Tax Your Brain

Vince Inendino puzzles out the best tax structure and team dynamic to map out capital gains for TransUnion

Taxes might not be considered the most dynamic department, but the work that happens inside these walls is important in helping any company manage its finances, set short- and long-term goals, and help align progressive strategies. At TransUnion, one of the big three credit-reporting companies, this responsibility falls on vice president of tax Vince Inendino and his team of tax experts.

“Typically, we’re looking at tax planning structure and staying current with tax changes in all of the countries where we operate,” Inendino says.

TransUnion is best known for providing credit reports, but it also offers predictive analytics based on its data. The organization incorporates the information services business in the United States, the consumer interactive business, and an international arm extending to more than thirty countries worldwide. In recent years, all three branches have been growing revenue and earnings in double digits, both organically and through acquisitions.

At the same time, the importance of the tax department has evolved apace. Inendino, who joined the company in 2012, is the first vice president of tax solely dedicated to the tax function. “Before I got here, the tax function was doing the basics well—compliance, reporting, filling out returns—but there wasn’t as much involvement in planning,” Inendino says. “I’ve continued to improve all those basic things, but also evolve the company’s understanding in the planning areas.”

As TransUnion has evolved from a privately held company to a public one with deeper international presence, Inendino and his team work with the treasury and legal departments daily to ensure that all of the businesses’ entities are meeting requirements.

Another effort that Inendino has taken on is with the department’s team. “Our goal was to increase collaboration among the team,” he says. “We stress more working together now as opposed to having separate silos in the department. Part of my role when I got here was [figuring out] how to raise the bar for the team.”

Inendino needed a team that could reach as high as he would set that bar. He has grown the team and says that he took a number of factors into consideration when looking at candidates. “One of the things I’ve learned is that you don’t want everybody who thinks the same way, or you’ll have blind spots,” he says. “I wanted people who could work together, but also learn from each other. If one person has a certain skill set and another person has a different one, we can deliver a broader competency to the company. The tax technical element is a given in any position we hire for, but then you’re looking for their growth potential and a track record of being able to learn quickly.”

It’s no surprise that tax executives may also have the reputation for only sitting in an office crunching numbers. But for Inendino, that’s not the main draw or what keeps him at the job. “I love this job because I find it intellectually stimulating,” he says. “It’s an area where you can see all the different parts of the business, interact with a lot of different people, and also add value to the company. It has its own issues and frustrations for sure, but tedium takes a toll on me, and it is never tedious.”