Taxology Part 4: Why Wiki Matters

Cliché Busting: The Substance Behind the Sound Bites Part 4 of 5: Key Concepts in the Future of Tax There’s a saying that goes, “technology requires tax to upskill, but transformation requires tax to reskill“. For those that follow this series, it will be no surprise that we fully subscribe to this. Of course, we don’t mean that current skills must be forgotten, but the impact of digitalization is so pervasive that ...
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Taxology Part 3: Why ‘Data’ Matters

Part 3 of 5: Key Concepts in the Future of Tax  Cliché Busting: The Substance Behind the Sound Bites The third concept under review, namely ‘data’, is without doubt the most impactful to the future of tax. As a paradigm-shifting medium for tax information, digitalized ‘data’ is firmly in the process of redefining the industry, and it is the focal point around which all tax transformation revolves. This sentiment is expressed in ...
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Taxology Part 2: Why Transformation Matters

Part 2 of 5: Key Concepts in the Future of Tax Cliché Busting: The Substance Behind the Sound Bites  Part 2: The Essence of Transformation Of the five concepts under review, perhaps transformation is the most high profile, but also misfires the most. That’s a shame because it’s vital to avoiding disruption and succeeding in the digital world. Almost every tax technology effort, or systems project with a tax component, is either ...
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Taxology Part 1: Why Agile Matters

Part 1 of 5: Key Concepts in the Future of Tax  Cliché Busting: The Substance Behind the Sound Bites In one sense, taxology is about delivering tax technology with built-in digital future-proofing.  Xyto and its partners are all about realizing both for the price of one, such that…  Their combined value is far greater than the sum (cost) of their parts.  But how? … Well, it’s no big mystery.  We run ...
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Your 2023 Tax Transformation Break Out

Happy Happy New Year! This year has extra meaning! From Insight to Full Digital Naturalization The goal was always clear. To the traditional approach to tax technology, which is ‘IT & automation’, we needed to add:
  1. Future-proofing – to protect you and your tax function from the further digitalization of tax
  2. Digital upskilling – so that technology complements modern tax professionals, not replaces them
  3. Skills succession – sharing & normalizing new digital ...
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The New Rhythms of Tax

Join us and Feel the Future Joining the tax industry used to have a measure of certainty about it. As a grand & noble institutionalized profession underpinned by tradition, formality and law, it generally provided a predictable, scripted future that simply had to be enacted by its agents to guarantee stability, status, and worth. Digitalization has rocked those previously stable foundations to the core. Today, there is a new rhythm ...
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The ‘Why’ Behind Tax Technology Training

This Cyber Monday, the industry stalwart Smart Tax Technology certification program is on offer at an 80% discount to the normal price. This has prompted much interest, so we, the Xyto service group, decided to interview the author & coach, to help answer some of the questions you have … Hi Geoff, thanks for meeting us. What was your original reason for creating this course? It’s a pleasure to talk to you. The reason is ...
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Tax Transformation Reaches Tipping Point

And like climate change, there’s no going back The ticking clock is calling time on pre-digital thinking in tax The digitalization of tax has no equivalent to COP27 to hold us to account for what we already know to be both true and inevitable. But if it did, it would probably go something like this:
  1. Tax is going digital and has reached a point of no return
  2. The tax profession ...
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Tax Engines For the Mass Market … But what about the ROI?

Getting value from tax engines for next tier companies  When global indirect tax determination (tax engines) first came out 20 years ago, they were the preserve of the very large. Only the biggest companies in the world had the scale & volume to realize a worthwhile ROI from these beasts, but that situation has now changed. Firstly, the move to cloud has lowered costs, simplified install & maintenance, and made ...
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At Last, A Book from SAP on Tax

A new publication brings tax into the SAP mainstream in a good way!  SAP Press have finally released Tax with SAP S/4HANA – Configuration and Determination, which is about time. The core tax determination capabilities in SAP date from 1972 and have barely changed since. However in that time, the tax world has changed out of all recognition, and the first few pages reflect that with some refreshingly up-to-date commentary ...
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The Tax Transformation Challenge – This is NOT a Drill … But first change the narrative and get ‘buy in’

