The Story of Modern Tax Technology and the Origins of Taxology

The market for tax technology changed gears in 2003 when Sabrix (now Thomson Reuters) introduced the first global tax engine based on internet technologies.

Over the next few years, the excitement around new-generation products was palpable. Opportunities and challenges associated with globalization and digital communications had thrust tax into the limelight, and better tools were needed. The market boomed.

However, there was a surprise on the horizon. Tax tools do not operate in isolation, and tax professionals suddenly found themselves wrapped up in the world of enterprise technology, something for which they were completely unprepared.

Skip ahead a few more years and that initial excitement had dissipated and all but disappeared. Caution and questioning had taken over. Gatekeepers ruled the roost, quashing risk (real or perceived) and taking innovation with it. No one seemed to have any better ideas.

Yet, the tax authorities did not stand still. Fuelled by tax gaps, public discontent and new technologies, they began switching to ‘digital’, further ratcheting up the accountability of corporate taxpayers.

At home, years of patchwork and piece-meal fixes meant solutions were increasingly unmanageable. Outsourcing provides only partial relief. Disorderly data and systems meant tax was falling behind and becoming sand in the gears of operations. Tax needed to be a full business partner.

Something had to be done. Taxology was born.

PawPaw Taxology challenges perceptions, offering a better way.

Taxology delivers double the benefit at half the cost.

What is Taxology?

Taxology is the study of digital and enterprise technologies in tax. It examines the fundamental concepts and principles that underpin digital capabilities, and makes them available to today's tax industry professionals working in today's corporate environments.

The basic tenets of taxology are:

  1. Good enterprise tax solutions are constructed, not installed
  2. Tax business sculpts the use of technology; technology amplifies the scope of business
  3. Data is the glue that binds corporate-wide tax solutions together and defines their effectiveness
  4. Organizational innovation is both a prerequisite for, and a consequence of, effective taxology
  5. Taxology is a non-trivial body of knowledge and a distinct skill set.

An expert in taxology is called a taxologist. A taxologist is distinct from a tax technologist, who is an expert in tax technology tools. The flow is:

Tax Manager <> Taxologist <> Tax Technologist <> IT Technician

The taxologist is well-versed in the nuances of technology that typically escape the first comprehension of non-specialists. This is needed before high-quality tax transformation can take place, thus avoiding the haphazard automation that is common in its absence.

Taxologists are highly-skilled, capable leaders with broad experience. Within the organization, they are instrumental to socializing aspects of innovation, refining objectives and verifying structures for fulfilment. They then work between tax business and technology as master-builder and hub, in the same way an architect oversees a building construction site.

All stakeholders, including senior tax leadership, need a basic working knowledge of taxology to prevent critical success criteria being overlooked or undermined. A journey then unfolds that must be travelled by every digitally-enabled, information-era tax department of today and tomorrow.


Who are PawPaw Taxology?

Geoff Peck
Founder & Chief Taxologist

London, UK

Geoff_croppedGeoff has been immersed in enterprise tax solutions at global majors for more than twenty years. With a solid academic background and experience of working across Europe, North America, Middle East and Africa, Geoff excels as thought leader and practitioner in the planning, architecture and governance of end-to-end corporate tax systems. Prior to third-party global tax engines, Geoff built three tax engines and later founded a boutique consultancy that briefly became the largest in the world dedicated to new-age tax technologies. Geoff is the principal author behind the unique Tax Technology Insight Series and a regular blogger, speaker and adviser to Tax and Tax Technology leadership at major corporations.

Bill Wilson
Founder & Business Development

Los Angeles, USA

Bill is a globally minded business leader with in-depth experience of cross-functional and cross-cultural teams at major corporations in highly competitive markets. Bill has worked in industries such as healthcare, financial services and automotive on four continents, and is well known for master-minding systems and best practices that deliver sustained growth through improved corporate visibility and image. Bill has demonstrated a career long commitment to top quality products and services backed by world class customer support. Prior to co-founding PawPaw Taxology, Bill ran his own financial services and business consulting businesses.

Geoff Peck and Bill Wilson met in Johannesburg over 30 years ago, and while their careers eventually took them to Europe and the USA respectively, Africa had left an indelible mark on their hearts.

So, while forming a business together, their choice of benevolent cause was a simple one – conserving the rapidly dwindling wildlife of Southern Africa. They support many great organizations dedicated to protecting the wilderness and eliminate poaching in that amazing part of the world, and we invite you to explore some of them below, escaping (for a few minutes) the enigmatic world of tax technology.