Poole Podcast from NC State Poole College of Management

Hosted ByJenny Hammond

At North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management, we’re on a mission to create an innovative and collaborative intellectual environment. By balancing industry and academia, we’re developing and supporting leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets and the skills to solve our world’s problems. On this podcast, we’ll talk with faculty and industry leaders to share how thought leadership can be transformative in all areas of industry. This is how we think and do at NC State.

U.S. Taxation in a Global Economy, with Nathan Goldman and EY’s Amanda Shumaker

Over the past year, COVID-19 has restricted travel and complicated international business. On top of that, President Biden’s campaign ran on raising taxes for the high earners and corporations.  So how does all of this affect international tax?  And are accounting firms looking to hire graduates even in this chaos?  We asked Poole College of Management Accounting Professor Nathan Goldman and International Tax Partner at EY (and two-time Poole grad) Amanda Shumaker about the current landscape.

Jenny Hammond:  Hello, I’m excited to introduce our two special guests today. Both have extensive experience in the tax industry. First, it’s my pleasure to introduce Nathan Goldman, a tenure track accounting professor in the Poole College of Management, his teaching and research interests focus on corporate taxation. His research has been published in renowned journals, such as the accounting review and the journal of the American Taxation Association.

Nathan is a frequent contributor to tax insights across the country. Welcome Nathan. Also with us today is Amanda Shumaker. Amanda is an international tax partner at EY or Ernst and Young. For those of you not in the accounting space, she’s been with EY for over 15 years where she works with companies of various sizes, including those in the technology, life sciences, contract, research, manufacturing, and consumer products industries.

She serves in all areas of international tax, including international tax restructurings, cross border mergers. And acquisitions, repatriation, planning,  cross-border financing and U S international tax compliance. And lucky for us. Amanda is also a two-time graduate of Poole College, receiving both her master’s and her undergraduate degree in accounting.

Always nice to have an alumni back and share their experiences with our team in our community. Welcome.

Amanda Shumaker:  Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.

Jenny Hammond:  All right. So we’re going to jump in. We’ve got quite a few questions today. Not a whole lot of time, but hopefully we can knock through them. Nathan, let’s start with you.

Before we jump into some of the meat of our conversation. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about why you chose the profession of accounting and then. Why did you choose to take that further and teach in higher education?

Nathan Goldman:  Yeah. And before I begin, thank you so much for having me and thank you, Amanda, for jumping in with this with me, it’s such a pleasure to have you once again, be back part of our Poole community here. In terms of your question, I chose a career in accounting because I really do enjoy the balance structure and rules and logic that accounting can provide. I enjoy solving complex problems that exist in the business world, which ultimately led me to a career in  academia. As a professor, I do spend a fair amount of my time each year, teaching in the Jenkins masters of accounting program at NC state.

However, I also conduct academic research where I’ve examined research questions such as does the location of employees affect income shifting behavior. Do firms respond to financing concerns by increasing their tax plan activities and how have firms responses to these recent critical audit matters or cams?

That pertained to income taxes effect from behavior, the mix of these shorter term rewards that I get from teaching in an outstanding back program and the longer term rewards that I get from examining complex accounting and tax related research questions make a career in academia, a really well balanced and exciting field for me.

And it’s been such a pleasure to be a part of it these past few years.

Jenny Hammond:  And I know we’ll probably get into this a little bit later, but just quickly, what would you say is so far has been probably your favorite area of accounting for research?

 

Nathan Goldman:  My research really entails taxation and corporate taxation.

I’ve done several  studies that have looked at the auditing of income taxes, which has been an area that I worked in. Well, I was in practice at Deloitte as a CPA. So that’s probably an area that I really enjoyed just because I really got to see it hands-on but I think there’s a lot of opportunities, just not only in the corporate tax world, but also in the auditing world to kind of mix these two streams of literature.

These two streams of research and answer some interesting and important questions.

Jenny Hammond:  Yeah. And for our audience, I will say that Nathan has been pretty busy the last several months. He’s had several of his pieces and stories published on our pull thought leadership platform, but also he’s been interviewed by several local news stations, just because the, the relevance of the stuff that you’re doing, it matters to just the individual person all the way around.

