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 on the industry. What’s more, we agree with most of it. For example:

On Implementation

“we recommend … ensuring there’s a tax seat at the table of the SAP S/4HANA implementation project…”

We’ve always said this. In fact, our belief is that without an upskilled tax professional involved, the risk of getting a tax solution not fit for purpose in a digitalized tax world is unacceptably high.

On Tax-Driven Invoicing

“Tax-driven requirements are thereby essential for a running business process to receive cash from the customer and satisfy customer experiences.”

Not just customer experience, but that of vendors & regulatory bodies also. In a world where excellent third-party experience and being “a great company to do business with” is key to value propositions, tax has a valuable role to play.

On Value Creation

“The next trigger is the changing role of the tax function within an organization. The role of the tax function today is a strategic business partner role that is connected to its stakeholders within and outside the organization.”

Elegantly put. Anyone who still thinks in-house tax is only concerned with compliance & loss prevention is living in a disappearing world, and risk their career prospects disappearing with it.

That said, the argument that this can be adequately addressed with software from 1972 is less convincing. Tax may have moved on since then, but in terms of digital technology, it’s positively pre-historic.

 Of course at a high level, SAP is an immense game-changer without which large parts of modern business could not exist. An antiquated & awkward way to manage taxes may be a small price to pay for this overall strategic advantage.

 However, almost every company is looking for ways to beef up their tax functionality. SAP themselves, after a brief foray into the market for newer tax determination solutions, has backed away and is leaving it to certified partners.

 But that is little comfort to beleaguered tax managers. The market for third-party solutions is a wasp’s nest aimed at a moving target as the authorities digitally transform tax. There’s a need to upskill, build a meaningful plan and wrestle back control.

 In this regard, the book does not offer a full or balanced view. That requires the broader insights & skills of a taxologist. However, as a standalone SAP-centric tome (492 pages), the new publication is an excellent & educational resource.

Making Sense of SAP S/4 HANA 

We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to – if you’re struggling to figure out the world of SAP S/4HANA or other tax tech let us know. We work within your time and budget to make lift your capabilities without you having to do it from scratch!

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