Playing to win

Jeff LeSage, KPMG’s Americas Vice Chairman – Tax, reflects on the results of the CTO Outlook study.

By Jeffrey C. LeSage

For tax practitioners, the title CTO traditionally designates a company’s Chief Tax Officer. But as many of them told us in our survey, today it clearly stands for so much more.

It stands for Chief Talent Officer, as they work to staff their functions to meet the evolving demands of tax regulation and their own businesses.

It stands for Chief Technology Officer, as they grapple to not just keep up with but to get ahead of the technologies that can help their departments make meaningful contributions to their companies’ success.

And perhaps most important of all, it stands for Chief Transformation Officer, as they respond to the shifting regulatory landscape and to their own organizations’ changing expectations of them and their organizations.

Almost every CTO we surveyed – 96 percent – said their role has changed since they became CTO.  They also have a clear perspective on where their challenges lie in the next 12 months – understanding and complying with U.S. and global tax reform and harnessing the benefits of technology, data and analytics and robotics for their function and their organization.

It’s easy to say that those challenges can also be opportunities. It’s often much harder to find the clear path to success when you are in the middle of a fast-moving game. But CTOs are confident in their companies’ success and they understand and embrace their role in driving that success. And because they are confident, so are we.

Jeffrey C. LeSage is Americas Vice Chairman—Tax at KPMG in the United States. Please contact Taylor Ovalle to arrange an interview.

KPMG study reveals multifaceted role for chief tax officers

Three-Dimensional Chess, the first annual tax outlook study of Chief Tax Officers (CTO) by KPMG, paints a clear picture of issues and opportunities that top tax executives see ahead for their departments and organizations and sheds light on the expanding role of CTOs in an age of dramatic reform, shifting regulatory requirements and disruptive technology.

Key findings from the survey of 300 U.S. CTOs include:

  • 96% of CTOs say their role has changed since taking over the CTO function.
  • 75% of CTOs are bullish on the global economy and company growth over the next 12 months and the next three years.
  • 85% of companies are addressing global tax reform at the board or audit committee level.
  • 64% of CTOs are planning to make changes to their organization to accommodate tax planning.
  • 76% of CTOs say investment in data and analytics and in emerging technologies will see the biggest increase in the tax function over the next 12 months.
  • 45% of CTOs believe their department is keeping ahead of technological innovation.

For questions or to arrange an interview, please contact Taylor Ovalle from KPMG’s Corporate Communications team.

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