So it’s been exciting to kind of watch you grow in that arena. And never afraid to say no. And when we ask you for an interview, so thank you for doing that. So Amanda, kind of a similar question, a little bit different, but you clearly gravitated towards accounting as well, but you’ve been involved with the  international tax side of the business, which is unique in itself.

What drew you there?

Amanda Shumaker:  Yeah. Well, I’m thankful that Ernst and Young has what’s called their diversified staff group. So for your first four years with the firm, you get to do all kinds of different areas of tax. So I was able to get a firm foundation and just general tax doing tax compliance, tax provisions, and then touched a little bit on international tax and just fell in love with it.

I really like the ability to help large us multinationals solve, solve complex problems, whether that’s, you know, how do we integrate this acquisition? Where are we going to put our IP? Where does it make sense to grow our workforce and helping them understand what that means from a us tax perspective and in the foreign jurisdictions as well?

I love that it’s an area that tax that is extremely dynamic.  Not only just in the U S.. in light of tax reform, but tax reform is going on all over the world all the time. And so it’s an ever-changing landscape that really our clients look to us  as their guides to help them through those things.

And so there’s not a day that I go to work that I’m not challenged with some sort of new problem that has arisen or opportunity that we can help our clients.

Jenny Hammond:  And so I have to ask the obvious question pre COVID of course, do you get to travel a lot with your job?

Amanda Shumaker:  Yes, I do. I’ve been all over the world with my job.

I’ve had very interesting experiences. I helped one of my clients that worked in the legal cannabis space I got to in Canada, I got to tour their facilities there. I’ve traveled by train various meetings and across Germany for clients.  I’ve been to Belgium. I’ve been all over Asia. I actually, when I was pregnant with my first son, I got to walk on the great wall of China after a meeting,  with him. And so he’s been to China too. So it’s been a yes, pre COVID. We got to travel all over for various client needs. And so who knows what happens post COVID with that? I’m sure that the world has realized that we can accomplish a lot over video conference, but there’s also nothing  quite like it in person interactions.

Jenny Hammond:  Yeah, of course. So. Nathan, when we originally connected about this topic you were pretty enthusiastic about discussing a couple areas of the global economy. Let’s start with the recent transition of our presidential office. So two very different leadership styles and two very different thoughts on supporting the economy.

Share with us a little bit about what you see as the continued impact of the tax cut and jobs act of 2017 and the possible changes we may stand our new presidential leadership.

Nathan Goldman:  Absolutely. And kind of, as you mentioned, the hallmark of Trump’s tax policy changes was the tax cuts and jobs act of 2017, or as a lot of people referred to it as the TCJ A the theme of this tax law changes in its name tax cuts, one area that tends to get overlooked because of course, a lot of the attention was paid towards lowering the tax rates kind of corporations and individuals, but one area that tends to get overlooked. By the media and average taxpayer are significant changes to Trump’s tax reform that were made to multinational or international  taxation. There was two key items specifically. So one, the TCJA moved the United States from a worldwide tax system to a territorial tax system, which changed the way that earnings of us companies were being taxed from their overseas income.

And the second was that they imposed significant new rules related to increasing the cost. Of tax motivated income shifting. So this is the, the act of artificially locating income in a lower taxed jurisdiction. So there’s new taxes and new penalties associated with doing that while there’s numerous interpretations as to what exactly these two changes might have.

Many thoughts converge on the idea that these items would help make us companies more competitive on the global landscape while also lowering incentives to lower taxes paid in the United States into the U S government. The downside is that many analysts preliminary reports suggest that these changes.

May not have necessarily been effective at increasing us tax revenues. So even though it made us companies more competitive on that goal landscape what a lot of companies appear to have been doing is  just continuing to expand their global footprint. So that way they’re now working within the confines of the tax law in an efficient way Biden on the other hand, ran under the platform of increasing income taxes.

He specifically cites our country as large and growing deficit as a reason to increase income taxes collected on individuals and corporations, which makes lot of sense. We have a lot of debt. We need to find a way to address that debt while his proposed tax increases are substantial. They primarily affect two parties.

