A Peek into the Classroom: Tax Research
From earning his MPA degree to becoming a Director in PwC’s Financial Markets practice, Chad Clark (iMPA ’09) is utilizing his tax expertise both in his professional life and back on campus. Let’s learn about a case he developed for Professor Kristina Zvinakis’ Tax Research course.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE CASE YOU CREATED FOR PROFESSOR ZVINAKIS’ CLASS?
The case was about an investment in a financial product, a zero-coupon bond. It required students to use their research skills to determine the proper tax classification of the investment and the amount of taxable income the investment generated across time. The method for determining taxable income required more than basic arithmetic, so students also had to tap into their Finance 101 memory bank to compute those amounts.
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR TAX RESEARCH COURSE?
We learned about issue spotting, research techniques, how to write a memo, the hierarchy of tax authorities, and so much more. Not only was Tax Research my favorite class in business school, I believe it has been more valuable to me as a professional than any of my other classes. I have been working for ten years and I still use the same techniques for research and writing that I learned from Professor Zvinakis.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STUDY TAX?
I liked the idea that tax planning could impact an organization’s bottom line. I appreciated and enjoyed the compliance aspect of tax, but it was the strategy and planning that drew me in.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIFE SINCE GRADUATING FROM THE MPA PROGRAM.
I have been working with PwC’s Financial Markets group for the past ten years. I spent the first two in New York City and have been in Austin since then. When I am not working I am out enjoying Austin with my wife Kassie, daughter Quincy, 9, son Theo, 5, and identical twins Archie and Hawthorne, 18 months.
WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND STUDENTS LEARN MORE ABOUT BEFORE ENTERING THE WORKFORCE?
Technology and data analytics have become an integral part of business, so I believe students will benefit by developing skills and knowledge in these areas as a supplement to their area of focus within accounting. This was one of the key themes we discussed while debriefing the case study during class.