Excellence and transparency top of the agenda at Women in Tax event

Audit, tax and consultancy firm RSM has joined forces with Women in Tax to host an event that bought together 35 tax professionals to discuss key developments and celebrate International Women’s Day.

As part of an International Women’s Day celebration, the event - held at RSM’s offices in Manchester - welcomed speakers from the Co-op, Fair Tax Mark and Action Aid.

Following the requirement by law for large businesses to publish details of their tax strategy, transparency and reducing the tax gap were key topics of discussion for Emily Kenway from Fair Tax Mark and Rachel Sharpe from Action Aid. In addition, Ian Ellis, CFO of the Co-op, highlighted his experience of the business benefits of diversity and encouraged the network to strive for excellence.

Claire Spencer, tax director at RSM, said:

‘We were very happy to host this event to celebrate International Women’s day. Regardless of gender, progression should be based on merit and addressing inequality in UK companies through excellence will start to rebalance the disparity between men and women in more senior positions.

‘During the evening, we had some great discussions about how recent media attention attracted by major corporations in relation to their tax affairs. This has highlighted a general social interest in tax policies and the concept of a ‘fair’ amount of tax which we have seen increase in prominence in recent years.

‘With increased scrutiny by HMRC, stakeholders, the media and the public, tax transparency is increasingly becoming an issue that businesses need to address to remain compliant; but also to manage perception and mitigate any reputational risk.’

Lisa O’Hare, head of direct tax at the Co-op, coordinates the Manchester branch of the Women in Tax network, said:

‘As tax professionals we need to be the drivers for change to bring about more transparency and greater diversity of those who come to work in our occupation. The event delivered an engaging discussion and perspectives on these issues and demonstrated the passion the Women in Tax of Manchester have for being a force for change.’