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What is a corporate tax advisor?
In principle, tax consultants assist their clients in fulfilling their tax obligations and in solving tax problems. This initially applies regardless of the size of your clients, but of course the demands on the skills of tax consultants increase with the size and complexity of the companies for which they work.
Corporate tax consultants – the term ‘corporate tax consultant’ seems to mean a similar but less senior position – advise clients on tax issues that arise from a permanent group of companies or other forms of cooperation between companies. Often, but not necessarily, there are also companies with branches abroad.
Tax consultants with ‘corporate’ tasks must be able to recognize the tax-relevant aspects of related or more or less firmly affiliated companies and to design them in such a way that an optimal result is achieved for the parent company. Excellent specialist knowledge and extensive experience are basic requirements for this, an understanding of detail is indispensable, but the sense for the big picture and interdisciplinary thinking (far) outside the box are very important.
Digitization promotes transparency, but also increases demands.
Digitization supplies large amounts of data, recognizes errors, makes deviations traceable and facilitates analysis – but it still happens that ‘abnormalities’ remain undetected and necessary steps are omitted. Wirecard was a good example of this: all the findings were available, but no one carried out further checks, no one requested the evidence, no one acted appropriately and took the consequences that would have led to the early detection of criminal activities.
The need for human control applies all the more in a corporate and thus tax world that is becoming ever faster, ever more complex and ever more specialised. Process-oriented and technology-based workflows deliver large amounts of data promptly, but only a high level of vigilance and a lot of experience can prevent ‘additional data’ from becoming nothing but ‘more data’, but this does not lead to additional knowledge gain – without clever interpretation, they do not lead to conclusions and prepare Nor does it provide the basis for groundbreaking decisions by the management of the clients being looked after.
See the big picture – even across borders.
Corporate tax consultants need the ‘helicopter view’ for the big picture, but they also need to ‘spot’ the details that contain opportunities and risks. This task requires extensive experience in or with companies of different sizes – and an understanding of all tax-related aspects of corporate management.
Corporate tax consultants often work for internationally active companies, because the possibilities for active tax planning are naturally more diverse here due to country-specific tax legislation. Other regulations may offer great opportunities, but they can also entail great risks and have ‘hidden traps’ that need to be recognized. Ignorance can not only be punishable here, it can also lead to a PR and image disaster for a company.
Partner of management – and good job prospects.
Corporate tax consultants usually work on the client side with the group management and the manager of corporate finance and are in demand as consultants and sparring partners when it comes to measures to optimize corporate structures and investment decisions – they have to recognize tax risks in tax planning as well as tax opportunities. They should give impulses for what works and how it works (instead of saying why something doesn’t work).
It can be assumed that large international companies will continue to be a wide field of activity for corporate tax consultants in the future due to increasing internationalization, the outsourcing of production facilities abroad and international trade in general.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: Studies in law, economics or finance with a focus on taxes, studies in (business) computer science or mathematics. Several years of consulting or on-the-job experience in a large tax consulting company, an industrial or consulting company.
- Starting salary: €80,000
- Top salary: €130,000
- Opportunities for advancement: management, controller, partner
What does a corporate tax advisor do?
- Ensuring the correctness of the tax documents for the tax authorities
- Advising affiliated companies on tax matters
- Coordination of tax-relevant decisions for affiliated companies
- Optimization of the tax planning options of the associated individual companies and the group of companies as a whole
- Assessment / risk assessment of different tax models with regard to their effects on the entire company and on the individual company
- Coordination and monitoring of tax behavior / prevention of misconduct
- International tax advice
- Calculation of current and, if applicable, deferred taxes for quarterly and annual financial statements according to national and international accounting regulations
- Participation in tax audits
- Correspondence with tax authorities and foreign tax consultants
- Cooperation with external consulting and auditing companies
- Advice on company sales and company acquisitions
- Optimization of processes for setting up and expanding the tax internal control system or tax compliance management system and initiating changes in the organizational structure
- Development of creative solution concepts in multidisciplinary teams of lawyers and auditors
- Contact person for ‘expatriates’ in order to secure the advantages of country-specific tax regulations or to avoid the disadvantages of a transfer abroad
How to become a corporate accountant
- Studies in law or economics with a focus on ‘taxes’ or practical training
- Appointment to tax advisor
- Several years of professional experience in a managerial position in the field of corporate tax / tax compliance / auditing in industry, at a tax consulting firm, an auditing firm, a consulting firm or in financial management
- Knowledge of the visualization of business processes and common enterprise resource planning systems (e.g. SAP, Oracle, Navision, etc.) and DATEV user programs
- very good knowledge of English
What does a corporate accountant earn?
up to €130,000
In any case, corporate tax consultants have several years of professional experience – ideally collected at home and abroad – and should be able to show verifiable practical tests. Their extensive knowledge, their skills and their steadfastness in discussions and negotiations are rewarded with annual salaries of between 80,000 and 130,000 euros.
What do you expect from a corporate tax advisor?
High ethical demands are placed on corporate tax consultants – as on every professional.
Interest in an internationally oriented consulting activity – at the interface between tax advice and business consulting – should be the fundamental impetus for this career path.
Even if their analyzes and recommendations are primarily based on internal data from the company being advised, corporate tax consultants must be able to understand how such information came about and understand the recording systems behind it. This is the only way they can guarantee the correctness of the data before it is included in corporate tax returns and annual financial statements.
However, corporate tax advisors are also expected to give management impulses on what can and should be optimized for tax purposes and in which areas there may be risks that need to be prevented.
Working together with internal colleagues (auditors and management consultants) and being involved in practically all key areas of the client’s company requires the ability to work in a team, as well as conscientiousness and confidentiality. Equally important, however, are clarity and clarity of expression. This applies in particular in cases where clients hope for more flexibility in interpreting tax regulations than is legally permitted – in such cases the corporate tax consultant must also assert himself as a reminder and, if necessary, as a ‘brakeman’ in order to avert dangers from the company.
Corporate tax advisors are often the liaison or liaison with the tax authorities and at a senior level they need to liaise with internal or external auditors. In addition to good communication skills, these roles also require the ability to build trust and cultivate relationships in a way that is perceived as professional but not ingratiating.
On the one hand, corporate tax consultants need a quick grasp of business contexts, but they also need to have a high degree of knowledge of human nature and leadership qualities – because even with the best education, they need a team that motivates them and that gives them – and whom they – trust.
Opportunities for advancement as a corporate tax advisor
Anyone who has made a name for himself as a tax consultant for large companies, affiliated companies and/or international companies has gained insight into all corporate divisions and management functions.
It is therefore obvious that corporate tax consultants, thanks to their knowledge, often become partners in their consulting company – or even found their own companies.
However, her knowledge and experience also predestines her for positions in the management of companies – from Chief Financial Officer to CEO.
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