When we talk about design, we often think of architecture, graphic design or product design. However, some of the most creative design work today is in business design – the creative cobbling together of diverse skills and products to solve important business problems. It is this area of design that today's blog entry explores.
Follow your talents. Do what you enjoy. Be practical about the job market and the opportunities that are out there. This is the kind of advice young people get about career planning.
But what if you have talents and interests that cut across different fields? What if you happen to enjoy tax accounting and are very good at it, but you also are a talented writer and teacher?
This description sums up Trent Green, a client of our parent company, Rouviere Media. While supplying media services for businesses, we often encounter clients like Trent who are leveraging a unique combination of skills to fill important niches in their industries. While this type of design is not always visual, it is a vital aspect of functional design, which is why we are highlighting it as a case study in design.
After acquiring a masters of accounting degree at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Trent began his career in public accounting with Coopers & Lybrand/PwC working on a variety of corporate, partnership, and individual income tax issues. He went on to be in charge of international tax planning and compliance for SAS, a $2.7 billion private company operating in more than 50 countries. He then joined PwC as a tax director in its Raleigh, North Carolina, office and later became Director of Tax for PROS, a $160 million publicly traded company headquartered in Houston, Texas.
Trent’s career path enabled him to build deep experience in international tax planning and compliance. Meanwhile, he wrote on the side, developing a gift for breaking down and organizing complex financial and tax issues into bite-sized pieces that were understandable to others.
In 2009, Trent began to leverage these skills in teaching state CPA society tax and other courses.
Trent teaching a tax course for CPAs.
Through his experience he saw that only large companies could afford to hire tax directors to help them to manage complex projects and to manage relationships with outside tax advisors, but medium-sized ones were missing out on those benefits. The idea of a company that provided part-time tax director services came out of this observation, and Trent established his company, Tax Director Services, in 2016.
What he didn’t anticipate was that his expertise would also open up opportunities at Fortune 500 companies that were time-crunched due to being short-staffed or engaged on major projects. Since establishing his company, Trent has worked on a contract basis helping such a company to flexibly and cost-effectively manage tax compliance, tax provision, tax planning and other special projects.
Trent specializes in being an experienced resource who is an expert in the relevant tax regulations and strategies and who can be thrown into projects with minimal guidance and hit the ground running. This adds to the capacity of tax departments at critical times, and Trent’s work saves companies many times his fees.
“I provide a rare commodity. I do work in the details with tax director-level experience, I get a ton of stuff done and I don’t require a lot of attention,” Trent says. One of his hallmarks is providing clean, organized deliverables that are referenced, supported and easy for reviewers to follow. “It isn’t easy to find experienced people who can do this. “
Trent specializes in providing clean, organized deliverables.
This work provides on-going income, up-to-date down-in-the trenches experience and the flexibility that Trent leverages for the two other components of his business – educating CPAs and other professionals through his writing and the professional courses he teaches.
Trent has just released the latest version of his book "The Missing Tax Accounting Guide - A Plain English Introduction to ASC 740 Tax Provisions."
The book fills a niche in the tax accounting industry, fitting between complex, sophisticated tax accounting tomes and ones that are too simplistic to be useful in a professional setting. Trent sees his book as a bridge to help accountants understand the more sophisticated information.
“This is blowing open the black box of this area,” Trent says. Owning his own business has allowed him to write the book because tax professionals in public accounting have a difficulty publishing because of client demands or publications are done in the name of the firm they work for.
“It’s really rare to have this lined up.”
Operating independently also has allowed him to develop his continuing professional education (CPE) courses for CPAs.
“In this role, I enjoy breaking down complex topics and explaining them to fellow CPAs and other professionals in a clear, relevant, interesting, and engaging way,” Trent says.
Like many successful small business entrepreneurs, Trent has jumped on some major trends:
- He concentrates on providing exceptional value for competitive rates.
- He leverages technology to complete tax projects with large data populations.
- He can work both on-site and remotely to cut costs and expenses.
- He identifies inefficiencies and opportunities in working on projects that save his clients time and minimize their risk.
- He has the ability to work with minimal guidance and direction, but also to collaborate with a team. He works to clearly communicate tax matters to government auditors, tax and accounting partners and specialists, attorneys, HR professionals, foreign personnel and executives and board members.
- Trent's focus is on his clients’ needs – and he knows how to understand the tax-related drivers of their businesses.
- He is skilled at international law, helping companies handle their international operations such as establishing and operating overseas subsidiaries.
Trent has the ability to work independently without a lot of supervision and also to work on a team making complex tax issues understandable to decision makers across a variety of disciplines.
Trent lives in Apex, North Carolina, with his family and volunteers extensively with youth through his community and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.