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Meet Senior Director Clark Roland

How did you get into your field?

As a young kid from Maryland attending Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, I had a “second mom” in a college office who looked after me. Throughout college, I became friends with some of her coworkers.

The husband of one of those coworkers had just been appointed Director of Support at Corptax. The coworker knew I had an economics degree and was good with computers, so she said,  “Why don’t you apply to Corptax?” So, I interviewed with her husband and started at Corptax in October of 1994. We were “networking” at the time but didn’t even know it.

I worked in Support at the call center which involved helping clients, and I assisted with software distribution by sending out CDs (the way we downloaded data back then).

In 1996, Deloitte purchased us and opened a Professional Services consulting unit. I was the first Professional Services staff person, and other than a two-year sabbatical at PwC to implement and use Corptax, I’ve been in Professional Services at Corptax ever since!

And to come full circle, I recently attended a retirement party for the Director of Support who hired me.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I love the challenge and variety. My goal is to ensure every client uses the most efficient processes possible—and because no two customers’ tax pictures are alike—that changes with every engagement. I can work with 20 different clients, and I’ll face 20 unique situations.

What is a customer support story you’re especially proud of?

I was working in the call center way back when. A client calls in and I start off with, “Hey, are you having a great day?” just to kind of break the ice. I could tell something wasn’t right. He said, “No, not really. My wife died last week.” Keep in mind, I’m in my early twenties and unprepared for this kind of conversation. But I was on the phone with him for two hours primarily listening. He needed somebody to talk to. We had a meaningful conversation, and I remember it to this day. After that, whenever he called in, he asked for me.

What is one thing that surprised you about working at Corptax?

When I interviewed, they said, “we’re like a close-knit family.” Just out of college, I’m thinking, “Yeah, sure.” Like most people new to the work world, I figured I’d stay at a first job a few years and move on. Well, for my first stint at Corptax, I was there from 1994 to 2010, and then again from 2012 until now. That’s a long time. And, actually, Corptax truly is a family, and some of my best friends are my coworkers. We very much care about one another and want to help each other succeed.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

A previous boss told me, “If you make a mistake, just let me know, so we can get ahead of it, and I can support you.” He didn’t want to be blindsided and hear about anything from a client; he wanted to hear it from me. We all make mistakes, but let’s just own them and handle them the best way we can. I always share that advice when onboarding new team members.

A second boss said, “In your career, you’re going to juggle a lot of balls, and you may have to drop some sooner or later. The key is knowing which ones to drop.” I always tell new team members, “You may not understand this now, but as you move up in your career, you will.”

Flash back to when you were ten years old. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a sanitation worker and ride on the back of a garbage truck because I thought it was cool. I noticed all the sanitation workers wore gloves, so the next-door neighbor kid and I would put on our winter gloves during the summer and carry our trash cans down to the edge of the driveway. The workers would actually let us put our trash in the truck. It was great!

What changes have you seen in our field in the last five years?

I’ve seen the industry embrace technology more and more, especially when it comes to tax analytics. We used to do everything in Corptax, and now we ask, “What’s the best solution? Is it Corptax? Or Corptax data with Alteryx or Power BI?” As tax technologists, we’re open to the emerging technologies that complement ours.

Do you encounter any common challenges working with clients?

I often see longtime clients who prefer to do things SALY—same as last year. They are reluctant to embrace new functionality we release. It’s human nature to resist change, but change leads to progress. A big part of my job is helping clients go from A to Z faster and more efficiently, I recently worked with a longtime user who didn’t want to use automated adjustments, It took many questions and a lot of encouragement to get them to try the new approach, and now they couldn’t be happier.

About Clark Roland

A Senior Director in the Corptax Professional Services group, Clark Roland has compiled more than 20 years of experience in corporate taxation, tax process optimization, tax technology, and software implementation. He leads complex projects that ensure clients optimize productivity and efficiency in their tax processes. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Texas Christian University (TCU).

Mary Ellen Robb shares a personal look at the challenges, changes, and achievements she’s experienced in corporate tax.