Leadership that demands success before commitment will get neither… Transformation is, in part, a psychological journey with a series of emotional responses. According to Lindsay Herbert*, these are in order denial, fear, anger, delight, and ultimately attachment to new technology and ways of working. In the tax world currently, it’s safe to say that the denial phase is over. No one doubts tax authorities and organizations have taken technology adoption to the point where nothing will ...
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The Traditional vs Transformational View of the Impact of Technology on Tax … and why it matters more than ever

From 20th century data processing to 21st century digital empowerment People like to think of “transformation” in terms of digital transformation, or the introduction of technology into the way tax works today. This typically translates into the notion that automation leads to transformation, but this is incorrect. In fact, if taken too far, that thought process can be quite harmful. Possibly it’s the word “digital” that’s confusing, it’s hard to ...
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Innovation Needs Leaders, Not Managers

Managers Execute, Leaders Explore … and the Difference is Crucial to Transforming Tax Tax professionals are skilled in the art of tax, but when it comes to working within their companies, they turn to the management profession for methods & tools. Historically this has worked well, but now that tax folk must innovate to stay ahead of the digitalization of tax, major cracks are starting to appear. It’s no secret ...
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To Teach Tax to ‘IT’​ or Teach ‘IT’​ to Tax, That is the Question. Or is it?

Our Response to This Age Old Question – Do Neither! Twenty years ago, at the first tax & tax technology conference we ever attended, there was a presentation called … Teach Tax to ‘IT’ or ‘IT’ to Tax – Which is better? The same question came up in one of the spring conferences a month ago, which put in sharp relief this hamster wheel that industry leaders have been stuck ...
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Tax on the Brink – The Need to Inspire

How to Halt the Downward Spiral of In-House Tax The backdrop for this is simple. It works like this:
  1. Technology is driving tax into the digital realm
  2. Tax professionals are not keeping up with this shift
  3. Tax is now too complex for IT or others to do it for them
  4. Business leadership perceives tax as a growing strategic issue
  5. In-house tax attempts to address this but misses the mark
  6. ...
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My Seminar at the University of Vienna

Guest Lecturing to Next Gen Tax Professionals at the Executive Academy If anyone still doubts the importance of personal development in tax transformation, then doubt no more. The pressure to shift mindsets and start putting ‘people’ above ‘technology’ has now gone mainstream … Vienna University Of Business & Economics (WU) is about to award 15 or more students an LL.M. (Masters) in Tax & Digitalization. It was my pleasure to ...
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Tax Independence Day – Freedom from the Tyranny of Technology

Three sure-fire steps to turning invasive forces to your advantage In the biggest film of 1996, mankind was not expecting the aliens to arrive. Then one day, they just turned up and started wreaking havoc on the world. This bears some resemblance to what happened to tax when digital disruption arrived. In the movie, a ragtag group of scientists, survivors, combat pilots and the US president save the day by ...
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VAT Update: ‘The Internet Is Rotting’ – And ERPs Have Followed Suit

But only if we let it be that way. It’s our choice! This week, VAT Update took the words right out of my mouth with their “The Internet Is Rotting” intro (click here to see full article). In short, we both strongly agree that “out of the box” ERP systems do not pass muster for VAT (or other taxes for that matter) and it falls to you, the everyday tax ...
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Out with the Old & In with the New

The surprising role that taxology plays in the conversation on hybrid work The recent TLG 15th Indirect Tax Exchange was a hybrid event, enabling me to interact with both online and in-person audiences. It was a highly successful experience and allowed many thinly stretched tax professionals to participate who otherwise may have missed out. We now expect hybrid events to become the norm, and the same argument applies to the ...
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It Costs Less Than Doing Nothing!

The Hidden Costs of Most TaxTech Strategies We talk to a lot of people and there is a common theme to tax technology & digitalization concerns, and that is, “how do we get ahead of the game and stay on top of all the changes?” Viewing this landscape with a taxologists’ eye, we can see people address symptoms & short-term immediate needs only with scant consensus on how to get ...
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NEW! Smart TaxTech – The Community Coaching Edition

Introductory Offer Included! The spring conference season kicked off in a big way. Events are well attended and topics are enlightening. Our high-level takeaways so far are:
  1. The tax world is changing at breakneck speed on several fronts, much of it driven or underpinned by technology;
  2. Solutions are needed for tax data management, e-filing & reporting, systems governance, tax control frameworks, and more; and
  3. People are vital to these ...
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The Eleven Roses of Tax Digitalization

