Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s focus is on Diane L. Yetter, president of Yetter Tax, a sales tax consulting and tax technology firm, and founder of the Sales Tax Institute.
Prior to starting her tax company in 1996, Yetter was a tax professional for Arthur Andersen, Quaker Oats, and the Kansas Department of Revenue. The Sales Tax Institute, which she also started in 1996, offers live and online courses to business professionals about sales and use tax. Yetter has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting seven times, and the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners named her as its Woman Business Owner of 2020.
When she’s not working, you might find Yetter snacking on gummy bears and pretzels, browsing a wide array of podcasts, or dreaming about a warm island vacation.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? President of Yetter Tax and founder of the Sales Tax Institute. For Yetter Tax, I’m the partner of the firm, which means I focus on bringing in the business. I’m also the lead salesperson, technical specialist, and tax technologist, so I’m pretty involved with the sales tax implementation projects. I’m also the business owner, which means I oversee and handle what it takes to keep the business running: hiring, financials, benefits, and all the other stuff it takes to keep the business open. For the Sales Tax Institute, I define what topics we will teach, help design the course materials, and serve as the primary instructor for all our courses.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? Primarily books, but recently getting into podcasts! For enjoyment listening I really loved the “Renegades: Born in the USA” podcast as well as “SmartLess.” For state tax, I like “SALTovation” and Eversheds Sutherland’s “SALT Shaker Podcast.” For leadership and general business, the “TED Talks Daily” and “TED Radio Hour.” (Sorry, hard to narrow down!)
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? I am a Sales Tax Nerd.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? I have to say, since I recently finished the final season, “This is Us.” I’m looking forward to the new season of “The Crown.”
What college did you attend and what did you study? University of Kansas for a B.S. in accounting and business administration, DePaul University for a M.S. in taxation.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Tea.
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? The best financial advice I have received, especially as a business owner, is to build up at least three to six months of financial reserves. And to apply for credit early on, so when you need it, you have it.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? I would probably be a teacher of some sort, most likely in higher or adult education.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world—an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? I would eliminate the transitory and no fixed place of business nexus rules for sales tax. With economic nexus as the new standard, activities such as a traveling employee or contractor, or inventory in a third party warehouse or on consignment at a customer, do not make sense and create more complexity. It results in really small businesses having to pay not only sales tax but also income tax.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? Gummy bears and pretzels!
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? South Dakota v. Wayfair continues to have a big impact on my practice even four years later. So this year specifically, it was the opportunity to testify before the US Senate Finance Committee about the impact of Wayfair on small businesses and remote sellers.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? Either put it to a really nice vacation or upgrade some household things—like a new carpet! I do love warm island vacations in January—I’ve been wanting to go to Maui, but I also love the Caribbean.
You can find out more about Yetter on LinkedIn and on Twitter.
You can learn more about the Sales Tax institute on its website or on Twitter.
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