One is corporations. And two is the wealthiest Americans, the wealthiest individuals. And he specifically has said over and over again, if you do not earn $400,000 or earn over $400,000, you are not expected to see much of a change. If any, in your income tax liabilities. Now, as it pertains to these two contrasting styles, there’s three important things that we need to keep in mind with Joe Biden’s tax agenda.

First, he’s looking to double down on Trump’s changes to the taxation of multinationals. So a lot of times when we think about Congress and we think about. Laws  being changed. We think about the pumpkin’s and the Democrats, and they have very different views on things.  One thing that’s implicit in Joe Biden’s platform and his proposals is that he seems to be agreeing with a lot of the changes that occurred with multinationals. He’s not seeking to remove any of these new provisions set up by the tax cuts and jobs act. And in fact, he’s looking to grow one of them and double the tax rate associated with it. One of the ones associated with multinational income shifting to guilty tax. The second key item is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that’s kind of a, you know, a catch phrase there. Right. But it rings true with these plans. If we want to cut the national debt. The increase in revenues is going to be paid by somebody and the people who will be most effected such as those people that make over $400,000 or executives at companies that are trying to manage your company, tend to also be very highly educated, very financial savvy people.

I do not expect them to just bear the brunt of this potential, tax it on their own. I expect them to spread some of these effects. To other aspects of their decision-making other aspects of the  economy. So if you’re an individual who makes under 400,000, you’re thinking that, okay, well, my taxes aren’t going up.

So this may not be as big of a deal. Keep in mind that decisions that are made by very wealthy people or people that are executives at companies can have an effect on other aspects of what you’re looking at. So you might be indirectly affected by these increase in taxes. And the third key item is that different from 2016 taxes were just not a focal point of this presidential election.

COVID-19,  the environment,  other international diplomacy issues hanging in the balance changes to our tax code are simply just not as relevant or as important as they were four years ago. Today doesn’t mean that there won’t be changes during Biden’s term. In fact, every president in recent memory has proposed some changes to the tax code, which Congress eventually passed.

However, the likelihood of a significant overhaul, like we saw with the tax cuts and jobs act appears to be much lower. It will probably still happen in some way, but it just may not be quite as big as what we saw in 2017 with Donald Trump.

Jenny Hammond:  So I guess a question to maybe both of you  and maybe Amanda, you could kind of weigh in on this a little bit too, is I’m always fascinated to see kind of the shift in the paradigm of presidential terms. Right. And I guess the easiest way during Trump’s presidency the perception from the, from the lay man’s perspective was that the new tax incentives, it allowed for companies. Potentially to bring business back to the U S where it was less expensive to do business overseas. Is that an accurate statement? I mean, would you say that that occurred and do you think that that will continue or will this new kind of tweak by Biden make that a different scenario?

Amanda Shumaker:  I think that that was part of the dialogue around tax reform and. Perhaps the intent of some of the rules.  In reality, I don’t think that is what happened but there are one-off exceptions where someone decided to, as a result of TCJ bring a manufacturing facility back to the U S or bring their IP back to the U S but by and large, that’s really not the reality of what happened.

And so I expect that that would  continue.

Jenny Hammond:  Got it. So Amanda and your current role, a significant amount of your work revolves around international tax matters. Can you share with us some of your thoughts on the role of international standard setters and shaping us tax policies in the next four years?

Amanda Shumaker:  Yeah, absolutely. So in particular, I would focus on the OACD, which is the organization for economic cooperation and development. It’s essentially the EU countries, plus the us Canada and the UK that come together to select policies, to focus on. They led the BEPS initiative, which is based version and profit shifting initiative that started in 2015 and changed a lot of the international tax framework that we see today across.

The EU in particular. And we see pieces of that in the U S essentially they set out policies that jurisdictions can choose to adopt or not. And they try to come to some kind of neutral understanding around them. And so they’ve recently started the BEPS 2.0  initiative. So this is round two of the kind of policy shifts.

And so it’s intended to reflect the ever-changing nature of business and the fact that a lot of it has shifted to digital. If you think of PR particularly, even accelerated via COVID right. That a lot of our marketplaces and businesses are all conducted via our computers and our phones these days. And so taxation has to shift to be able to keep up with that.

