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 solutions in the broader context of people, process & technology.

But here’s the thing – these “solutions” will only materialize once the “people” start playing their part in them, and today’s tax professionals are unsure what this means or how to do that.

Until this changes, the question “How do we get better solutions?” will remain unanswered, simply because a new frame of reference is needed – one that is better aligned digital-wise.

This is where the Smart Tax Technology program comes in. It examines in detail the information fabric that makes our newly digital lives in tax, shifts mindsets, and provides that much-needed context.

Introducing Smart Tax Technology Community Coaching!

Already the market leader, we are announcing the Community Coaching edition of the Smart Tax Technology program.

As requested by you, the wider tax community, this edition is accessible to everyone, and allows us to serve you in the best way we can!

Read on for the Introductory offer … but first, let’s remind ourselves …

How does the Smart Tax Technology program work?

This fast-track program helps today’s tax professionals gain a firm foothold in a new body of knowledge vital for the technological age through relevant & timely upskilling without teaching “IT”.

Its breakthrough curriculum consists of 5 main parts, 2 videos, bonus parts, and coaching sessions. The main sections are:

  • Video #1: The Tax Skills Transformation Roadmap: Innovation Through People – A Digitalization Strategy;
  • Part #1: Smart Tax Codes– the possibilities and pitfalls of enterprise tax data using Tax Codes as a prime example;
    • Video #2: Transform Your Data into a Strategic – Tax Data Modelling for the Digital Era;
  • Part #2: Smart Automation– the heartbeat of tax solutions and how it can support the entire enterprise, not just tax;
    • Part #2.1: Four Ways to Implement a Tax Engine– irrespective of the tax determination solution in use;
  • Part #3: Smart Innovation– realistic steps towards business mastery over tax digitalization with less risk and lower cost;
    • Part 3.1: Activity Flow for Success– innovation by stealth through explore, discover, learn, & single source of truth;
  • Part #4: Smart Projects– how to optimize execution and realize quality within your organization & tech ecosystems; and,
  • Part #5: Smart Accounting– representing the data-driven tax function in financial terms, and measuring transformation.

There are two ways to get involved, the Corporate edition (as before with personal & private 1-2-1 coaching sessions), and …

The new Community Coaching edition

This on-demand version is for individuals passionate about joining the program, but need it to be flexible, time-efficient & low-cost!

It works as following:

  • Uses the exact same self-study material as our well-established & popular flagship Corporate edition
  • Five powerful 50-min Community Coaching sessions and a final 1-2-1 with a leading taxologist
  • Access to all materials for the entire program within 24 hours of registrationyours to keep
  • Community Coaching recording links sent to you after each session for reference along with a study plan for the next part
  • Unrestricted follow-on opportunities to support your tax technology, digitalization & transformation journey.

You’re in control! …

… you study at your own pace and you choose which coaching sessions to attend – there is one available every week for each part of the program.

Also, you choose when to start, but we recommend that once you do start, you finish within 3 months. You can normally expect 40 – 60 hours of effort over a 6 – 8 week period.

The benefits you will gain are:

  • Upskilling in a body of knowledge critical for the 21st century tax professional
  • A new vision of digitalization and greater visibility into initiatives and projects
  • A solid basis for gaining control over the representation of tax in digital systems, including tax ‘data’ that can be trusted
  • A route to future-proofing yourself, your colleagues, and your company in this fast-moving digital world of tax.

Details and Cost

In practical terms it’s easy to get started, but to get max value @ lowest cost, click on the link below and sign up now!

This is a 15% discount over the regular price of $647 (all prices in USD)!

For this deal, register before 31 May …

… or if you’re busy, buy now and start later! – whenever you’re ready.

You will get that value back many times over. It will help ensure your career continues to thrive in the technology-driven tax industry that is now our destiny!

Email for questions, should you have any … because after all, digital upskilling in today’s environment is a no-brainer!

So, act now! … I look forward to seeing you on the inside 😊 !


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 with the past.

Rose #3: A transformation vision
Setting the direction of travel.

Rose #4: A digital tax strategy
The details of next steps on that journey.

Rose #5: Learning paths of substance
Meaningful upskilling and knowledge consolidation.

Rose #6: Continuous innovation
Focus on the quality of the journey and less on the destination.

Rose #7: ‘Good’ data at source
The motherload for tax functions of the future.

Rose #8: Digital enablement
Beyond awareness to specific digital capabilities.

Rose #9: Future-proofing the tax function
Taking new technology in its stride ad infinitum.

Rose #10: A single source of truth
A tax data platform and metainformation on all aspects.

Rose #11: People, process, & technology
Reshaping each so they work together as an agile unit.

But where’s the twelfth rose? Something is missing. It just doesn’t feel right.

The twelfth rose is you, the taxologist, without which none of the above is possible.

So, complete the picture and join the Smart Tax Technology certification program.

Rose #12: You
A foundational taxologist with the know-how to orchestrate the above.

Prepare yourself now to be in a new and much better place with taxtech by next Valentine’s Day.



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 tax and technology are deeply co-dependent and need each other to both survive and thrive going forward.

However, this does not mean it is working properly yet. The digital divide remains a major concern and a serious threat, because in simple terms, neither side truly “gets” the other. To paraphrase The Geek Gap, a book by Pfleging & Zetlin:

Geeks and suits seem to inhabit parallel universes separated by language,

work habits, culture, perceived reality, and the definition of success.”

