What Can Tax Managers Earn Today?

By Robert Half January 20, 2020 at 6:30am

Finance and accounting talent is difficult to find in the current labor market, leaving employers across the country in fierce competition with one another for the same workers. That includes professionals who oversee members of a tax and accounting staff, a role referred to as tax manager.

Are you searching for a tax manager job? What skills do you need? How much can you earn? And what does the future hold for the role? Read on for a look at the tax manager job description and current tax manager salary expectations.

Tax manager job duties

The role of the tax manager will depend on whether they work in public or private accounting. Some oversee their organization’s tax plan, while others serve a company’s clients. The primary duty of tax managers is the accurate preparation and on-time filing of tax documents, including state, federal and international returns. In addition, tax managers are often tasked with keeping clients or employers tax compliant, ensuring that all paperwork and business transactions adhere to state, federal and international tax laws.

Some tax managers also collaborate with senior leadership and other staff members to develop and implement tax strategies. This involves research, planning and documenting new policies and procedures. As part of developing these strategies, tax managers are responsible for identifying beneficial deductions as well as ensuring new processes continue to maintain compliance with ever-changing regulations.

Other common duties of tax managers include overseeing members of the tax and accounting staff, researching tax laws, properly documenting business transactions, and overseeing mergers, acquisitions and initial public offerings (IPOs).

Education, experience and skills

Tax managers should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business administration or a related field, and many will also have a master’s degree. Most employers expect candidates to have four to 10 years of relevant work experience. Because these roles often involve overseeing staff members, many tax managers also have some form of management or administrative experience.

Professional certifications, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Enrolled Agent (EA), are often a plus. In some states, however, a CPA certification may be mandatory.

Outstanding tax managers must be proficient in tax laws on a state, federal and international level. Additionally, they’ll need to have advanced Excel skills and experience with other industry-standard programs, such as QuickBooks, Oracle and Corptax.

This role also calls for a rich blend of soft skills. Collaboration and communication are especially valuable for tax managers, as they work with colleagues from various departments and must break down complex finance regulations and procedures for coworkers. Analytical skills and problem-solving abilities are also prized in these workers.

Tax manager salary benchmarks

Tax managers’ paychecks will vary slightly depending on whether they work in corporate or public accounting. The 2020 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals shows corporate tax managers can expect a midpoint starting salary (or median national salary) of $109,500 while those in the public sector should see about $106,500.

Look also for robust benefits packages and professional development opportunities, along with offerings that enhance your work-life balance like flexible scheduling and telecommute options.

The future of tax management

Transformative technologies like those highlighted in our Jobs and AI Anxiety report will continue to shake up the field of finance. Tax managers most likely to get ahead will have an understanding of how digitization is affecting their role and will be eager and willing to not only incorporate new technologies, but also find new ways to leverage them.

As robotic process automation (RPA) takes over data entry and artificial intelligence (AI) applications help ensure compliance, tax managers will have increased time to focus on the more interesting aspects of their jobs, such as working with financial leadership to develop and implement new tax strategies or providing support during internal audits.

Technology is also changing the labor model for the finance and accounting field. More companies are using a mix of talent, including interim employees, consultants and managed solutions providers, and here again polished soft skills will be a plus. The tax manager of the future should be comfortable interacting and communicating with all types of workers, on and off site, and should be able to foster collaboration across the team.

The future looks bright for tax managers. Make sure you’re staying up to date with the trends impacting your role to put yourself on the fast track.

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