And so there are two pillars of the BEPS 2.0 initiative. The first one is expanding taxation rights to market jurisdictions, which means, for example, if I am a customer in the UK, we’ll give an example and I’m shopping on Amazon, even though Amazon doesn’t have, you know, has a limited footprint in the UK.

Let’s say as an example, you know, should Amazon have to pay tax in the UK as a result of their customer base being there. And so it’s more of sort of a nexus based approach as opposed to what’s historically been based on where are my people, my risks and my functions, and that’s how I’m taxed in  a jurisdiction.

And so to date several jurisdictions have already implemented what are called DST or digital services taxations. Even before the OACD has moved forward with their BEPS initiatives. And so Trump actually did a study on this before he, um, an investigation of this before he left office, where he found that DSTs were in violation, but he actually stood down on this because he lost the election and didn’t, you know, pursue that further.

And so it’s kind of up to the Biden administration. What he’s going to do about these DSTs, which the U S does not generally support because the most of these large tech companies, a lot of them are located in the U S. And so if you’re pulling tax to other market jurisdictions, it’s likely going to be pulling revenues from the U S it’s.

It’s generally just not a provision that the us supports. And so we’ll see what Biden does. If there are sanctions coming to jurisdictions that have DSTs or how that is handled the pillar two of the BAPS 2.0 initiative is a  minimum taxation on all earnings globally.  And sort of saying, Hey, you know, It’s kind of getting rid of the old world of taxation where say you could put a large chunk of income and a jurisdiction that has a zero tax rate, like a Cayman or something like that.

Right. That’s just not the way the world works anymore. And really the U S already looked at this and that’s where as Nathan referred to it, the guilty regime came in and it’s sort of a minimum taxation on all of your global income. And so, you know, the U S is a supporter of, of a minimum taxation generally. And is frankly already implemented it. And so to be determined how much the U S is supportive of the BEPS 2.0 initiative, given those, you know, differing views and differing ideas that the us has as compared to the other EU jurisdictions and Canada. But I can say that Biden recently appointed a special treasury position. Ty Greenberg appointed by Biden.  He’s a professor in tax at Georgetown to specifically take up the BAPS 2.0 initiative and  pursue the U S his views on that. So more to come on that, particularly with some OCD meetings this summer.

Jenny Hammond:  Interesting. Curious, when you’re looking at this and you’re working with an international company, how do you present kind of your obviously to stay neutral, right?

You have to stay neutral because you’re there hired as a consultant, but how do you explain to them kind of what. You feel would be the best option at this point, during this time period and having this transition, right. We don’t know exactly what’s going to come out of this new presidential leadership and we kind of know what happened with the last as an, as advising a company and what to do and kind of where to go. What are some of the things that you discussed with them at this time?

Amanda Shumaker:  Yeah, a lot of it is education.  It’s making sure that our tax directors or VPs of tax or C-suite has information to be able to pass on to the board in terms of what this could mean.

And then we do a lot of modeling for our clients to say, okay, if for example, Biden were to increase the tax rate from 21% to 28%, what would that mean to your effective tax rate  going forward? Or, you know, if guilty regime were to take a shift or if, you know you wanted to transfer part of your business in the EU, what jurisdiction do you want to consider because you know, France has this DST in place and how does that going to impact you? Right. So we do have a lot of those kinds of conversations that are really, they’re not taking a position one way or another. As you note, Jenny, it’s more of let’s inform you of what, how your decisions would be impacted by potential watching.

Jenny Hammond:  Nathan, I’m curious from your perspective, election years are probably  pretty interesting in the classroom. I’m sure you get a variance of opinions and views. How do you teach knowing that there’s always two different sides and people can feel very passionate about one to the other and policies that are impacting them.

Nathan Goldman:  Yeah. It’s always a challenge because you have to go into the lesson knowing that probably 50% of the classroom feel strongly one way and 50% feel strongly the other way, even if that’s not exactly what it is. So you have to go into the classroom, assuming that there are going to be very strong opinions on both sides and do your best  to present positive opinions on both. I don’t think that, especially when it comes to things like taxation, I don’t think there’s ever a clear right or wrong answer. They all have different benefits to our society. They’ll have different consequences to our society. So I do my best to just remain as neutral as possible as my students can test this past year.

