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. Faith is lost in the ability of in-house tax to help the business.

The symptoms of this are everywhere. For example, tax is sidelined or consulted late in the game – and when they are finally & reluctantly consulted, they are treated as troublemakers.

This is a tragedy, because the power & reach offered by digital capability around the ‘data’ & information that is tax’s bread ‘n’ butter is immense. In other words, tax should be moving in the opposite direction– that is, elevating itself, now that it no longer has to operate blind.

But this is a two-way street. The digital realm is also a threat if that’s where tax now ‘lives’, and the tax professional is not there to look after it on behalf of its sponsors & paymasters.

The Conventional Approach to Tax Falters

Conventional tax must still be mastered of course, but this now carries the “burden of IT” to make it work.

International tax & trading laws are the fibres out of which the past decades’ tax profession is woven, but over the past 5-10 years the tensions pulling at this fabric have been growing stronger for the in-house tax professional – namely digitalization, systems, projects, new operating models, escalated expectations, and data management & insight, to name just a few disrupting influences.

Something needs to be done, and quickly.

Halting the Tail Spin

Fortunately, the backdrop for halting this decline is equally simple (after spending many years distilling it down to its essentials) – we call it the 3 Steps to Nirvana:

Insight   >   Inspire   >   Impact

Two of the three steps are easy to grasp – Insight is about understanding the digital world differently & better, and Impact is turning that into reality, but what’s Inspire all about?

“It’s Not Me, It’s You”

After Insights and the Smart Tax Technology training program you will already be inspired (as dozens of graduates tell us), but what’s next?

The next step is to inspire those around you with what you’ve seen – your peers, leadership & sponsors – but this involves a skill set usually reserved for businesspeople, that is, influencing, persuading, and even deal-making. After all, digitalized tax is a team sport, so the people in your sphere of influence must be enrolled and our framework offers you the best means available to do so.

It may not surprise you that this typically involves a well-put-together PowerPoint on the “Future of Tax at {insert company name here}“, but would you be more surprised if we told you we’ve been working with a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) expert for months to help with this?

The 3 Steps to Nirvana may be purchased off-the-shelf, but the solution itself is a long way from an off-the-shelf answer to tax’s technology problems (which don’t really exist anyway). Because it starts with people such as yourself, and has many more surprises instore for you. We want you to be inspired!


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