Tax Technologist vs Taxologist? And Why It Matters

The shortage of good technology skills in Tax is acute, yet there’s little meaningful discussion about the nature of those skills. The industry is short-changed as a result.

Technology is running amok through Tax in more ways than one. Less obvious is the impact its having on traditional roles, responsibilities and skill sets. How do we know this? Because if there was no issue, we would not see the following:

  1. Trepidation and lack of clarity around TaxTech strategies and execution
  2. Difficult, expensive initiatives that yield indeterminate results
  3. Low expectations for TaxTech among the leadership based justifiably on experience.

If this does not apply to you, or you feel the above is acceptable, then please stop reading now. Personally, I believe it’s totally unacceptable, and I’ve made it my mission to do something about it.

Forklift Drivers

Everybody knows that knowledge of specific TaxTech products and/or ERP is needed to make them work, in the same way a forklift needs a forklift driver. I myself am pretty handy with a domestic handyman’s toolkit, but don’t ask me to construct a beautifully finished fitted kitchen. You’ll be disappointed.

Yet, this happens in Tax Technology every day. Tax Technologists operate tax tools and follow project processes, but Taxologists are holistic architects, stay close to the business, and understand ‘why’. Here’s a synopsis of more differences:

Tax Technologist Taxologist
Installs tools Constructs solutions
Automation Transformation
Technology first Tax Data first
Product focus Business focus
Narrow focus Broad focus

At first glance, these may seem circumstantial, but the effect can be enormous. Tax managers frequently pay premium rates for what are effectively artisans, hoping for sophisticated, end-to-end, digitalized tax solutions. Granted, artisans are needed, but they’ll under-achieve without proper guidance from a Taxologist.

And unfortunately, when it’s over, nobody can put their finger on exactly what happened or clearly figure out how to be better next time. At this point, Tax leadership reverts to sanctioning only reactive and incremental efforts when in reality far more is needed to stay abreast of the technology-driven pace of change.

So, What Now?

We need two things; more Taxologists (they are quite rare), and Taxologists’ tools. After all, architects need blueprints (try putting together a decent fitted kitchen without one). Side note: if at this point you’re thinking a blueprint is not really necessary, then imagine that the fitted kitchen you’re trying to build and all its components are invisible, as are the inner workings of most computer-based information solutions.

The PawPawTaxology Tax Technology Insight Series and services are the first designed to solve these problems. Check it out today, then let’s talk!

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