This can lead to a lack of trust and other maladies between the two sides, so the key questions are:

Is there an underlying fundamental reason for this?

If so, what is it and what can be done about it?”


Two Worlds, One Universe

According to Fred Brooks, a leading commentator on the impact of software on business, the root of the problem lies in the fact that enterprise technology is neither tangible, nor visible, nor even “visualizable” for business. This is unfortunate, because business management naturally abhors anything it cannot see or control.

However, this only becomes an issue if the technology fails to deliver, whether real or perceived. When that happens, business’ knee-jerk reaction is to try and manage the situation with increasingly cautious risk & cost measures. This in turn, all but starves the technology side of the oxygen it needs to flourish, and a negative feedback loop is established.

In truth, it is near impossible to manage your way out of this situation. Traditional methods clash with the ephemeral, problem solving paradigm needed to, “just make the technology work better“. This is how it was described by an expert tax technologist, who epitomized the manageability problem by his inability to then articulate exactly how he achieves that.

Bridging the Divide

Throwing money at the problem has rarely proved to be a good answer, and matters are complicated further by skills shortages, deep-rooted cultural roadblocks, and the suboptimal imperatives of the commercial market.


However, things are changing fast, and tax is starting to think differently and make new demands around technology and digitalization. Tax professionals are looking to:

  • learn to engage with technology without having to become IT experts;
  • future-proof their digital capability at the same time as constructing it;
  • make tax data right first time at source (in response to tax authority digitalization);
  • limit the opaqueness and inherent risk of wholesale outsourcing; and,
  • turn the digitalization of tax from a threat into an opportunity personally.

In short, as a profession, we are headed for a post-automation, post-IT world where the transformed tax professional is back at the helm of a new, but radically different, digitally-driven tax universe (or metaverse! … but that is a discussion for another day).


The First Steps

But, none of this will happen without a mindset shift knowledge uplift in the tax community. In this regard, everyone needs guidance and help, and PawPaw Taxology is dedicated to providing exactly that.

Our suggestion to you is to watch LinkedIn from today for posts from a raft of new Smart Tax Technology program members who have graduated or are on the point of graduating. Their journey has begun in earnest, and 2022 will bring new and better options to aid their travels.

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 than is typical today.

This is the exact topic covered by taxology and has been for the last six years. Like all good innovation, taxology evolves over time as we continue to uncover better ways of adapting to technology and digitally enabling the tax function. Now that includes simple, practical, yet basic steps to break the impasse, and it starts with a declaration of principles and policy.

The Taxology Manifesto

Through this work we have come to understand the value of:

Collaboration and workshops over presentations and project plans

Vision and user stories over requirements and IT

Data and data literacy over business process automation

Continuous innovation over corporate structure

That is, while there is value in the items on the right,
the items on the left are of far greater value in this space

Taxology also incorporates technical excellence, people, process, & technology, and more besides, but the manifesto specifically addresses the new ways of working that must underpin any such shift. We learned that instigating such change organically is too limited, and results are not forthcoming. Extra impetus is required for recalibration and a rethink.

So, check out Smart Tax Technology and join the ten new persons who have committed to the certification program in the last two weeks alone. Let us be of service to you as we are to them at this critical point in time for tax.

Learn More

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 realm.

So, why is it missing? Well, for two main reasons. Firstly, it is challenging and hard; and secondly, it is the polar opposite of all that’s familiar (hint: the clue is in the name, “transformation”, that is the end state bears little or no resemblance to the start state).

Surely, it cannot be that different“, the people cry, “It’s still just a project, right!?”.

No, not really – it’s more of a journey than a project, and there are some outlandish aspects to deal with. For example, the more than you learn about it, the more you realize you must take into account that under true digital transformation:

  1. Automation is not the main objective;
  2. A meaningful project plan is all but impossible;
  3. It cannot be mandated or controlled;
  4. The tax SMEs no longer know the requirements; and,
  5. A direct ROI cannot be determined.

These are radical reveals to say the least. Some of the points can be argued but they do demonstrate the depth of the discussion around transformation. However, the following are far less disputed:

  1. It starts with a vision, not a plan;
  2. It is driven entirely by people, process, technology, and ‘data’;
  3. Pre-digital cultural imprints must be broken;
  4. Outcomes are uncertain; and,
  5. It requires leaders and leadership, not managers.

So, what does your current tax transformation effort look like? Is it driven by requirements, process maps, MS Project Plan, KPIs, RACIs and slideware? If so, then discovery, digital learning, effective explore workshops, tolerance for failure, and above all, ‘data’, are all being suppressed, and real transformation cannot take place. It is a delusion and your project should be renamed “incremental improvement”.

In a way this is fine, but it offers no response to digital disruption in tax. That requires new thinking, stout souls, and “unfriending” some old faithful ways that are quashing innovation. Otherwise, you are sure to overspend, underachieve, miss expectations, and probably end up with more problems than you started with. You also avoid creating the new future that the digitalization of tax demands.

In truth, you probably need both for a while, but for the sake your initiative, your organization, your colleagues, your career, and the tax industry as a whole, please take a step back and look again at the true nature of digital transformation. It is no longer an option.