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Tax Executives Institute 2007: building on six decades of success.

These remain challenging times for tax executives. The tax law has never been more complicated, and the non-tax law challenges facing in-house tax professionals command more and more time. The continuing demands of "transparency"--from section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to the Financial Accounting Standards Board's recent guidance on uncertain tax positions, to Schedule M-3 and the IRS's desire to harness the potential of both SOX404 and FIN48--are particularly daunting, for they affect not only the workload of corporate tax departments but, on occasion, also the psyche of our staffs. To cope with the challenges of the 21st Century Tax Department--to not only endure, but to prevail--it is imperative that we build and maintain a network that is second to none. Since 1944, that network has been TEL

TEI's Annual Meeting of Members was held on August 15, and it afforded the Institute's Board of Directors and other Institute leaders the opportunity both to assess this past year and to make plans for the future. This past year was one of spectacular achievement for TEI, and a full measure of the credit for our successes belongs to Mike Boyle whose term as TEI President ended at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting. As Mike's Senior Vice President, I had the opportunity to work with him on an almost daily basis and to benefit from his quiet, effective leadership. On behalf of the entire membership, I thank Mike for his service to the organization: TEI is stronger and more secure because of his efforts.

The Year in Review

At Mike's suggestion, a year ago the Board adopted the theme "C3--Continuity, Challenge, and Change," which was intended to recognize the Institute's ability (as well as the continuing need) to respond to changing circumstances while respecting the traditions that support our ongoing relevance and effectiveness. Thus, TEI committed itself to building upon its record of accomplishment by:

* continuing those practices, processes, and traditions that respond to and advance its members' needs;

* challenging its members and the organization itself to dispassionately review TEI's activities with a view toward assessing their ongoing value in a dramatically evolving world; and

* changing its practices and programs (and creating new ones) to better equip TEI to assist tax executives in fulfilling their obligations to their companies, their profession, and society at large.

The Institute's 2006 Annual Report (which will be included in the next issue of the magazine) will review the year in full, but I would be remiss if I did not confirm that we made progress on our objectives. Particular note should be made of the following:

* Our membership initiative resulted in the Institute's membership exceeding 6,000 for the first time in its history, with nearly 1,000 new members joining TEI's rolls during the year.

* Our educational programs at the Institute level attracted nearly 3,500 registrants, and given the "listener per registrant" figures we've compiled in respect of our telephone seminars and webconferences, the total number of people participating in TEI programs during the year could be double that.

* Our Senior Tax Executive Conference continue to attract "the best and the brightest" in tax, and--reflecting the tenor of the times--all our programs focus increasingly as much on management and financial accounting topics as well as "technical tax" issues.

* Our advocacy program continues to expand, not only outside of North America (with the expansion of our activities in Europe and Asia) but outside of tax (with comments to the FASB). Our North American activities remain strong, too.)

* Our task force on structure and governance developed (and then fine tuned) a series of recommendations that will enable TEI to remain responsive to changing circumstances and the needs of our increasing global membership.

* Finally, our financial position remains secure, not only through a commitment to strong internal controls but through the prudent management of TEI's investments and its sponsorship program.

Mike Boyle would be the first person to say that TEI's success on these objectives owes itself to many members of the Institute and our capable staff. The membership and staff, however, take their lead from the person at the top, and therefore there is no doubt that we all owe Mike a debt of gratitude for this leadership.

Building on a Solid Foundation

In setting TEI's objectives for the coming year, the Institute's Board of Directors acknowledged that the mission of providing in-house tax professionals with a forum for sharing ideas, of enabling them to learn from one another and topnotch practitioners, and of engaging government officials on a wide variety of tax issues is as compelling today as it was in 1944. Indeed, given the growing importance of non-tax agencies (such as the OECD, SEC, FASB, IASB, and PCAOB), as well as the renewed push for tax reform and other tax initiatives, the special needs of corporate tax executives may be greater today than at any time since TEI's founding.

The full set of goals and objectives adopted by the Board are reprinted elsewhere in this issue. Here, I wish to confirm that TEI's leadership and staff remain committed to enhancing the Institute's record of accomplishment in education, advocacy, and networking. During the coming year, we intend to enhance the effectiveness of our advocacy on emerging tax, financial accounting, and corporate governance issues. In particular, we will continue our outreach to the IRS and LMSB, as well as their counterparts in other countries, and will strengthen our state and local advocacy efforts. In this later regard, I am especially pleased that we've been able to recruit a state and local professional of the caliber of Shirley Grimmett to join our legal staff. Moreover, we have established a process for developing, refining, and managing our Advocacy Agenda, and for keeping the membership informed through the publication of Advocacy Scorecards.

The Institute will also move to expand our educational coverage of financial reporting issues and refocus our distance-learning offerings to include online programs. We have already acted to institutionalize our FAS 109 program, and will also pay increased attention to tax risk management and similar issues.

Internally, the Institute will analyze the results of our recent membership satisfaction survey and adjust our strategic goals to reflect the findings. We also will seek ways to increase the size, reach, and diversity of the Institute's membership, and explore the creation of new chapters or "subchapters" where appropriate.

Finally, the Institute will work to improve its leadership development process, thereby expanding the opportunities for members at all levels.

I encourage you to review the Institute's complete goals and objectives (on page 278) and let us know what you think. Equally important, please share your ideas for how we can achieve the objectives and let us know if you want to help. By working together, we can effectively build on TEI's solid foundation and ensure the Institute's relevance and effectiveness for the future. Please write to me at dbernard@kcc.com.

TEI President David L. Bernard

David Bernard

International President
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Author:Bernard, David L.
Publication:Tax Executive
Article Type:President's page
Date:Jul 1, 2006
Words:1161
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