I don’t think that any idea who I voted for for president and that’s my goal. I don’t want them to be able to figure that out based on the way I teach.

Jenny Hammond:  And that’s impressive, by the way, that’s not easy to do kind of follow up with that. You’re being back into the classroom. What are you teaching students now so that they are prepared to be a part of the solution for some of these challenges that we see that are occurring now potentially in the future here or abroad?

Nathan Goldman:  Yeah. And I think a lot of that comes down to two key things that I think our masters of accounting students need to. Have is they leave here and they leave NC State and begin their careers in public accounting.

The first is that they need to know the necessary material for the CPA exam. CPA exam is very difficult pass rate for  passing all four sections on the first tries on like 20%.  Each exam has like a 50% pass rates, a very difficult exam. They need to learn the material and they have to learn a lot in a short amount of time.

So our goal. It was partially that they need to know the material that’s relevant for the CPA exam, but it’s also important that we are not just a CPA prep. Program. We want them to be business leaders. We want them to have individual thought. We want them to have critical thinking skills. We want them to be able to problem solve and work with teams.

So it is a pull and tug in some way that we want. We need them to learn this textbook material, but we also need them to learn how to be effective business leaders when they leave here. And I think we do just that. One thing that I like to do is I like to prioritize that the students will learn some of this necessary vocabulary, some of these necessary concepts, but then I also like to prioritize, having them have real discussions about some of these controversial topics. And what are the effective ways of going about, say taxation in an international jurisdiction. Also  do my best to bring in real-world examples into my classrooms. So not just have them look to see what’s in the textbook, but bring in articles, bring in things that they need to read on top of the textbook material stuff away.

They could see what things are like in the current world, the current state of things, especially for taxation that changes on a. Not necessarily daily basis, but on quite a frequent basis, it’s important to bring in some of these newer concepts in these newer concerns. I also do my best to bring in practitioners, such as Amanda, who came to my classes last year, delve provide insights on relevant, important topics in their area, whether it’s international taxation or state and local tax or real estate tax.

I like to bring in experts. I could talk about some of these relevant topics that can help show the students that taxation isn’t just, what’s in the textbook and what’s on the rigging exam. It’s actually. A big part of our global business landscape. They’ve got to do a pretty good job of doing that, but I don’t want to say it’s only me.

I think all the professors here at the Jenkins masters of accounting  program, keep that in mind and keep that in the forefront. As they’re preparing and presenting materials to their class.

Jenny Hammond:  Amanda, what would you say looking back maybe both for your undergrad and grad experience, what kind of takeaways, or maybe even, you know, one or two examples that really kind of sealed the deal for you to know that this was an area that you wanted to focus on when you graduated.

Amanda Shumaker:  Great, great question. So I would say the teaming aspect of particularly in the master’s program. You know, it has been 15 years since I was there. So I know the program has evolved since then, but I can tell you that the teaming was a very large focus even at that time. And so that just really equipped me when I joined E Y to be in a position to be learning from my teams, growing, able to work really well and just really learn and grow and take everything I could from my first few years with, from, I know that the Mac program really prepared me in that way, as well as for the CPA exam and getting that knocked out.

Jenny Hammond:  I know that that tends to  be a stressor for a lot of students there towards the end. Right? No pressure. So thinking about that a little bit further to now, Amanda you’re in this different role, EY is an international firm. What would you say clearly has talent all over the world for those of our students that are listening or, or young alumni that might be tuning in.

Provide us with some skillsets that you feel are essential and being successful in your profession, or maybe in your specific area of focus in international.

Yeah. Thanks

Amanda Shumaker:  Jenny. That’s a really good question and is why I was focusing on the fact that the world has changed a lot in 15 years since I was in the program.

And so I think that the key area, the key skill set, I would think it would be important to new grads is data driven because. Everything is so dynamic and ever changing and tax authorities require so much more information about companies and digging into very granular levels in terms of what their functions are, where their income flows are being very data savvy and excel savvy  is extremely important.

