Taxologists are a Different Breed
As an athlete turned Taxologist, Jeanne Turndahl turned her love of a good athletic challenge into a love of a good tax challenge. Today, she is Director of Global Tax Technology for the Internal Tax Department of Thomson Reuters.
Jeanne Turndahl always had a passion for athletics. In her youth, she was involved in swimming, soccer and gymnastics, and even swam in college. While she always thought she would become a physical education teacher, her love of a good challenge took her on a path to becoming a Taxologist.
Jeanne’s father was a CPA who owned his own business and, from a young age, she often joined him at work. Jeanne’s first job was updating her father’s tax book library. As a teenager, she started doing payroll and payroll taxes as well. In 1978, she used the experience she gained working with her father and took a job with Meldisco, A Division of Melville Corporation, as a clerk typist. In her words, she was the worst clerk typist ever, but the job was a major stepping stone on her journey.
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CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO
Given her natural curiosity and willingness to learn, Jeanne was constantly asking for other tasks to take on at Meldisco. After the income tax manager left, the director asked Jeanne if she wanted the job. Even without income tax experience, Jeanne was known as a quick study and the role was hers.
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With 2,500 stores, Jeanne and her income tax team were tasked with completing as many hand-written returns. The process took about six months. At the time, Jeanne was still doing work for her father who had started using preprinted forms to file returns. She approached her manager for approval to use a similar process. Even though the controller didn’t think it could be done, her boss gave her a shot. Under her initiative, Jeanne implemented the preprinted forms and eventually cut the return process down to less than one month, including the review of all attachments. Needless to say, her boss was thrilled and her team could finally take some much needed time off.
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Technology is constantly in motion
In 1995, Jeanne came to Thomson as Assistant Tax Director and was charged with developing the tax processes of what was then the newspaper business. Again, she took a group that was in disarray and transformed it with technology. Jeanne then moved on to the Consolidated Federal Return where she implemented ONESOURCE Income Tax.
After a few years of having the tax process nailed down, Jeanne was at a crossroads. She was ready to move beyond consolidated tax returns and on to a new challenge. At the time, Thomson was in the midst of acquiring Reuters and making some other tax-related acquisitions as well. Jeanne took the lead in spearheading the formation of the global tax document management team while her collegue lead the formation of the tax reporting improvement team. This pushed the company to recognize the need for a company-wide tax technology role. They needed someone with deep experience who could also see the big picture—and Jeanne was that person.
THE GAME CHANGERS AMONG US
As the Director of Global Tax Technology for Thomson Reuters, Jeanne is currently responsible for implementing global tax applications across the company. In this role, she has implemented solutions for income taxes, tax provision, transfer pricing data management, entity management, calendar management, workflow and audit management. As part of her role, Jeanne sits on numerous committees including those related to legal entity and IT management, ensuring that tax has a voice in all company-wide initiatives.
Among her many accomplishments, Jeanne is most proud of the process improvements she has brought to tax and her role in elevating the tax department to the level it should be—a strategic partner to the overall organization. If there is one piece of advice she can offer aspiring Taxologists, it is this:
If you’re not challenging the status quo, you and your organization will be left behind.
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