“You Made Tax Technology Interesting”

“You made tax technology interesting”, a valued colleague told me as I was winding up an engagement with her team. This pleased me enormously because it meant she was starting to see a new way.
Now, if I had been there as a tax technologist, it is unlikely she would have made this comment, but I was there as a taxologist, and that is something quite different (in truth, at times I operated in both capacities).
Just installing software and configuring systems is not very interesting, but bringing them to life as central to the digital-enablement of a tax function, now that is really worth sitting up and taking notice of.
Another way to look at it is that without taxology, tax technology is missing something – it lacks heart and substance, or tangibility. It has no soul, which makes it impossible to have a “connection” with it, or a touch ‘n’ feel for how it works. This leaves your relationship with it as strange, remote, and troublesome.
Only alongside the ideas & skills of taxology can tax technology truly take its place in a redefinition of people, process, & technology, and ‘data’, where the people “get” the technology. Most people instinctively feel this is where they need to be, but few know how to get there.
If you would like to hear our story and you are not already registered, click here. Join us free of charge for a chat at our own virtual coffee table.

Shackleton’s Taxologists

Crazy, mad, ridiculous; yet strangly compelling!

Who would be a taxologist today? They have no job description, no proper role, indeterminant skills, are misunderstood and much maligned. Most in the industry don’t know who they are, whether they should get one, or what to do with one if they did.

They are thought of as “IT for tax”, but that is contrary to the nature of the digital transformation pervading the tax world and vastly understates their worth. This creates a frozen, foreign wasteland in which they must operate, not unlike the Antarctica that Ernest Shackleton faced in 1914.

And yet they are the future, and brave souls are needed to break the ice. Plus it is a rare opportunity for adventure, pioneering, and trail-blazing. The potential rewards include the passion and deep satisfaction of taking on a challenge, conquering it, and standing out from the crowd.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to sail a wooden ship into an unknown Antarctic ice-pack to do this. Forewarned is forearmed, and even the less adventurous (or foolhardy), can take gentler steps and seek understanding first. Those that have, found it highly motivating, forward thinking, and fun.

At some point, in a future that is inevitably digitally-driven, it may also help them avoid surviving their misadventures by escaping across the Southern Ocean in a proverbial row boat. Today, Shackleton and his crew are largely remembered for leadership and team, so make a difference and join us.

The Five Laws of Tax Data

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.