I can tell you that I can so much more easily teach international tax concepts to a new staff member then I can add a new staff member that comes in and knows plenty about international tax, but doesn’t know much about data. So that is definitely a really important skill set, a thirst for learning, as we’ve talked about just the ever-changing rules, getting excited about some of these shifts and what they mean for the global economy and how all of this fits together.

And then teaming that has that part hasn’t changed in 15 years.  It’s just as important today as it was then. And that’s important at the staff level and all the way up, it helps you to be a better client server and to be able to team with your clients as well as your internal teams with EYthat are going to help you grow and learn.

Jenny Hammond:  And I would, you know, one question I always think about too, is thinking about coming into a program, kind of undecided Nathan, they’re not sure what area of tax they want to be in. What are some things that you work with students on to think about? Cause you can go into  a public firm, right? You can kind of do a private, you can kind of tie accounting can go anywhere.

So how do you help students kind of shape where they want to go?

Nathan Goldman:  Yeah, I think what, what do I usually recommend to students? And I don’t think Amanda would disagree with me on this. I always recommend that they go into public accounting and start out, looking at this big picture of, from the consultant side of how can we help our clients to make the most tax efficient decisions as possible?

How can we, and for on the, even on the audit side, how can we look at the whole financial statement picture and make sure these financial statements are presented without material misstatement? I think that there’s a lot of work experience that you get. And some of it’s because you do work maybe doubled hours that you would at another company.

So you are very valuable. You’re very in demand. They help make sure that you pass the CPA exam, they help you on your feet. And I usually recommend that the students do that for a few years before they really venture out. In some ways, it’s almost like their second part of grad school is going and working as a staff in a public accounting firm.

And I think it’s very valuable. Now, some students don’t choose to go into vault accounting, and that’s  totally fine too, because they’ve either done an internship and they realize it’s not for them, or they just have different goals that they have moving forward. And I think that’s okay too, because there’s a lot of really good work opportunities out there.

With companies, there’s a lot of companies have leadership development programs that can help get them on the right track for moving up in their career, or they just want to do something different that gives them those opportunities. But ultimately I think what, what I see is that the students don’t necessarily have a clear idea of what they want to do when they leave.

In terms of like their specific career focus and that’s totally fine, but public accounting kind of gives them that opportunity to see so many different areas that will allow them to figure out what they want to do for the next 40 years thereafter.

Jenny Hammond:  Analytics. So this is a hot topic across colleges of business.

You know, we just launched a masters of marketing analytics, but what we’re finding from employers. From all disciplines is they want graduates that have some sort of analytic experience. Would you say that’s true, Nathan, from a teaching perspective, do you find that corporate and that’s critical and Amanda, are  you seeing that in new hires? And is that something EY looking for too?

Nathan Goldman:  Yeah.

One thing that I do like to do is stay in contact with people that are in industry, such as Amanda. Well, some of my other contexts that I’ve had just from working, because it’s important to know what they see and what they value in our students. As Amanda mentioned 15 years ago, when she graduated the masters of accounting program, didn’t have things like a data analytics program or they didn’t have classes about data analytics and that wasn’t as relevant when she originally graduated. But now the same company that she worked for, the same company that hired her is saying, this is something that’s very valuable and something that they want our students to have some foundation of.

So that’s things that we’ve been incorporated into our classes. One thing that I have in my income tax classes, I have them do a data analytics assignment at the end of the semester. Where they use publicly available financial statement, data to attempt to analyze companies, tax returns. And it involves in doing regression analysis involves them, attempting to do some descriptive analysis of what kinds of  activities that they have.

And I think it’s not necessarily setting them up to be a data analytics Wiz in the tax world, but I think it’s giving them an idea of what they might be facing once they get out, get out to their practice.

Amanda Shumaker:  I would probably argue too, that it gives them just a different perspective of what they’re looking at as far as the process and the, and the project as a whole, a very different lens.

Nathan Goldman:  Yeah, absolutely.

Amanda Shumaker:  So everything we do now is data-driven, you know, we talked about, you know, what our clients need when it comes to all these ever-changing ghouls and the answer was they need to know what it means to them. And it means modeling the results, modeling different alternatives. What could this mean?

What could this mean for them to be able to make decisions? And all of that is data-driven. And so what we want is our. Staff people to be able to efficiently and effectively utilize data such that they’re able to get to the thinking. Now, what does this mean side of it? And let the program and process side do what it needs to do.

