Is a Leadership Role Right for Your Taxation Career?

When students pursue a Master of Science in Taxation degree, they may do so for a number of reasons. The individual may feel a genuine passion for the topic or that he or she needs to reaffirm and grow a deeper understanding of the subject material. Students may also pursue this graduate certification to advance in their careers.

Whatever the reason, earning a Master of Science in Taxation degree can open new doors in the professional workplace, including managerial roles. Degree holders may find themselves placed in charge of a team or department.

Here is what you need to know about leadership roles in the taxation industry:

What are The Career Outcomes for Leadership Roles in Taxation?

Leadership in the professional space frequently translates to management. Those who excel in a taxation career and earn a promotion can become financial managers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these individuals are responsible for an organization’s economic success. Those who have reached this level can continue to advance to the level of chief financial officer.

This top executive position represents the pinnacle of leadership advancement. Other opportunities include account manager, tax supervisor, or head accountant — roles that oversee a specific team or department.

Regardless of level, these positions share a common quality: oversight. Employees directly report to these leaders.

What are The Expected Job Duties?

According to Glassdoor, account and tax managers’ primary responsibilities include organizing and filing state and federal tax reports. These individuals are also in charge of creating tax policies, as well as assisting clients or their organizations with following state and federal tax regulations. As managers, these professionals are often expected to solve problems, identify pain points in current tax collection procedure, and propose new solutions that will increase efficiency. They can work within one organization or with a multitude of clients.

On the higher level, financial managers and business leaders in taxation generate reports outlining their companies’ economic standing. They direct investment decisions and create financial success strategies. In short, CFOs must work with other executives to determine the most profitable short- and long-term path that their businesses can take.

Each of these professions also includes managing and organizing employees. Supervisors monitor not just their performance but also that of everyone reporting to them. This means monitoring employee productivity and identifying inefficiencies where needed. Specific duties include goal setting for direct reports, performance reviews, coaching, escalation support, assignment delegation, and more.

What Skills Will You Need to Succeed?

Success in a leadership role in taxation requires that professionals gain the skills to be an effective manager. The Journal of Accountancy cited several traits leaders should develop:

Communication: Business leaders in taxation are advocates for cross-department communication, so they must pivot their language to address their peers in other business units. Additionally, they then need to relay responses to their teams in a concise, digestible manner. Email, face-to-face meetings, chat windows, and team meetings provide opportunities for these communications, and leaders must master all channels to accommodate staff and colleague preferences as needed.

Accountability: When managers make mistakes, they must take responsibility for their errors. Also, when communicating shortfalls to their direct reports and peers, they must provide transparent descriptions. The same approach is necessary when keeping direct reports accountable. Not only should managers present clear feedback, but they must also coach their teams when a teachable moment arises rather than waiting.

Relatability: Accountability and transparent messaging help business leaders connect with their teams, as does feedback that highlights employee strengths in addition to areas for improvement. Relationship-building with subordinates can improve employee morale and performance. In combination with clear, concise, and courteous communication, efforts to develop bonds with employees can further mutual respect between managers and their direct reports, as well as recognition of manager authority.
On-the-job experiences can help current and future leaders enhance their ability to guide teams, and an advanced degree can also provide growth opportunities.

How Can a Master of Science in Taxation Prepare You?

The Online Master of Science in Taxation program at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business can help current and aspiring leaders build on their communication, accountability, and relatability skills. The curriculum focuses on many of the responsibilities that a tax professional can expect to face, including state and local taxation, international taxation, and financial planning for investments, which is a course topic dedicated to improving economic strategy building.

In addition, students enrolled in this program have access to faculty currently working in leadership positions in the financial industry. Students can have one-on-one opportunities to discuss issues and potential challenges with an instructor who has learned through personal experience.



U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Journal of Accountancy