Tax Operations, Playing Detective & Constant Learning – A 1:1 with Michelle Donals

May 9, 2018

Hey, Michelle! Thanks for chatting with us today. We’re hoping to demystify what certain roles in technology mean by shedding light on current projects and initiatives that you’re working on. Can we ask you a few questions about your role on the Tax Operations team at Zeneifts?
MD: Sure thing!

If you were to explain your career to a 7th grader, how would you describe it? What do you enjoy most about your role?

MD: As a Tax Services Specialist, I work on helping clients with a number of payroll tax questions.  One of the more interesting parts of my job is tax notice mysteries. These notices can be caused underpayments, overpayments, missing filings, incorrect filings, frequency issues, etc. Some of the notices are very easy and can be resolved in a few days, and others can take weeks depending on how complex they are. The process of researching a tax notice I receive consists of determining what the issue is, what Zenefits was responsible for, and where the fault of the root cause falls; either on Zenefits, the prior payroll provider, or the client. I really like the detective work that you have to put into the research. Also, if I find that something was Zenefits mistake, I get to bring that to my team’s attention to help improve the product and avoid the issue happening in the future.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role? How do you approach improving on it?

MD: The amount of multitasking you have to do at anyone one time and having to have knowledge about so many different tax processes is challenging! I’ve learned to take it one thing at a time, and make lots of notes in my tickets about my next steps–more as a point of reference for myself really than anyone else. You get pretty good at researching tax knowledge in my role and I’ve learned to not be afraid to call the tax agency directly if I need help. There are also a lot of really knowledgeable tax people on our team that I utilize on a regular basis. We have a lot of documents on processes and tax knowledge that we try to update as we learn something new.

What’s the coolest part of your job?

MD: The coolest part of my job is hands down the team of people I work with every day. They are some of the most earnest, intelligent, and patient people I know and have ever had the pleasure of working with.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom? When do you draw on this advice?

MD: On a regular basis, I was told by a former manager of mine to remember that “Perception is Reality”. The way people view you and the way you present yourself is the impression you will leave behind. What people perceive is usually what they believe. Most of the time you can’t control what happens but I can always control my reactions.

How would you describe the culture of your team?

We’re a little bit of everything! We can be really serious and focused on tackling the many different tasks we have one moment, and then talk about our pets, crafting, or crack a joke to lighten everything up. I think we’re all obsessed with Jen’s mini pig Oliver right now.  We all work together really well to help one another get any job set in front of us done.