The soft skills every in-house tax professional needs

Author Jack Hart
March 1, 2023

As professionals seek to build a career in tax, they will often come to turning points along the way where they want to take a step to the next level – but what skills are needed to take this next step?

Most people tend to focus on hard skills which are generally categorized as more technical, but it is just as important to build on your soft skills. Soft skills are personality traits and habits that shape the way we perform at work. During our ‘Advancing your tax career’ webinar we took the opportunity to ask our panelists what the biggest changes they have seen when it comes to looking at the soft skills top tax talent possess.

Patrick Stodel, Sandhya Edupuganty and Wayne Monfries shared their advice and perspective on some soft skills needed to grow your tax career.


Sandhya and Wayne both brought up the importance of effective communication especially when it comes to such a technical topic as tax.

Sandhya talked about the importance of listening and understanding the other side of a conversation with other companies and your co-workers – it is just as important to actively listen effectively while also being able to have those more meaningful conversations with them. She suggested reaching out to other departments within your company and thinking about what type of questions they might have about tax and why tax should be important to them.

 “Reach outside of your area, outside of yourself. Try to understand the other person or the other company that you are interacting with because I think that definitely helps the conversation that you’re trying to have.”

Sandhya Edupuganty
VP Tax and Treasury | E2open

Wayne went back to the early years of his career during the webinar. He explained that there was always pressure to act and sound like the smartest person in the room in order to appear effective. It made it hard to effectively communicate the importance of tax to others. Throughout his career, he learned the importance of becoming a translator for tax. Highlighting the importance of making something as technical as tax easy to understand across an organization.

“You have to become what I call the translator. You need to take complex topics and make them easy to understand, for the non-tax person… The key that I’ve learned for success is to be that translator to make people or enable people to leave the conversation with an understanding of tax.”

Wayne Monfries
SVP, Head of Global Tax | VISA


Patrick has learned a lot from managing different teams and functions throughout his career. He talked about how adaptability has helped him become a better people manager as his career progressed. Not only has he learned to adapt his management style to fit different people, but also to open himself to receive feedback and approach tasks differently – this has all made a difference in his professional career.

“The secret is being able to accept and welcome adverse feedback and respond to it. Be open to new ways of thinking and new ways of approaching who I am as a professional, and how I interact with the others around me.”

Patrick Stodel
VP Global Tax | West Pharmaceutical Services

It is critical for tax professionals to not only work toward developing their hard skills but also their soft skills. Soft skills are equally pivotal for your career growth. For more tips from our panelists, watch the full recording of our ‘Advancing your tax career’ webinar below:

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