When we first pushed ‘sales tax nerd’ messaging out into the world, we never expected the response we have received. We are thrilled to see so many of you embrace your inner nerd, share your enthusiasm for the profession, and push us to provide more content and opportunities to be part of a community. The amazing response inspired us to create the Sales Tax Nerd Award as new platform to honor sales tax professionals.
We are humbled by the number of award applications we received. Every applicant offered engaging examples of their passion for the sales tax field. It was a difficult decision but led us to this exciting moment…
Drum Roll Please…
The Sales Tax Institute is proud to announce that we have selected Cherie Julius, Senior Tax Manager at Uline, Inc. as the winner of the first ever Sales Tax Nerd Award. The award recognizes sales tax professionals who demonstrate a dedicated passion and commitment to the study and practice of sales tax.
The award does not solely weigh prior accolades or job titles, it also awards a professional for being a self-proclaimed “sales tax nerd” who loves working in the field.
As the 2019 winner, Cherie radiates an admirable enthusiasm and drive for working in the field and sharing her sales tax expertise with others. She is a self-proclaimed sales tax nerd and has devoted her career to learning all she can about sales and use tax issues.
“As we interviewed Cherie, it was clear that sales tax is her passion,” said Diane Yetter, Founder of the Sales Tax Institute. “The fact that when she felt that her needs to interact with other sales tax professionals weren’t being met, she didn’t just sit back. No – she got approval to start her own organization. This takes passion and commitment. Even more, it shows the importance of building a community. That is what a “sales tax nerd” is all about.”
Watch Cherie’s reaction to winning the 2019 Sales Tax Nerd Award
Cherie’s original career goal was to attend law school, but everything changed when she took her first undergraduate accounting course. Accounting quenched her thirst for the defined processes and procedures that initially drew her to law. While working in public accounting post-graduation, she continually gravitated towards work at the intersection of law and tax. Sales tax became the perfect professional fit.
Cherie finds navigating intricacies and complexities of sales and use tax laws professionally enriching. “I once asked a veterinarian why she didn’t become a doctor,” Cherie told Sales Tax Institute, “The vet’s response was, “Why would I become an expert of only one species when I can be the expert of many?” I like to think of sales tax professionals that way, as experts of many states’ laws.”
Cherie uses her expertise in state tax compliance, research, and audit resolution to guide tax processes in her company and to help grow the business. Her passion for the blend of tax and law also helps her approach industry-shaking moments such as the Wayfair decision’s arrival with poise, purpose, and well thought out plans – while leaving room to “nerd-out.” Cherie describes reading the Wayfair case outcome with the same excitement a child has for an upcoming birthday.
Cherie has always made a point to attend as many off-site trainings and seminars as possible. However, a point of frustration with many of the general SALT seminars available to her was the lack of focus on sales tax. Instead of waiting for someone else to develop the sales tax-centered events she craved, she set out to create her own initiative and network of sales tax pros.
In 2015, Cherie created the Indirect Tax Executive Forum (ITEF) to bring tax pros in the Chicago-Milwaukee area together to collaborate and share experiences about key sales tax issues. She had a resounding response from local tax pros eager to discuss best practices and new ideas. ITEF now meets twice annually and is a true network of sales tax nerds that support each other.
“It may sound nerdy, but in that moment, I finally felt at home,” Cherie said of the first ITEF event, “I was surrounded by people that were passionate about the same topics that I devote my career to.”
Within her organization, Cherie commits herself to educating her team members and particularly enjoys training new college graduates who often don’t even realize sales tax is a field. Cherie also lends her sales tax expertise and business savvy to her community through her participation on the audit committee of the local business alliance and on the board of directors of the local symphony association.
Growing up, Cherie’s parents encouraged her to pursue a job that she loves over financial gain or prestige of a position. Cherie took it to heart and made it her professional mission to determine the aspects of her job she loves most and pursue career opportunities that meld those passions together.
Cherie’s ‘sales tax nerdiness’ is a function of the love for her career. “If I won a billion dollars or something, I would probably do work more on a pro-bono basis, but I certainly would still be in the field. It’s always been my driving force to love my job,” said Cherie.
The broad impact of sales tax on a company and the opportunities to contribute to cross-functional teams maintain Cherie’s passion for the field. She loves that “above-the-line tax” professionals must have a wholistic view of the business they work in, from product lines to manufacturing processes, to master the applicable sales tax laws.
Cherie is proof that sales tax pros who approach the profession with excitement, determination, and of course, a lot of hard work can build an incredibly meaningful career. In celebration of the joy she brings to her day to day sales tax work and her contributions to the field, the Sales Tax Institute is ecstatic to name Cherie Julius as THE Sales Tax Nerd of 2019.
The Sales Tax Institute is also pleased to present an outstanding group of award finalists. Finalists represent a variety of backgrounds and roles in the profession. All demonstrate a ‘go-getter’ spirit and advocate to bring an increased focus on sales tax within their companies and the wider field of accounting.
The 2019 finalists include:
You can learn more about each finalist on the Sales Tax Nerd Award page.