Engagement in the Age of Transparency and Technology

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As TEI’s new international president, I’m honored to serve as a leader of an organization that I have been associated with and have appreciated being a part of for many years.

I want to thank TEI for this incredible opportunity, and I want to thank the staff and our fantastic chapters, committees, and sponsors for making this organization the clear-cut leader among associations for tax professionals.

As tax professionals face an environment of increased complexity with fewer resources and calls for better transparency by business and government agencies, TEI has a unique opportunity to expand its offerings and enhance its position as the preeminent organization for its members. 

As a member, I have experienced the change, large and small, that any one of us can effect by being engaged and asking for such change. The TEI staff has listened to and continues to listen to what we ask. The staff and members have a symbiotic relationship; our experiences as tax professionals shape the requests we have of TEI, and the Institute gets that much stronger and effective when the education, networking, and advocacy that it offers aligns with these requests. Below are my 2023–2024 goals that, while pivoting and expanding to address the changing tax landscape, build on the core goals of past international presidents. 

1. Attracting, Engaging, and Retaining Membership

Engagement is key for retention and long-term success. We’ll work together to identify and bridge gaps between the value proposition that members seek and what TEI can deliver by doing the following:

  • identifying member needs, wants, and engagement preferences across various career levels;
  • enhancing chapter and regional engagement and sharing of educational offerings and best practices;
  • strengthening networking across chapters and regions;
  • establishing a leadership development curriculum; and
  • aligning and enhancing member benefits across each member group to ensure a robust TEI value proposition. 

2. Networking and Education Through Affinity Groups and Discussion Forums

We want to provide additional opportunities for members to share experiences and expertise at Institute, regional, and chapter meetings and over virtual platforms. We’ll seek increased input and feedback from members on the challenges brought on by regulatory and tax authorities and opportunities to streamline through technology within the guardrails of unique corporate and IT infrastructures. We’ll connect our members through:

  • industry forums;
  • technology seminars;
  • risk-mitigation discussions;
  • Women in Tax meetings;
  • DEI initiatives;
  • speed mentoring; and
  • student outreach.

3. Broader CTO Engagement, Mentoring, and TEI Brand Enhancement

In-house support for TEI is essential to our success. We’ll expand our outreach to CTOs and garner their participation in shaping mentorship, succession planning, and tax function best practices by:

  • continuing and expanding topics for our monthly CTO Discussion Group series;
  • establishing and activating online discussion groups in new TEI discussion forums; and
  • encouraging input and participation from emerging leaders.

4. Increased Advocacy and Liaison Participation

TEI has a strong and respected voice that is heard by government agencies in jurisdictions critical to our members. We’ll increase participation by members to advocate for our members by: 

  • holding liaison meetings with the IRS and Treasury, CRA, and other jurisdictions;
  • building on our relationship with the FASB;
  • improving awareness of advocacy efforts and participation from the broader membership; and
  • improving communication of effective advocacy with the C-suite.

Additionally, staff will continue their initiatives in the areas of sponsorship enhancement and adopting technology-forward processes and platforms for TEI members. 

A best-in-class tax function is transparent, is a business partner, and has its ear to the ground on law, business, and system changes that can impact a tax function. Siloes should be eliminated, because what we don’t know can hurt us; tax should operate like the profit center that it can be. Likewise, TEI has the platform to assist tax professionals in all areas of importance to us. However, preeminence is only status quo when it continues to be earned. The opportunities to engage and suggest are limitless, but we must participate. I’ve appointed committee chairs and members for each goal, and I encourage each of you to get involved and bring a friend! TEI is an amazing organization, and, as they say, the more you give, the more you gain. I look forward to working with you in the coming year.


Sandhya Edupuganty
TEI International President

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