They know how to make that and manipulate data quickly so that then we can  all get quick, more quickly to the decision-making side of it and the presenting. What does this mean? And not be bogged down in data and, and, and just trying to struggle through that. And so for us, someone that’s good in data and Excel is those are just such important skills.

EY even has a program for upskilling our own professionals. We launched this past year where you can actually get an MBA with a data analytics focus part-time while you’re working at EY an online program, because it’s just something that’s so important to us. And we want all of our people to have those skills.

Jenny Hammond:  In a world that we live in now where there’s data for everything, and it’s everywhere, data overload. Right. It’s a matter of trying to scale that and finding a way to make it apply and work for what you do in an instance. So it’s, that’s a craft in itself, skillset in itself.

Amanda Shumaker:  Yes.

Jenny Hammond:  Okay. So we’ve come to the part of the podcast where we ask a specific think and do questions you both are familiar  with and can do as our tagline at NC State.

We’re very think and do oriented around here. And so I thought what would be fun instead of a typical thing and do question, as I thought, maybe we would give Amanda the opportunity to ask Nathan a question about what he’s teaching or something that he’s doing in the classroom. And then Nathan, I thought it might be fun to see if you wanted to ask Amanda a question about something that she’s doing at E Y that’s exciting.

Think about that for a second.

Amanda Shumaker:  Okay. I got it. So, Nathan, just with the importance of thinking do at NC State, can you tell me a little bit about this semester and through your research, if there’s anything that, any way that COVID has having an impact on what you’re thinking and doing through your research and the tax implication?

Nathan Goldman:  I’d say the specific COVID research for me in the tax role is probably been a little bit more limited in terms of what exactly, what types of research topics I’m looking at. But I do think it’s had a lot of other impacts just throughout our research  community. For example, there’s a lot of conferences that have been moved online and I’ve actually been able to attend a lot more because I don’t have to suddenly fly across the country to go to them.

So COVID, and through the use of technology has enabled me to be able to present more. I work discuss some papers at conferences. It’s also really enabled us as faculty to be able to work more efficiently with our co-authors.  So I got my PhD at the university of Arizona and you know, it was always such a pain to set up something for us, to, for me to talk with my advisor, someone who I’m working on projects with and be able to chat with her about different things.

And now all of a sudden we have this world of zoom where it seems like there’s times where we’ll just. Hop on and we’ll just be working at the same time with our cameras on, and we it’ll be like one of the same room together again, even though we’re 2000 miles apart. So I think cope has really changed our research dynamics has made us a lot more efficient, being able to not just discuss our work, discuss other people’s work, but also grow our research and grow our research stream.

In terms of, so I guess it’s kind of benefited both the think and do aspects of that because it’s  made us just a different type of worker, a different type of employee. I’m sure that’s kind of things that you’ve been seeing it in Y as well, where all of a sudden you’ve had people that you probably used to talk with on the phone and you had to set these formal meetings and now it’s just a quick zoom that you hop in on.

Amanda Shumaker:  That’s exactly right ya know the partnering across the country is just seamless now. I mean, we are getting in, you know, that going in that direction already, but it is definitely accelerated that kind of collaboration, not just across the country across the world.

Yeah, that’s

Nathan Goldman:  great. And I guess on your side with think and do at E Y   how has this affected the workplace environment in terms of employee mobility, in terms of employee retention? What have you been seeing in it? Is there, I think a lot of our students are wondering in this COVID environment, is there still a demand for new hires is EY still trying to bring in new people given kind of that craziness that we’ve been seeing in the last 12 months.

Amanda Shumaker:  Yeah, really great questions. So from a mobility and flexibility perspective, I would say it’s been a  positive.  I have a lot of team members who actually are on and you know, our younger staff are living at home with their parents. And that may be, you know, still in Raleigh, but some are living in Seattle and Provo, Utah, and Boston, and all over because they, it doesn’t matter where they’re sitting, they’re doing the same thing. And so for them, that flexibility has been great. And you know, when we’re all back in the office together, they’ll come back.

