I am a state tax consultant and I hate state taxes. Why? Because state taxes are a burden to every company doing business. The registration to do business, the business licenses, the sales AND use tax, franchise taxes, income taxes, property taxes (personal and real property), local income or gross receipts taxes, etc.
Companies are in business to make money and use it to grow their business, not pay the government. I am not a state tax consultant because I love the complexity of state taxes and the fact that it changes daily. I am a state tax consultant because companies need help navigating the complexity of state taxation or they can end up in some big financial trouble that impacts cash flow.
Now, your Fortune 500 companies may not care as much - meaning, their federal tax liability is usually relatively much larger than their state tax liability, so state taxes usually take a back-seat. However, your growing middle market companies and smaller companies must pay attention or face material liabilities that impact their ability to do business.
The problem for a state tax consultant is that the correlation between the size of a company and importance of state taxation, is sometimes in contrast to how much a state tax consultant can charge for his or her work. Fortune 500 companies can afford to pay more for state tax consulting services and usually the project or issue has more zeros behind the dollar amount involved. So it makes sense that the fee is larger.
For middle market companies and smaller companies, even though the dollar amount at issue may not be as large as it is for a Fortune 500 company, the issue is just as valuable or more so because of the relative effect it could have on the cash flow of the company.
As a result, state tax consultants often have a hard time deciding which type or size of companies they should focus their services on. Each group (large and small) have a need with different means to pay or priorities.
Regardless of size, companies are not in business to pay taxes. CFOs, Controllers and privately held company business owners are not in business to learn and study state taxes. They don't want to know the technical complexities, they just want solutions. They want to do business with as little tax burden as possible (in dollar amount and compliance). Our job as a state tax consultant is not to explain the technical difficulties and show how smart we are. Our objective should be to resolve state tax issues in practical and cost-effective ways, with as little technical jargon and difficulty as possible. If the client wants to know more, provide it. But otherwise, just do it without explaining the technical theories and potential 'greyness' of the issues involved. Clients don't want to know how difficult it is, they want to know you are on top of it and can resolve it with as little pain as possible.
As a state tax professional, don't fall so in love with the complexity of state taxation that you forget why you are studying it in the first place. That's why I like to keep my perception as one that hates state taxes, because every business does. This ensures that we are on the same page.