But where’s the twelfth rose? We love working with people who are passionate about tax, which also means passion for the digitalization journey that is now our destiny as 21st century tax professionals. So, in celebration of that, here are eleven roses, each representing a key aspect of that journey: Rose #1: Digital awareness
Recognition that the digital world is different. Rose #2: Inspired leadership
Senior stakeholders willing to break ...
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Bridging the Digital Divide in Tax

Since the advent of computers in business (about 50 years ago), there’s been an on-going, two-sided story that reads something like this: Business: “Why is technology not easier and work better than it does?”     Technology: “Why does business insist on misunderstanding technology?” Tax was late to engage in this dialogue, but as our recent survey and others reveal, it’s now in the teeth of it. Few still doubt that ...
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2021: The Tax Transformation Manifesto

The digital storm is here. New values lead to a better response. This is now getting serious. It’s more obvious than ever. As the impact of digitalization floods in from all sides, tax keeps coming up short. The current issue of reports that Chaos Reigns in Corporate Tax Departments. It must surely be time to fully acknowledge that what is needed is meaningful change to a far greater extent ...
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Conspicuously Absent from Tax Transformation is … Transformation

Instead, the delusion of transformation is rife! Acknowledgement Simon Butler and his book of the same name Tax Transformation efforts have become almost ubiquitous, at least in name. Yet, when measured against recognized references such CXO Transform, Digital Transformation People, or the teachings of taxology, they frequently have little or no transformation in them. This is a shame because it is now a prerequisite for genuine success in the digital ...
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Open Season on Tax Data

Taking aim at Tax Data Quality in Source Systems! The spring conference season was different this year, and not just because of Covid. An ever-present topic amongst tax professionals was how to deal with digital regulatory environments being introduced by the tax authorities. In response, it seems that every company is coming up with its own approach. There is no one size fits all solution, or is there? Yet perhaps ...
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Tax Needs Digital-Age Toolsets for Digital-Age Problems

Taxtanic meets digitalization iceberg! Acknowledgement @Digital Journal The tide turned during the pandemic. Flood gates are buckling as it becomes clear that the need for action around technology & digitalization is now urgent and imperative. We see it happening across our contacts & network, and the big service providers, specialist industry recruiters, and vendors of software solutions have never been busier. It is an amazing time to be in tax ...
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Shackleton’s Taxologists

Crazy, mad, ridiculous; yet strangly compelling! Who would be a taxologist today? They have no job description, no proper role, indeterminant skills, are misunderstood and much maligned. Most in the industry don’t know who they are, whether they should get one, or what to do with one if they did. They are thought of as “IT for tax”, but that is contrary to the nature of the digital transformation pervading ...
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The Seven Deadly Sins of Tax Technology

How to avoid them and beseech virtues instead! COVID-19 has been a watershed for technology and so it will prove to be for the digitalization of tax. Until now, the standard approach to IT in tax was tolerated despite being not good enough, cheap enough, or quick enough to deliver. That ended when tax was swept over the edge of the digital divide during the pandemic along with many others ...
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Coming Soon: The New Tax Function

How far are you on your digital transformation journey? The scale below may offer some guidance. Starting at the top, which is the last statement that accurately describes your tax function today (be honest)? 5% – the word “transformation” has entered the lexicon but plans are non-existent or lack coherence 7% – a tax or IT professional is put in charge of tax technology without any proper training 10% – the ...
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The Five Laws of Tax Data

Hundreds watched the insightful tax ‘data’ video from the last post and loved it, but thousands felt 13 minutes was too long and bypassed it. I sympathize – I would bypass it too if I’m busy, even for a snippet so central to the future of tax. So, here’s a short, sharp, incisive lead-in: The Five Laws of Data for the Digitally-Enabled Tax Function: Law #1: ‘Data’ is at ...
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Tax Data – Secrets Revealed

‘Data’ is the key to digitally enabling your tax function, and this is well understood. But few know how to make this actually happen. What’s more, it’s easy to get off on the wrong foot. So, how have some companies made tax data a true strategic asset? Watch this 13 min video to reveal their secret ...
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Taxology Stumbles and Evolves

