Arlington, Va. — Bloomberg Tax & Accounting today released preliminary results of its annual benchmark survey of corporate tax departments, which was first fielded in early 2020 before the onset of the global pandemic and subsequently followed up on in mid-April to assess the impact of Covid-19 on staffing, mandates, challenges, and concerns.
Among the most noteworthy findings, the top mandates for corporate tax professionals were to increase cash management by reducing costs and increasing tax administrative efficiencies (55 percent, up from 43 percent pre-Covid-19) and to reduce cash tax payments and effective tax rates (49 percent, up from 39 percent pre-Covid-19). Survey responses reflected a significant shift in the challenges that tax professionals are facing. At the beginning of the year, nearly one half of all respondents (45 percent) indicated that deploying or improving technology was among the biggest challenges for their tax departments in the coming year. However, Covid-19 has disrupted these plans, with tracking tax law changes cited as the top challenge in the face of the pandemic.
Hiring and staffing have also been waylaid by Covid-19: while nearly four in ten respondents (39 percent) at the beginning of the year indicated that they would increase hiring, fewer than one in ten (9 percent) now indicate that they will increase hiring, with the majority (64 percent) planning to maintain the status quo. And there was a significant uptick – from 4 percent earlier this year to 27 percent in April – in those indicating that they planned to reduce staff this year.
“Corporate tax departments’ priorities in early 2020 have been inexorably altered due to Covid-19 as many corporations that were investing in business growth strategies are now challenged with minimizing expenses and maximizing cash savings,” said Lisa Fitzpatrick, President, Bloomberg Tax & Accounting. “Corporate tax leaders have shifted their focus from planning to staying on top of the many changes brought on by Covid-19 related federal tax law changes and the state treatment of those changes – while challenged by doing so on account of limited resources and even reduced staffing and budgets.”
To access the top-line results and to sign up to receive the full report, please visit http://onb-tax.com/kTNb50zKsxO.
The January survey featured responses from 408 managers, directors, VP, or C-suite members of the tax department of public or private corporations with more than $500 million in annual revenue. For the April follow-up, 321 respondents completed the survey.
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