But for right now, they get to, you know, be around family and save some money. And so it’s really nice flexibility for them. And so I would say that, you know, I, I expect that a lot of that flexibility is going to cross over after things are more normal and that some of the best things that we’ve all experienced over the last year will be sustained.

But then we’ll also have the opportunity to collaborate in person together as well, which will be great. And yeah, business is booming. So, you know, all these tax laws that we talked about that are ever changing are great for the tax professionals. And so we are certainly  out there and looking for people out of grad schools, as well as experienced hires.

And so that has taxes, definitely not slowed down in light of COVID. If anything, it’s accelerated.

Jenny Hammond:  Great.

So I wanted to ask one final question, and this is both an opportunity for you to kind of talk a little bit about maybe your, your biggest projects or something you’re working on, but for both of you in your respective areas, what do you anticipate being the most exciting thing that you’re going to be working on in 2021?

If you’re allowed to share, I don’t know if I know how research is and I know how projects can be, but is there something that you’re working on now that is really something that’s motivating you and kind of helping you get through this 2021? Hopefully it’s not going to look like 2020, but maybe what’s on the horizon for both of you?

Nathan Goldman:  I’ll start. And I think one thing that I’ve really embraced with this landscape, the last 12 months is this push to I’ll call it like flip the classroom. This idea that you’re going to the students, instead of sitting there for three hours, they’re watching me lecture the whole  time. They can watch some of these lecture materials at home, and we could use that classroom time a little bit more effectively, a different style of learning.

And it’s something that students have been pushing for ever since I began my career as a faculty member, but it’s something that maybe COVID has helped pushed us to kind of shift our style on. This past year, I did it for the first time and it was pretty effective, but I learned a lot about what, well, what didn’t go as well.

And I’m really excited this year to continue transitioning my classroom into being more of an interactive forum, as opposed to a lecture hall. I think, and again, I’ve started that this past year, but I think it’s really going to transition more this year on the teaching front. And I think it’s something that not just, I mean, excited about it as a professor.

But I think a lot of employers, a lot of people that the students can be interacting with one our students to be getting more experience in that situation, because it is going to reflect a lot more of what it’s like in the real world, as opposed to a, what it’s like in a college setting.

Amanda Shumaker:  So, as we’ve talked about, anytime, there’s a lot of change with tax  law that means a lot of different types of work for tax professionals. And so along with. The Congress flipping in the U S and the likelihood that more tax changes coming in the U S as well as abroad that just means a lot of great opportunities for tax professionals. Additionally, whenever there’s a lot of volatility in the market, which we’re definitely seeing and will likely continue seeing as more COVID stimulus occurs that means a lot of deal activity.

You know, we saw. A lot of bankruptcies over the last year, but we also saw a big spike in M and a activity. And so that’s really the fun stuff that I love. Yeah. Um, not the bankruptcy part, but the MNA. And so really looking forward to seeing more of that in 2021 and helping our clients, re-imagine what the future looks like for their business and how that means.

They shift their operating models, their structures to accommodate kind of this new world that we’re all in and how we can help them.

Jenny Hammond:  Well, that is about the amount of time we have for today. Thank you both for joining  us. I think I probably even felt like I was in a little mini accounting class here. I learned a little bit.

So thank you both, certainly appreciate all the work that you’re doing Nathan with research and, and the different ways that you continue to innovate your classroom. I know that that is unique. And Amanda, I think your job just might be the coolest. Right. Inevitably, I was so, yeah, just to be able to in forefront and see so much of that, but I do hope we get back to a point where you get to get the, do the fun stuff, which is the travel part. So thank you both so much for joining us.

Nathan Goldman:  Thank you so much for having me and thank you so much, Amanda, for joining in on this. It’s so great to have such an awesome NC State and Poole college alum come back and participate in these. It’s truly a blessing that we have such awesome alumni like you in our community, who are always willing to give back their time to us.

Amanda Shumaker:  Oh, Nathan and Jenny, thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed this conversation and just have so much excitement for what NC State is doing  and just love anything I can do to get back to NC State.

Jenny Hammond:  Great. Well, thank you both.

Full Episode Transcript

The Poole Podcast is hosted by Jenny Hammond, and is a production of Earfluence.

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