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 journeys that involve unshackling the most powerful concepts available today! 

Many in tax will have heard of them, yet they remain curiously out of reach. 

This 5 part series looks at the truth behind five critical common keywords. 

Part 1: The Essence of Agile

The Agile movement, which began 20 years ago with the goal of building better software, has grown to be applicable in nearly every field. Yet, its core principles, that are central to its value proposition, are easily side-stepped.

One key Agile theme states that, “good digital solutions must be ‘discovered’ through collaboration and iteration, rather than predefined upfront”. This applies because digital technologies change the rules of the game in ways impossible to fully grasp in advance.

Yet, many organizations hesitate to adopt true Agile because it lacks predictability. But by doing so, they suppress the learning, exploring, and innovating so vital for digital success. Instead, they opt for the illusion of control at all costs, even as those costs reach debilitating levels, especially for tax.

Therefore, to break through this impasse, we must bust some taboos and listen to what Agile is really telling us. Here are three vital pillars that few dare speak:

  1. In the digital world, the users do not know their requirements;

  2. Even if they did, IT could not deliver it for them; and

  3. Business and technology are not independent of each other. 

This is a hammer blow to some, almost too much to take, even if in their hearts they felt it was true all along. Nowhere is this more true than in tax, which has now irreversibly gone digital. The tax profession is still figuring out what that means, both for day-to-day and the big picture.

However, the only way forward is to boost their own digital journeys. Each person must discover it for themselves, and the first step is to jettison any notion of already knowing what the destination must look like!

Xyto and its partners make that happen in a way that today’s organizations can get behind.

By adopting Agile methods and working hand-in-hand with our customers, we are collapsing the gap between tax and technology such that each is altered fundamentally (some might call it transformation). The results are extraordinary.

Overall, in the context of people, process & technology, Agile is key to the “process” part. It’s so critical that meaningful digital journeys cannot happen without it.

Therefore, it’s vital that real Agile is core to every tax function’s digital ambitions.

In Part 2, we look at Transformation, and reveal why so many projects are called “transformation”, yet have little or no transformation in them.

Until next time…

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 knowledge and avoiding key person risk
  4. Data as an asset – from ‘plumbing’ to ‘meaning’, and a platform to elevate the role of tax, and
  5. Get tax data right first time at source! – the correct response to tax authority digitalization.

To anyone that follows our blog, these are not new. Yet, despite huge advantages being self-evident, readers fail to see how to realize them for themselves amid challenging circumstances & turgid corporate cultures. That changes in 2023.

It’s a big step forward, and to be able to say that, we owe a lot to the excellent work done in 2022. Here is what was achieved:

  1. Beyond training – our popular Smart TaxTech program now occurs in the context of full end-to-end digitalization journeys
  2. An ROI model – so that we can present to pragmatic stakeholders who then see the value of this in a way that makes sense to them
  3. A working knowledge base – a wiki-style single source of truth for all your learnings and to benefit from the learnings of others
  4. Referenceable examples of how this worked in the real world
  5. rebrand as Xyto to reflect our shift from taxology pioneers to a mature mainstream offering in transitioning lock, stock ‘n’ barrel to digitalized tax.

In fact, our secret is that there is no substitute for engaging with the technology and seeing it through digital eyes. Anything else is guesswork or a short cut so inherently inefficient that we can normally do this at no additional cost to projects.

But, what we do need is ramp up time. We are happy to show you how this works and why it leads to 100-200% more value from your investments in technology. Just ask one of our customers:

“I valued the Xyto approach at several €100k or 5x cost, but that was before, when even as a graduate I understood only 5% of it. Now, seeing it in action for ten months, I am so glad we did it this way.”

If we don’t embrace these new powers, the tax profession is left behind as the industry becomes more digital. This leads to unhappiness in the profession and affords you no option other than relying on more lackluster ‘IT & automation’.

However, with these new tools in hand, and the wherewithal to deploy them, this year we can very confidently say Happy New Year & have a Breakthrough 2023!

Recommended Action 

If you wish to get clued up now, even before our updated social presence is ready, contact us now for a no obligations chat. Waiting until a project is already underway will unfortunately restrict the progress you can make.

Until next time…

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 to life as an in-house tax professional, one that is open-ended & technology-driven. The instant swipe to pre-composed answers has given way to new realities yet to be explored. This means Hobbit-esque journeys of discovery and re-invention as prime actors in a rapidly digitalizing landscape.

Xyto Taxology is unique in how it illuminates that path and re-establishes meaningful direction in this new arena. Our Smart Tax Technology certification program leads the way, and therefore, we are proud to celebrate five more recent graduates. Here’s what they had to say:

“I am so happy and pleased for being a graduate of the Smart Tax Technology certification program by Xyto.

I can now more than ever call myself a half ‘Tax Technologist’ and a half ‘Taxologist’ due to my work at my company and this certification. However, being a taxologist is both wonderfully eye-opening and nerve-wracking at the same time…

Great thanks to my teacher, Geoff Peck, who also have been a very good sparring partner. Also a big thanks to my company for supporting this certification.

I look forward to contribute to the Tax Technology, Tax Transformation and Data driven journey.”

 

“Seeing that Geoff Peck delivered a lecture at Vienna University about tax technology reminds me of the great days I had in Vienna studying international taxation. It is also good timing to announce my graduation from the Smart Tax Technology program.

It really helped me put my thoughts on the subject in order, evaluate business decisions taken in my company, understand the pitfalls in applying software solutions to VAT compliance, why it is important to do it properly and what that ‘properly’ actually means. Thank you Geoff!

