Smart TaxTech Graduation Day – A Q&A With Brand New Taxologists!

Get to know the graduates… you may have more in common than you think!

It’s been busy so far this year at Xyto HQ but there’s always time to welcome new students. We talk to three of our newest Smart Tax Technology Certification graduates, each of which successfully attained the level of foundational taxologist.

Here’s the feedback on their groundbreaking experience…

How did you feel before working with me?

“[I felt] like a fish outside the water especially because my experience as a tax professional was not in line with my tech experience.”

“A feeling that I am no longer in control as everyone has an opinion, but no one really wants to take the lead or develop a true vision for the future.

“In general, I did not exactly get to experience the challenges that some of [Geoff’s] other participants may have faced, it was more of a pro-active learning experience for me.

Why we started working together…

“It was mostly my need to find someone that could understand what I was looking for.”

“What Geoff says makes sense to me. [I’m] (very) happy to have met someone who is willing to think out of the box, speaks my language and can frame next steps.”

“I had learnt about Geoff from some of his posts on LinkedIn, which prompted me to know more. I generally came to the program with an open slate.”

What have been the most valuable outcomes…

“I think the biggest one is that digital transformation does not mean automation. This [Automation] is often repeated out there, it is false and makes people like me think we are stupid or crazy. Well nope, we aren’t.”

“[Geoff was] able to show me the underlying issues that are out there and [how they] can be solved. A fresh view on “the real world of tax”, not just selling all sort of services (without any vision) that do not makes sense to me.”

Understanding of the role played in the ‘people process technology’ concept. It really helps in making complex stuff break down into workable blocks.”

These graduates are well on their way to being 21st century, digitally native tax professionals.

Would you like to talk to one?

Many of our prospective students like to talk to a graduate with a similar background first when considering our training…

Request a chat

To Teach Tax to ‘IT’​ or Teach ‘IT’​ to Tax, That is the Question. Or is it?

Our Response to This Age Old Question – Do Neither!

Twenty years ago, at the first tax & tax technology conference we ever attended, there was a presentation called …

Teach Tax to ‘IT’ or ‘IT’ to Tax – Which is better?

The same question came up in one of the spring conferences a month ago, which put in sharp relief this hamster wheel that industry leaders have been stuck on for a long time.

In the meantime, it occurred to us that it’s the wrong question in the first place. Here’s why:

Reason #1: It doesn’t really work for the learner

Let’s say for example, as a dedicated tax professional, you go away and start learning SQL (the language of data), relational data modelling (how the real-world of tax is represented in data), and XML or JSON (the languages used to communicate electronically with tax authorities). All really important topics, but here’s what will happen:

  1. You will learn just enough to be dangerous
  2. You will only learn what you think is relevant for your job and therefore interests you
  3. Anything beyond that you are likely to find utterly tedious and boring.

By the way, it’s the same for IT persons trying to learn the intricacies of tax law.

Reason #2: You will never truly get there

It takes years of training and experience to become either a good tax person or a good IT person, never mind a great one (and we only work with the best!).

You need to get a feel for it, a sixth sense, so that it becomes part of who you are and how you define yourself. It takes a lifetime of work & dedication to reach this uber-expert level in one arena, let alone two disparate ones.

And assuming that was even possible, how would you maintain that level in both when each changes so quickly? Not easy.

Reason #3: It’s the wrong question to start with

The problem is not a lack of skills. There are great tax people and great IT people – the real problem is getting them to work together. And yet, the way the question is worded, it implies that the only answer is to have both sets of skills in one person.

Even if this made sense in the first place (which it does not) there’s a better way …

… a much better way, and here’s how!

Borrowing heavily from the world of Agile

The Agile manifesto, created in 2001, was aimed at software development but the principles invoked were so powerful that they’ve pervaded almost the entire world of work, including tax. Here’s why:

  1. It assumes knowledge is one thing, but making it actually work in a digital world is another
  2. It believes that only teamwork across a wide range of skills leads to good solutions (no one person can know it all, nor should they)
  3. It accounts for skills from vastly different arenas, and effectively brings them together
  4. It knows that these days we’re all learning all the time anyway (no argument there!)
  5. It leaves no room for assumption, grandstanding, or guesswork, and strongly promotes innovation through people, process, technology & ‘data’.

So perhaps the real question should be:

How do we get two vastly different skillsets & viewpoints to work together
and create a whole far greater than the sum of its parts.

We consider this joined-up thinking for the digital world

join us to learn how you can make this work in your tax world.