The Evolution of Technology in Tax Studies The nascent body of knowledge required by a taxologist is under fire, despite showing real value spearheading tax into the digital era. “I resent the pseudo-profession that claims to be taxology − it muddies the waters when my focus is meeting customer needs“, exclaims a seasoned consultant. We disagree, but then again, it’s easy to see why he thinks this way. Besides the ...
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Embracing Tax Technology – The Full Perspective II

Your impact on corporate tax systems may be far greater than you think. @Courtesy Michael Sporn Animation, based on original images from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Alex has a special skill. He can read systems. This was not a talent he set out to acquire; one day it just happened. Perhaps it started some time ago when he remembers a financial whizz reading a balance sheet. “Your accountant is stealing from ...
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Tax and Technology – Still WiP?

Married, but uncomfortable bedfellows. The spring round of conferences is drawing to a close and it’s clear our industry is in robust health. Attendances were good, conversations were unfettered and it’s great to see how technology for tax keeps moving forward. However, something else stands out. The gap between the capability offered by tax technology and the degree to which those capabilities are capitalized upon effectively by customers is wide, ...
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Embracing Tax Technology – The Full Perspective

Is Your Approach to Tax Technology Governance Fit For Purpose?  The litany of challenges facing today’s Tax leadership makes for uncomfortable reading. A quick look into the alphabet soup reveals BEPS, CbCR, SAF-T, SII, AEOI, IFRS and even GDPR, never mind US tax reform, VAT in the GCC, GST in India, changes in China, transfer pricing complexities and taxing the digital economy. However, these are just the external highlights. Within ...
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Tax Technologist vs Taxologist? And Why It Matters

The shortage of good technology skills in Tax is acute, yet there’s little meaningful discussion about the nature of those skills. The industry is short-changed as a result. Technology is running amok through Tax in more ways than one. Less obvious is the impact its having on traditional roles, responsibilities and skill sets. How do we know this? Because if there was no issue, we would not see the following:
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A Profession for Taxologists! It’s Time

In 2014, Thomson Reuters began giving “Taxologist” awards to those who succeeded with their Tax Technology products. Now the term has adopted a broader meaning and labels a set of skills that are fast becoming as distinct as they are vital to tax function success. It’s time to treat them as such. The pace of change in the tax world, driven by technological advancement, is bewildering. Such is the impact ...
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What Is A Taxologist? Part II

As the impact of technology in Tax grows, so do concerns around the best way to deal with it. Getting a handle on it starts with better visibility and understanding of technology and its usage, namely, the talents of a Taxologist. They’re critical to the health of tax solutions. In the previous article, we offered a definition of a Taxologist (What is a Taxologist? Part I) to describe, embody and ...
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What Is A Taxologist? Part I

The definition of a Taxologist can vary, so let’s hone in on one that offers the most overall value to multi-national corporations. Their importance is matched only by the lack of clarity around who they are. As agents of change, language and technology work well together. Take smartphones for example. Adding a camera to a phone seems like an innocuous innovation until the words ‘selfie’, ‘selfie stick’, and ‘photobomb’ are ...
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2018: A ‘Technology in Tax’ Inflection Point?

The term “Tax Technology” doesn’t seem quite right anymore. It’s sounds too one-step-removed, like technology is “over there” and it can be dismissed as is someone else’s problem. Maybe calling it “Technology in Tax” is better, because 2018 stands to be the year when the business of “Tax” becomes indistinguishable from the technology that underpins it. This heralds a sea-change in approach. As 2018 arrives, it’s hard to fathom all ...
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The Tax Data Analytics Conundrum

What can Tax managers at MNCs expect from the latest offerings? Tax data analytics is arguably the hottest topic in global tax technology today.  A raft of new offerings have entered the marketplace accompanied by soaring rhetoric and grand promises.  The new products, leaning heavily on the principles of big data, suggest that Tax managers will have a degree of insight, driven by data, that previously was unimaginable.  Are Tax ...
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Why do Taxologists need Data skills?

