• Service: Tax
  • Type: Business and industry issue, Video
  • Date: 10/15/2012
  • Length: 3:49 Minutes

Operating in the new business reality and what this means for the tax function 

Mary P. Van Veen, Vice President of Tax, DuPont:

I’m Mary Van Veen, I’m the Vice President of Tax with DuPont.

How do you connect to the strategic initiatives within the organization?

We actually have 14 major businesses within DuPont, all of which, or many of which, are Fortune 500 companies in and of themselves, and so we connect at very different levels throughout. So, not only do I connect with the presidents of those businesses as well as the CFOs, but because their global businesses, and many of them are located outside of the US, I need to make sure my team is also connecting with those in the region and staying very connected, so we do connect at lots of different levels. And, I think that’s most effective because not all of the decisions, and not all the strategy, is always done at the top, and of course, the implementation is not done at the top, and that’s where it gets critical.

How does tax drive value?

It’s complex, but it also gives us lots of opportunities to add value. All of those businesses have very different objectives. They operate in different ways. They go to market in different ways. And so, our strategy is to work with the businesses, understand those businesses in depth, and what are their value drivers, and how can we squeeze more value out of that on an after tax basis?

How do you measure success?

So, a couple things that we look at to measure our success. We look at the savings that we generate from either cash or earnings perspective. We also look at a lot at people development, and we’re developing a pipeline of tax professionals who are also business leaders who can also continue to add value as we move along. So, those are probably the two primary things we measure is people development and cash and savings.

How is your tax department structured?

We have 250 people in the organization; about 50 of them are in the US. We are a US headquartered company. But, that said, a large majority are not in the US, they are out with the businesses. We are structured in a way that we have people that are dedicated to planning, and people that are dedicated to the businesses, but we don’t rely solely on them to add value. My main message to everybody in my team is you can add value, no matter what you’re doing, so we try to really drive a lot of that thought process down deep into the organization.

How do you keep connected with your company leaders?

There’s a lot of ways to connect. For those that are located near me, I try to go see them as often as I can, but a lot of them are not, a lot of them are located in Asia, Europe, Latin America. Clearly, if I go to those regions, I go and visit them. But, I’ll have calls as well, email, and again, I have my team in the regions really trying to connect and stay connected with them as well.

What advice do you have for other tax leaders?

Know your businesses. Connect and communicate - it’s most important. And, drive the thought process into your people that they are value drivers, and not just number crunchers.

Mary P. Van Veen, Vice President of Tax, DuPont, discusses how her company has connected and realigned tax strategic business planning.

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Iberoamerica Tax Summit 2012

Tax views
Videos and articles on views captured at the Iberoamerica Tax Summit 2012.