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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My Seminar at the University of Vienna

Guest Lecturing to Next Gen Tax Professionals at the Executive Academy

If anyone still doubts the importance of personal development in tax transformation, then doubt no more. The pressure to shift mindsets and start putting ‘people’ above ‘technology’ has now gone mainstream …

Vienna University Of Business & Economics (WU) is about to award 15 or more students an LL.M. (Masters) in Tax & Digitalization.

It was my pleasure to be invited – along with belt system partners Steef Huibregtse & Jasper Verkamman of TPA Global – to present and run workshops as a valued part of the curriculum.

The key themes were the fundamental principles of conventional+ vs transformational approaches to tax digital adoption, people, process & technology, and of course ‘data‘, focusing and reinforcing the cruciality of creating the robust knowledge foundations that lead to successful transformation.

The feedback we received was uplifting:

“Hi Geoff, thanks again for the valuable input. I really enjoyed the lectures.”

“Dear Geoff, I absolutely appreciated your remarks on the topic. It was a different approach you showed us. Thanks! “

“Dear Geoff,  thank you very much for the very interesting 2 days – it changed quite some perspectives that I had on this topic! “

“Hi Geoff, thank you for the interesting lecture. It was a great final module for our study program.”

“Hi Geoff, thank you for your valuable knowledge that you shared with us. It was my privilege and I do admire your work … you achieved to open my eyes.”

Clearly, the powerful teachings had a major impact on the students  – students who’ve taken time out from their busy tax careers to focus on and invest in their personal development. 

I want you to benefit the same way – and now you can! With your invitation to experience the exact same inspiring insights as the masters students by taking the small first step of registering for my upcoming Masterclass…

If you’ve not yet signed up to my one hour Masterclass where I will explain and example your critical pathway to The 3 Steps to Tax Transformation Nirvana then hurry as there are still a limited number of FREE tickets remaining (Usually $179).

This highly thought-provoking & time-efficient masterclass packed with ground-breaking material will run on Tuesday 19th July 2022 @ 11:30 BST / 12.30 CEST



Got A Question About My Seminar? If you have any burning questions about my seminar then please let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Tax Independence Day – Freedom from the Tyranny of Technology

Three sure-fire steps to turning invasive forces to your advantage

In the biggest film of 1996, mankind was not expecting the aliens to arrive. Then one day, they just turned up and started wreaking havoc on the world. This bears some resemblance to what happened to tax when digital disruption arrived.

In the movie, a ragtag group of scientists, survivors, combat pilots and the US president save the day by destroying the alien ships with a computer virus (which, in the great tradition of Hollywood poetic license, somehow gained explosive powers) …

Unfortunately for tax, this is not an option, and there is precious little poetic license or other magical solutions available. Tax needs to achieve its Independence Day a different way, one which does not involve defeating or blowing up the enemy.

Nor does it involve any of these – deflection, delay, denial, lip-service, or group self-deception. Fear & frustration aren’t much good either, and (a little more controversially) neither are these – fixed deliverables, user requirements, traditional “IT”, defined projects, old-world trusted advisors, and processes before data

The problem with these is they either address symptoms only and not root causes, play to the pre-digital gallery, or contain little or no innovation. A better way needed to be found, so that is when our own version of a ragtag bunch set out nearly a decade ago searching for one …

… and like so often in Hollywood, after a perilous & eventful journey, the answer was right there under our noses all along.

There are whole industries devoted to transformation, Agile, wiki-style knowledge management, and ‘data’ & data sciences, but they may as well be aliens from outer space if we don’t know how to harness them, break the existing barriers that hobble them, and let them in.

That’s where the second part of our journey comes in, culminating in the switch from PawPaw to Xyto Taxology …

In our 3 Steps to Nirvana we have a low cost, low risk, low impact way to break the shackles of trial ‘n’ error and unlock visibility, control, ‘data’ & future-proofing in the realm of tax technology, digitalization, and transformation through well-established, tried & trusted avenues (no magic involved) …

… and we plan to reveal all in one jam-packed, breathless, mind-busting masterclass FREE OF CHARGE FOR THE FIRST 50 REGISTRANTS (Normal Price $179) on Tuesday 19th July 2022 @ 11:30 BST/ 12.30 CEST for 1 hour …

Find out more

In a final plot twist, the alien enemy turns out to be your best friend and the greatest ally you will ever have in your career. Independence from the tyranny of technology is not about technology at all, but about people and what they see as tyranny. The technology is just the technology, and you must let it start recreating who you are as a tax professional because its here to stay and not going away any time soon

Take Action This 4th July – Click Below NOW