We all know technology, digitalisation, and transformation form one of the biggest conversations for tax professionals today. Becoming digitally aware and tech-savvy is now a critical step in future-proofing the tax function.
Join us as we share some of our most valuable insights at the biggest calendar events for tax professionals in 2022.
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And they are headed for the mainstream. Join them!
It is no secret that digitalization is confounding the tax & tax technology industry in a big way. Everyone is looking for answers, yet at the same time, more and more are finding a meaningful way forward.
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 the heart of digital-enablement
Strategy: Be clear that enterprise ‘data’ is the absolute cornerstone of digital capability.
Law #2: Digital ‘data’ changes the rules of the game
Strategy: Acknowledge that new ways of thinking and working are inherent to being data-driven.
Law #3: ‘Data’ is a strategic asset in its own right
Strategy: Recognise that ‘data’ has intrinsic value and requires a data first approach.
Law #4: ‘Data’ outranks automation
Strategy: Set automation strategies to first and foremost support the data model.
Law #5: ‘Data’ only exists in a transformed space
Strategy: Learn to navigate the transformation journey and transition to data-centric operations over time.
‘Data’ thrives within the context of people, process & technology where ‘technology’ is platform-based and ‘people’ are digitally-enabled, tech-savvy, and data literate. This is the opposite of business process automation with labour cost-arbitration as its yardstick. ‘Data’ requires upskilling and can only take centre-stage once it is fully “trusted”.
For a vital piece of information on how to make this happen using “real-world” tax data modelling, here is the video again https://vimeo.com/434443089. It is well worth the small time investment. Enjoy.
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 commercial aspect, the vast majority of people that call themselves taxologists are in fact tax technologists − familiar with specific tax technology products rather than digital environments for tax as a whole − or have only painful experience as a teacher. Either way, it’s not enough.
Never-the-less, 2019 is experiencing a sea-change in this area. Several universities on both sides of the pond have added technology modules to their tax curriculum and students are writing post-graduate dissertations in it. In Amsterdam, IBFD are running a tax technology course this summer as are Yetter in Chicago, Illinois.
Conversely, others are holding back. The idea has taken hold that tax authorities will soon be telling taxpayers what they owe and therefore need only wait. This view is blinkered and, quite frankly, untrue. The authorities may take away a few last-link-in-the-chain computations, but their new business-meaning aware technology will squeeze taxpayers to death if their data is not right.
Others hesitate for different reasons. Maybe robotics (RPA) or artificial intelligence (AI) has magical powers, or finance will fix it with their transformation effort, or cloud, or some other technological fairy godmother. There’s certainly enough confused turbulence out there, never mind current workloads, skills shortages, cost constraints and market obscuration.
Unsurprisingly, universities focus their technology in tax efforts on the legal side. For example, one doctoral thesis explores how AI might sift through mountains of legislation and case law for rapid and new-world discernment of insights. Alternatively, they teach IT 101 to budding tax professionals. These are great developments, but do little to help existing tax solution owners at major companies facing today’s pressing challenges.
Taxology, on the other hand, is distinct and aimed squarely at the corporate tax arena where the majority of us battle on a daily basis. It needs to be quick, easy-to-understand, practical and relevant.
PawPaw Taxology is evolving and now focusing all its efforts on exactly this. That seasoned consultant is unaware of how the concepts, knowledge and vision offered both illuminate customers’ true needs in the digital era and accelerate the value of his own products and services in today’s environments.
Look at it this way − even if customers insist on applying industrial-age thinking to information-age problems (which they frequently do and, of course, must be delivered as requested), it’s still critical to have the difference in your back pocket when they finally get tired of the suboptimal status quo, or worse.
The self-study Smart Tax Technology certification program is that difference, so if nothing else, stock up your storm shelter now.