And here’s a few more…

“Many thanks to my coach Geoff Peck for sharing your vision, the interesting 1-2-1 discussions and the provided and highly valuable ‘smart’ material. People are still important in the triangle people/processes/technology.”

“Another achievement unlocked: taxology! Thank you Geoff Peck for this valuable course, it was a great pleasure to work with you!”

“Thank you Geoff Peck for an incredibly enlightening and insightful action packed learning journey. Looking forward to applying my newly acquired taxology skills to aim toward true digital transformation!”

Feel the future of tax. Join our graduates and give yourself a plan B…

Learn More

 

 

 

 

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 simple. Before I was a taxologist, I was a tax technologist, installing tax engines and solutions for some of the largest companies in the world. However, I started to realise that technology alone is not enough. The digital realm only works if the people adapt as well. A mindset shift was needed, and that’s almost impossible to gain on the job. After doing this for many years, although it varies and I can’t prove it, I reckon most people only get about 25% of the value they could from technology. Some do better than that but have no succession plan or future-proofing. We call it “double the benefit at half the cost”. If there was a time when 25% was enough, it’s certainly not true now, and it’s hurting the tax profession. That situation was just not good enough for me.

So, what does the program do?

The program is a study of, and upskilling in, today’s digital & enterprise technologies in tax. Through accelerated learning, it helps experts at all levels improve technology adoption, navigate tax transformation, and respond & add value in new & better ways as tax goes digital.

Why should this training be considered now?

Digitalization is causing the tax profession to be recalibrated, particularly in-house. To be effective, tax advice & compliance must be supplemented by deep familiarity and capability within the digital world where tax now lives. It’s a major opportunity for tax professionals who have the right skills, and a significant threat to those who are left behind or who employ guesswork.

Why is this training different?

Good question! – given this program was the original and the best, but no longer the only offering on the market. If you consider yourself a tax lawyer first, we would probably recommend other options, but for the in-house tax professional, there is no better choice. To succeed here, elements of organizational transformation including stakeholder management, Agile methods, and enterprise ‘data’ are a necessity, as is 1:1 coaching to really help explore & bed down these new areas properly. In my mind, technology teachings alone don’t solve the problem.  

What happens when you register?

Within 24 hours, you will receive access to all materials. They’re yours to keep. The training consists of five self-study units and six 1:1 private coaching sessions to discuss & help consolidate the topics. Typically, you can expect 40-60 hours of effort over a 6-8 week period, including certification at the end.

 What benefits and outcomes can be expected?

On certification, you can expect to have a new clarity & vision around digitalized tax, and powerful insights that were previously unlikely to be visible to you. But this is just the start. The move to Xyto is about making this real in the workplace through an innovative journey aided by dozens of other graduates & taxologists. The program is a prerequisite for joining this career-affirming community.

What if the company is resistant?

Most companies want to change but are resistant to its actualities at the same time. One thing is certain, you have to take charge yourself and learn to get results within this situation if you are to progress. There’s no silver bullet, but we are building a toolkit of justification, communication & execution methods for your use. And you’re not alone, as our Cyber Monday deal puts this within the grasp of every pocket.

 What guarantees are there?

No one is left behind. Our commitment to you includes extra hours & coaching at no additional charge until you achieve certification and are happy with your experience. It’s part of our aim to serve you at the highest level. 

Thank you, Geoff. We know our future graduates will find this invaluable. 


ATTENTION!

Last few hours left to lock in your Cyber Monday 80% discount.

If you have what you need and you’re ready to sign up then we strongly urge you to take immediate action. Otherwise, message me on LinkedIn.

While the offer remains open until 17:00 GMT Monday 28th Nov, reserving a start date and booking your six 1:1 sessions with Geoff will be on a first come first serve basis so we recommend you learn more now

See you on the inside,

 Xyto Service Team

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 is suffering major disruption as a result
  3. Solid response strategies are proving highly elusive
  4. The piece-meal, IT & automation approach is reaching its sell-by date.

Like climate change, if we’re going to truly embrace the new reality, we need to make some fundamental adjustments. The problem is that for tax, this type of change means straying into the world of transformation, but herein lies a problem.

According to a paper by the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies, despite a 100-fold increase in interest since 2013, the literature on digital transformation remains diverse, fragmented, and too vague for pragmatic managers to get a firm grasp on.

Instead, the temptation is to install technology & hire IT people rather than transform, even though tax people are being held to account by their companies and the tax authorities, both of which are digitalizing at speed and risk leaving them behind.

Why the Transformation Vision is Important

Up to now, it can be thought of as “plumbing” – that is, tax technology is like new pipes that move data around automatically where it used to be done manually. This is the “machines replacing humans” mindset that dominates business process automation thinking, and is untransformed.

Transformed thinking, on the other hand, looks for the “meaning” in that data – that is, what the ‘data’ tells you. This is certainly where the tax authorities are headed given that shortly, “your tax position will not be what you say it is; it will be what the data says it is”.

The implications of that run deep, including the fact that once tax professionals learn to truly use ‘data meaning’ as a resource, it becomes a platform for empowerment in other ways. Not least, it helps them take their rightful place as full business partners for profit & digital project co-pilots at their companies.

Fortunately, to shift from “plumbing” to “meaning”, there’s good news in two ways:

  1. The leading program to help understand this is on 80% discount until Cyber Monday; and,
  2. Overall, this will provide a far better outcome than is likely for climate change.

So, our recommendation is to ensure that the ticking clock works in your favour, not against you. In addition, we guarantee you’ll see how ultimately it’s far cheaper and more effective than the IT & automation approach.