Thriving ‘Deep in the Weeds’: Spotlight on Basics Course Alum, Monica Schaefer

Monica Schaefer | Compliance Analyst & Payroll Manager, Verge Health

Finding work that aligns with your strengths and passions is something that most professionals dream about. Day to day work takes on a new meaning when you can put your talents to use in ways that support the company’s mission and bring you fulfillment.

In May of 2019, such an opportunity landed in the lap of Monica Schaefer, an alumna of the Sales Tax Institute Basics of Sales and Use Tax course. Monica’s company, Verge Health, was adjusting to the new sales tax landscape and needed an additional professional to support compliance efforts. The company identified Monica as just the person for the job due to her passion for research and compliance.

Despite minimal sales tax background knowledge and having spent her career in HR, Monica rose to the occasion, quickly finding that her strengths integrated well with sales tax. Today, she confidently provides guidance to help move her company forward from a sales tax perspective.

She found a perfect niche.


How She Got Hooked

A lot people who work with sales tax find fulfillment and excitement working with a tax that has ever-changing rules and regulations. For Monica, that’s part the attraction, but what intrigued her most and drew her into sales tax work is the everyday opportunities to deep dive into the subject matter.

Monica is a research enthusiast. She loves getting lost “in the weeds” of sales tax legislation and exploring the nuances and minute details of each state’s rules.

The addition of sales tax compliance to her job responsibilities allowed Monica’s talent for research to shine. But as a newcomer to the field, she needed a solid foundation of knowledge to stand on to make the most of her research and help meet the needs of her company.


Experience at Basics of Sales and Use Tax

Just two months into her new position, Monica attended the Basics of Sales and Use Tax course. She sought a course that would give her a comprehensive overview with time dedicated to specific market sectors.

Monica was a model student. She sat in the front row and dove into every aspect of the course with gusto. She loved the way a host of resources came together – from instructors to other attendees to reference books to the take-home workbook – to offer ample opportunities to learn.

Monica’s favorite part of the course, however, was the people. She found camaraderie among fellow sales tax nerds and felt affirmation that she wasn’t the only one who found joy in the work. “What’s not to love about a room full of people that are just like you?” Monica said. “We’re the ones who get excited about taxes, and that’s kind of rare.”

Over the course of the three days, Monica moved from limited knowledge to being able to apply what she learned about the major aspects of sales tax compliance to her company’s situation.


From Novice to Go-To Sales Tax Pro

Monica already had the raw talent for tax research and sales tax strategy, the Basics course simply elevated those skills and helped solidify her knowledge base of sales tax fundamentals. “Everything that I took from the class has assisted me in being successful in my current role,” Monica stated.

“Everything that I took from the class has assisted me in being successful in my
current role. I’ve been able to provide up-to-date information for our Finance
Department as well as provide guidance on how to move the company forward from
a sales tax person perspective. [Basics] was just a perfect kick-starter coming from an entry level.”

Monica has developed pathways to support other departments with the data they need and the foresight to inform company leaders about the impact of sales tax on company operations.


Looking Forward – Sticking with Sales Tax

At the end of the day, Monica’s love for research and continual learning make her excited to continue working in sales tax. She thrives finding answers to murky “it depends” situations. Her favorite type of work involves strategy, logic, and detective work – which are all inherent to a career in sales tax.

Adding sales tax management to her portfolio of skills has opened new paths for Monica to take her career that build on her new-found passion. With almost a year of experience under her belt, she envisions the exciting possibilities of exploring certifications in tax and eventually becoming a sales tax subject matter expert down the line.

“I’m definitely intrinsically motivated to learn and keep growing. I just don’t know
where that’s going to take me at this early point in my career. But right now, it’s the
expansion of my knowledge base and then making sure that I am providing what our
company needs at the moment.”

To reach an expert level, Monica is committed to learning as much as she can, “[Sales tax] is a very big topic. Trying to get your head and your arms wrapped around the entire topic itself is a huge job.”

It’s clear that Monica’s dedication to education and internal drive will propel her wherever she decides to go in sales tax. The Sales Tax Institute is proud to be a part of Monica’s professional education and celebrate her accomplishments and passion for the sales tax field.

Posted on February 26, 2020