Pros and Cons of a Career in Tax Compliance Management
A tax compliance manager ensures that a business or organization follows tax codes and laws. Consider the pros and cons of working in tax compliance management to make an informed career choice.
|Pros of a Tax Compliance Manager Career|
|Higher than average salary potential*|
|Work in office setting with occasional travel**|
|Chance to help others and give back to the community through tax compliance**|
|Can work in a variety of industries in need of tax compliance counseling**|
|Cons of a Tax Compliance Manager Career|
|May require an advanced degree**|
|May require five or more years of experience**|
|Must keep up on state and federal tax laws**|
|High stress due to advanced level of responsibility**|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **Monster.com Job Postings.
Tax compliance managers review expense reports and financial statements, ensuring that the company's finances meet tax law requirements. They often make recommendations to reduce risk and establish continued tax compliance. When the government makes a new tax law or regulation, the compliance manager predicts the effects of the law on the organization.
According to PayScale.com, the lowest-paid tenth of tax compliance managers earned $49,597 or less, while the highest-paid tenth earned $122,597 or more in July 2015. This total pay included bonuses and profit sharing.
What Are the Requirements?
Tax compliance managers generally need a bachelor's degree from a related field, such as accounting or finance. Programs, like the Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, can offer required or elective courses in tax compliance.
Because many positions require professional experience, according to various listings for tax compliance manager positions in April 2012, you may consider pursuing an entry-level job or internship to learn about accounting needs and economic practices. The job listings also noted that applicants who have the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) are preferred.
Job Postings from Real Employers
Employers want educated tax compliance managers with a working knowledge of tax code and track record of excellent attention to detail. Many employers ask for compliance managers with a background in accounting, finance or law. Here are summaries of a few postings from the April 2012 job boards:
- A university in Virginia advertised for a tax compliance manager to record, report and make recommendations regarding tax law and compliance. Qualifications included an advanced degree (master's or doctorate) or work experience equivalent to an advanced degree.
- A Massachusetts retailer was looking for a tax compliance manager to help minimize tax expenses and manage audits. Applicants were required to hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance and be familiar with state, federal and international tax law.
- In Colorado, an accounting and finance firm wanted to add a tax compliance manager to their team in charge of assisting clients who own partnerships. Applicants were required to hold a bachelor's degree and be a CPA.
- A power technology management company in Arizona advertised for a senior compliance manager to oversee federal and state taxes and help with occasional special projects. Qualifications included excellent analysis skills and at least 5-7 years of experience.
- An Illinois communications company wanted a tax compliance manager to review and verify the work of other accountants. A bachelor's degree was required, while those with a CPA or MBA were preferred.
- In New Jersey, a health care company was looking for a tax compliance manager with a background in people management. A bachelor's and five or more years experience was required.
How to Make Your Skills Stand Out
You can gain a competitive edge in the field by taking classes in finance, accounting and law during your bachelor's degree program, which will broaden your training. You can also develop related job skills, such as financial report analysis, risk analysis and business communication, through internships or elective coursework.
Although not required for all positions, a number of employers prefer applicants with the CPA credential. The requirements to become a CPA vary by state, but generally require passing the national exam and meeting educational requirements, such as 30 hours of postbaccalaureate coursework. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) also offers training programs in compliance for prospective and current examiners.
Alternative Career Paths
If you'd like to use your economic expertise to guide business and individuals through the financial decision making process, then becoming a financial analyst may be a good fit. Similar to working as a tax compliance manager, you can pursue this position with only a bachelor's degree. The BLS projected that employment of financial analysts would grow by about 23% between 2010 and 2020. The salary potential is also similar to that for managers, and analysts earned an average salary of $87,740 in 2011, according to the BLS.
Loan officers analyze a potential borrower's finances to determine whether or not to extend a loan. This position generally only requires a high school diploma and on-the-job training, so you could pursue this position in a shorter amount of time. The BLS projected a 14% employment growth for these professionals between 2012 and 2020, which is about as fast as the national average. The BLS reported that the average salary for loan officers was $67,960 in 2011, which is also comparable to the salary potential for tax compliance managers.