideally suited to shaping the future of the tax community, and building a high-performance team and a culture that embrace the highest levels of engagement, commitment and effectiveness.

The voice of the tax profession

Into the future, to an even greater degree, The Tax Institute will fulfil its responsibility of being the voice of our members, and of the wider tax community. In this context, we have an obligation to monitor all change taking place in the tax environment and to communicate the potential implications on an ongoing basis to members and other stakeholders.

Examples of such change include:

  • the increase in the complexity and breadth of issues, situations, expectations and challenges that affect the tax profession
  • the need for tax practitioners to work even more closely with other professionals in the process of formulating and providing optimal solutions to clients, and
  • the Australian Taxation Office’s focus on single-touch payroll and other initiatives associated with the ways it interacts with taxpayers, tax professionals and the wider community.

The Tax Institute also has an obligation to advocate for appropriate future changes to the tax system, based on informed feedback from our members.

In all of these cases, we require Institute members to keep sharing their experiences. The more informed we are, the greater our collective impact will be.

I therefore look forward to speaking with many of our members at our events throughout the year. Please share with us your concerns, opinions and success stories.

I also encourage you, as members (no matter what your background or current role may be), to put yourself forward in terms of nominating for Institute roles such as getting involved in our various committees, working parties, journals and other opportunities that enable you to contribute to the Institute, other members and the tax profession as a whole.

* Tracey Rens CTA is The Tax Institute’s President. This article was first published in the March 2018 issue of the Institute’s member-only journal, Taxation in Australia.


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