Technology - the Future Partner in Your Tax Matters?
Posted by Rebecca English
Are you a Tax Manager or Tax Director seeking to streamline and manage your tax function through the use of technology? With almost daily advancements in technology, it is an exciting time for the Taxation industry. Yet digital disruption needs to be carefully analysed, while it provides many solutions to long-standing issues it also throws many new challenges. As a Tax Recruiter, a crucial part of my role is to observe the current trends in the market and be aware of the factors which will ‘shake up’ the tax industry and its demand for talent. This article looks to bring to light some of the Tax industry's most innovative ideas and predictions and how they'll affect your company, career and the demand for skills and future talent within the industry. PwC has stated that technology is one of its ‘mega-trends’, and emphasises that “successful companies must find ways to bridge the gap between their current capabilities and the future reality.” While Tim Steel from EY confirms that “Digital technology transformation is the single biggest disruptor in the tax profession”. But how is tax technology being implemented by business? One of the best examples of tax technology implementation has to be HMRC. Their Making Tax Digital campaign is part of the governments plan to make it easier for smaller businesses and individuals to stay on top of their tax affairs. HMRC have lofty ambitions to become one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. With tight resource constraints, the need to streamline and improve efficiency has facilitated rapid growth of their technological offering. HMRC has exploited new digital technologies meaning all of the UK’s smaller businesses and individuals will have access to their own digital tax account. For example, with over 9% of UK households owning a voice-based technology device and the expectation that this will increase to 40% by the end of this year HMRC are trialing ways in which they can use devices such as Alexa to engage customers. Whilst this may seem trivial on the face of things, the aim is to reduce the need for customers to contact call centres. Predictions and Breakthroughs PwC predicts that “more companies will use their enterprise-wide financial systems to prepare tax calculations (e.g. income tax accounting and indirect taxes), thereby replacing spreadsheets and/or traditional tax technology solutions.” In addition, “the majority of tax functions will rely on professional data analysis tools to assist in the decision-making process in areas such as risk detection, planning and overall business support.” With more technological breakthroughs emerging, a successful tax professional will need to focus more on the utilisation of data and technology and companies will be required to re-evaluate their current talent needs against these additional capabilities. Training requirements With technology rapidly shifting the remit of tax functions, it is imperative that any tax professional looking to future-proof their future takes the opportunity to embrace technology. Take advantage of training programmes offered by employers to remain current in the market. Whether you attend seminars, courses or have a professional mentor, look to advance your understanding of how tax and technology can work together and how this can positively impact your current/future firm. Recruitment During the recruitment process is it important for companies to question the candidate’s skillset to ensure that they meet the growing demand within tax technology. Do candidates have a solid knowledge of technological trends and how the tax technology landscape is shifting? Candidates should be able to demonstrate their knowledge of tax technological compliance and the implementation of new systems. These skills have become highly sought after by companies as the industry becomes increasingly reliant on tax technology. Cybersecurity issues According to a UK Government study, over four in ten of all UK businesses suffered a breach or attack in the past 12 months. Whilst firms are ushering in the use of artificial intelligence to streamline their process, hackers are also deploying their own versions of AI to achieve their own unethical end goals. Measures such as the Government backed, industry-supported Cyber Essentials scheme offer industry-leading expert advice to companies on how to protect themselves against cyber threats. It’s important that all companies invest in security solutions to protect their tax technology systems. The introduction of GDPR earlier this year means that firms have an important part to play in protecting sensitive customer data. For so long the issues of data privacy and data security have been viewed as separate entities with differing objectives, the introduction of global regulations has forced business to reevaluate how they gather, process and store their data. While tax technology keeps changing the face of tax functions across the industry it is important for professionals, from Tax Partners to Tax Directors to Tax Managers, to ensure they are keeping ahead of the technological curve. As a Tax recruiter, I have witnessed first hand, the effect that tax technology is having on candidates either coming to the market or already in the industry. From my experience as a Tax Recruiter, those who fare best and excel are those that have embraced tax technology early, follow technological trends and have a full working knowledge of new systems and how to implement them. For more information about this article, or to speak to Rebecca about your recruiting needs or Tax jobs in London or Nationwide, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org