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60th anniversary presents both opportunity and challenge for TEI to be effective and stay effective.

As summer turns to fall, Tax Executives Institute and its members face myriad challenges and opportunities. Legislative and regulatory bodies in the United States, Canada, and Europe are poised to enact or implement major changes affecting every business. From SEC, FASB, and IASB announcements to congressional action (or inaction) on international tax reform, from enforcement initiatives by the IRS and states to continuing pressure on corporate budgets--tax executives face a full plate of issues affecting how they can advance their companies' business objectives while ensuring compliance with all the applicable tax and tax accounting rules.

For six decades, TEI has helped its members surmount the challenges of the ever-changing tax world. As my term as the Institute's 56th President begins, I am filled with admiration for TEI's founders whose vision of an organization focused on the needs of in-house tax professionals remains as compelling in 2004 as it was in that first summer following D-Day. To be sure, the Institute's activities have expanded since 1944, but our course has been clear and consistent for 60 years. As two of my predecessors (Ralph Weiland and Linda Burke) put it 10 years ago in their preface to our 50th Anniversary History:</p> <pre> Throughout it all, Tax Executives Institute has been the voice of experience,

practicality, and administrability. Whether members are helping one another cope with the burdens of compliance, or assisting U.S. or Canadian tax authorities in designing legislation and regulations, they have acted with the firm belief that it is their affirmative obligation to do so. </pre> <p>The intervening decade has done nothing to change the truth of these words. Indeed, developments since 1994 only underscore the need for an organization to meet the educational, advocacy, and networking needs of tax executives. It is for this reason that TEI's Board of Directors adopted the theme "Be Effective, Stay Effective" for the coming year--because an organization's vitality depends both on the vision of its founders and on their successors' strategies to advance that vision in light of changing times.

A Solid Foundation, A Hard Act to Follow

Before discussing the strategies the Institute will pursue this year to enable us to Be Effective and Stay Effective, I offer thanks to Ray Rossi, whose term as President came to a close in August. Through Ray's leadership and hard work, TEI had a fabulous year and moved forward on many fronts. The working groups he established on engaging members, empowering members, and enhancing membership value brought focus and dedication to the Institute's educational, networking, and advocacy efforts. Five projects deserve special mention:

* TEI expanded the assistance provided to members in transition.

* TEI undertook its first survey of corporate tax departments in more than a decade, collecting invaluable benchmarking data for the membership.

* TEI prepared and distributed a "how to" guide on advocacy, providing members with clear guidance on how they can "make their issue TEI's issue."

* TEI sponsored its first conference designed for senior tax executives.

* TEI designed and launched a new website, vastly expanding the ability of the organization and its members to interact with one another, to share and act upon information, and to advance our common objectives.

Underlying these initiatives was an unwavering commitment by Ray to facilitate member involvement in all of the Institute's activities. His good work--and the good work of all who became involved--will yield dividends far into the future. Thank you, Ray, for rising to the challenges, both anticipated and unanticipated, confronting TEI during your term. Thanks, too, to the entire membership for the opportunity to help build upon the Institute's solid foundation.

Strategies for Being Effective, Staying Effective

As mentioned at the outset, challenges remain. To meet them, TEI will pursue five general strategies. Our complete goals and objectives are reprinted elsewhere in this issue, but here are some highlights:

Be Current, Stay Current ... Through Quality Education Programs on Tax Developments and Tax Management Issues

The unshakeable foundation of TEI is education. For 60 years, the organization has provided its members and their staffs with top-notch, low-cost training, both locally and at the Institute-level. That will not change. We will both continue and fine-tune the conferences, courses, and seminars that have long distinguished us, and will seek out new opportunities and avenues to serve our membership. For example, we have already scheduled a two-day seminar on financial accounting developments (in November), our annual audits and appeals program (in February), and a repeat of our Senior Tax Executive Conference fin May). In addition, should Congress enact the FSC/ETI legislation, we will respond with one or more distance-learning programs to keep you up to date.

Special mention should be made of the 59th Annual Conference, which will be held in New Orleans beginning October 17. From timely technical sessions and high-caliber keynote speakers to unparalleled networking opportunities, the conference will be outstanding. Add the allure of the Crescent City and special events to commemorate our 60th anniversary, and there is nowhere else you should be in October. Please come to New Orleans ... and bring your beads!

Be Connected, Stay Connected ... by Enhancing Member Communications and Strengthening the Network of Tax Professionals

One thing TEI's founders could not have anticipated is the Internet. If they were with us today, however, I have no doubt that they would set www.tei.org to be their homepage.

The launch of TEI's new website on August 30 represents a milestone for TEI. The new site links the Institute, its chapters, and its members worldwide, and provides an ever-growing and more robust community in which we can share information, exchange ideas, and collaborate on the tax and management issues that matter most. If you have not logged on to the new site, please do so. I am sure you will be excited by the richness and potential of the site, which will empower the Institute to react more quickly and timely to the issues of the day.

Be a Voice, Have a Voice ... Through Enhanced Advocacy

TEI has an enviable record of interacting with government at all levels, a record that is increasingly global as our European Chapter has taken a lead in expanding our activities beyond Canada and the United States. During the year, we will work to refine the Institute's advocacy strategy, ensuring that proper balance among legislative, policy, regulatory, and administrative issues, as well as the appropriate mix of direct advocacy, liaison, and information-sharing activities. We will also look for ways to encourage greater member involvement, for example, by more effectively, frequently, and timely communicating opportunities, and undertake to better communicate our advocacy successes, both to members and the public.

Be Involved, Stay Involved ... By Identifying and Addressing Demographic Trends and Other Barriers to Membership Growth

To remain effective, TEI must know who its members are, whether their needs are changing, and whether there are structural barriers to membership growth. To address this area, we have reconstituted a Membership Recruitment and Retention Subcommittee to develop new strategies for attracting and retaining members. In addition, we will continue to reach out to new members and to promote the global expansion of TEI throughout Europe, Asia, and, possibly, Latin America.

Be Efficient, Stay Effective ... by Improving Operation and Management of TEI

To improve the operation and management of the Institute and its staff, the Institute will clarify the roles of the Executive Committee, Officers, Chapter Representatives, and Committee Chairs, and determine whether there are any structural impediments to effective governance. We will also expand and realign our staff resources to address changing Institute needs and programs, and establish a formal system of performance measurement and accountability. Finally, we will assess the role of sponsorship at both Institute and chapter level, and otherwise act to ensure that the enhanced transparency and accountability that has been become de rigeur in our companies permeates the entire organization.

Concluding Thoughts

The foregoing goals and objectives are undeniably ambitious. I remain confident, however, that by working together, we can build upon the successes of the past, and honor the vision and commitment of TEI's founders. I welcome your comments by phone (847.735.4687) or email (judith.zelisko@brunswick.com) on how to make TEI an even better organization.

Acknowledgement

Tax Executives Institute expresses its appreciation to the following firms that have become Platinum sponsors of the 2004 Annual Conference:

Baker & McKenzie Deloitte & Touche LLP Ernst & Young LLP KPMG LLP Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP McKee Nelson LLP PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP RIA Taxware, L.P.

Judith R Zelisko International President Acknowledgment
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Title Annotation:Tax Executives Institute
Author:Zelisko, Judith P.
Publication:Tax Executive
Article Type:President's Page
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:1417
Previous Article:Calendar of events.
Next Article:TEI campaigns against counterproductive measures in pending tax bill; also comments on Schedule M-3, [section] 482 per se list; launches new website.
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