Data skills can make the difference between a good Tax Technologist and an excellent one! Tax Technologists rightly covet their knowledge of Tax engines, ERPs and Tax Reporting tools as well as their implementation experience. These are the headline skills that recruiters look for and lands them jobs. However, the skills that bring extra levels of success are those associated with data. The converse is also true, namely that a ...
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What’s the distinction between “digitalization” and “tax function transformation”? The market is unclear. By the way, “automation” is different again

And will this finally explain what a Taxologist actually does? There are many aspects to the challenges currently engulfing the Tax function at major corporations.  Yet historically there has been a temptation to respond to these challenges in simple terms – namely, buy expensive technology, implement, create new business process maps and the job is done.  Over time, however, the industry have discovered this can yield inadequate results and that an alternate, and hopefully more effective, approach is needed ...
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So, why can’t we use Excel for Tax Reporting?

Excel has been described as the most important business software application in use today.  It is convenient, inexpensive, easy to use, versatile and for all intents and purposes universally available on each office worker’s laptop.  However, this does not mean that every data manipulation task requires an Excel-shaped solution.  So, for Tax reporting and finance activities where does the suitability of Excel begin and where does it end? Tax Reporting ...
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Brexit – Don’t End Date the UK Yet

Despite the referendum result the UK is still in the EU for now.  All EU VAT rules including those around intra-community supplies of goods and services, and the reporting obligations such as EC Sales List still apply.  There is no need to change anything in your tax solutions at this point. So, when? All things being equal the process to exit will not start until the UK government officially notifies the ...
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Tax Digitization Strategy? Don’t start with Technology

Brief: Technology adoption within the context of Tax function transformation It had been an enjoyable night out with industry associates that we had known for a long time.  We were nearing the end of the evening and everyone was feeling relaxed.  Amongst us were two senior tax managers from a Fortune 500 company that had had a global tax technology strategy in place for more than a decade.  One leaned across to ...
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The Evolving Role of the Taxologist

Tax and Tax Technology welcomes CBO Search as a new and specialist recruiter to the industry.  In addition to providing a service for executives and experts in the popular products, Candice Bordeaux, its founder, differentiates herself by exploring the role of the Taxologist.  A true Taxologist drives evolution within the Tax function and assists in encapsulating the impact of technology thereby improving its effectiveness and reducing IT risk. In an ...
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Tombstone Sheriff saves Tax Technology day

We have a new hero.  For years this person has travelled the world performing Indirect Tax automation projects and installing Tax Technology software.  He takes with him the largest cabin bag that will fit into the overhead locker of the budget airline with the tightest carry on luggage restrictions, and an iPad.  He is educated, clever and a chameleon, forever adapting to the daily rough and tumble of the ...
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Are Zero-Defect Tax Technology Projects Possible?

What a concept!  A Tax Technology project delivered without fault!  Surely this is outside the field of reference for many; but for others, and hopefully you are one of them, it is at least in the realm of the (improbably) possible. What do we mean by zero defect?  As a minimum this is a project that goes live on time, within budget, meets 100% of expectations, and has no ...
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Tax Technology 2016. Making a list, checking it twice …

The Tax Manager jumps up onto Santa’s knee while eyeing a bulging sack in the grotto labelled Tax Technology Toys.  “… And what would YOU like for Christmas”, asks Santa sweetly.  “I know I want something but I’m not really sure what it is or what it looks like; but I do know that when I have it I will be absolutely sure whether it is right or not!”  The year 2015 saw a ...
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How Tolstoy understood Tax Technology projects

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877) Recently we were asked to deliver a workshop to a group of senior VAT function personnel from a diverse set of large corporations. The prearranged title was – 5 secrets of success for automating tax determination Over the next 2.5 hours the discussion was lively, illuminating, informative and worthwhile, but ...
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Tales from the Tax Technology travelogue

It has been another good conference. It’s a warm afternoon on the last day, and the presenter enthusiastically wades through lessons learned during the adoption of Tax Technology for VAT at his company. His was not the first on this topic. Earlier in the day we had a vendor espousing the latest greatest features of their products. The previous day a guest speaker had eulogised on how technology would transform the world of Tax ...
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PawPaw Taxology

PawPaw Taxology is pleased to provide an online forum to discuss the adoption and implementation of Tax Technology.
Your business needs are as unique as a paw print and we’d like to hear about your specific experiences with Tax Technology projects and the Digital Transformation, particularly as they apply to Global Indirect Tax Solutions.
We created this forum for you to share your best practices and lessons learned, to get ...
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