Many Companies Not Ready for Tax Changes

The U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is now in effect, but its implementation and impact on businesses is just starting to unfold. A survey of CFOs by financial recruitment firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting shows only about one-third of companies (32 percent) are very ready for the new demands, while 68 percent are somewhat prepared or not at all ready for the changes.

Key strategies businesses are using to stay on top of the legislation — which entails everything from a lower corporate tax rate to expensing certain capital investments — include conducting training (42 percent), upgrading financial systems (34 percent) and bringing in subject matter experts (33 percent).

More than one in five CFOs (21 percent) said their companies are hiring full-time staff to prepare to meet the new requirements.

Hiring the Right Professionals

Businesses looking to hire professionals to help prepare for the tax changes may find it difficult. More than nine in 10 CFOs (91 percent) reported at least some challenges finding skilled professionals.

“Companies need to move quickly to get the right people and teams in place, provide training, and upgrade systems to ensure a smooth transition to the new tax mandates,” said Steve Saah, executive director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting. “Acting fast to make necessary hires takes on greater importance, given today’s low unemployment rates and talent shortages.”

Saah added, “Change not only gives businesses the opportunity to look under the hood to ensure they’re in compliance, it also allows them to determine if there’s room for improvement, additional savings or the ability to layer in staff to help.”

Other key takeaways from the Robert Half Finance & Accounting research:

  • The top four U.S. markets hiring full-time staff to ensure readiness for tax reform are the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, St. Louis and Cleveland.
  • The following four cities are the least prepared, according to CFOs in those areas: Minneapolis, Des Moines, Cleveland, and St. Louis.
  • The top industries planning to bring on full-time staff include finance, insurance and real estate (32 percent), and business services (28 percent).
  • Larger companies (1,000 employees or more) are slightly more prepared than smaller companies (20-249 employees).

If you’re a small business owner, you should speak with your tax preparer about how the new tax law will impact your bottom line. Because, if this survey is any indication, many tax preparers are simply not up to speed yet on all of the law’s provisions.

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