The ability and readiness of your tax function to play a more central and upfront role in advising on business strategy and guiding operational implementation will be vital in helping to steer through the disruption that’s also transforming day-to-day roles within tax.
New technology can free up tax professionals to take on a strategically influential role and generate the analytical insights and real-time information to support this. So how can your tax function take advantage of the changes ahead? This latest article investigates the implications of automation and the actions your business can take to keep up.
Disruption and digital transformation
Disruption is always unsettling, but ignoring it is the worst option. Tax could be one of the professions that’s most affected by impact of digital transformation.
Yet, tax functions are accustomed to disruption, not least as legislation is always changing. While automation and Artificial Intellegence (AI) are set to provide a fresh source of upheaval, tax professionals could end up moving to the centre of the strategic stage and being more valued and influential within the business. So how can your tax function take advantage of the changes ahead?
Machine learning and cognitive computing
Routine tax compliance is becoming increasingly digitised and automated. This can not only reduce costs, speed up turnaround and allow for 24-hour operation, but also lead to greater standardisation and fewer errors. What does this mean for today's tax function?
Investment in automation and AI
Tax authorities expect a greater amount of information in more detail, within less time and in some cases, even real-time. This puts intense pressure on tax function systems, processes and accuracy checks.
A tax function that still relies primarily on manual and lowtech capabilities, or one that allows these new requirements to create a cottage industry of their own, will struggle to keep up. Indeed, investment in automation and AI may be the only feasible way to respond with the speed and accuracy required.
Rethinking the role of the tax professional
Tax professionals have always been the custodians of knowledge about an exceptionally complex field. However, the availability of a lot of this information on the internet and within social forums is combining with the emergence of AI, machine learning and new business models such as the sharing economy to change the nature and role of the tax profession. Rather than looking at these new sources of knowledge and decision support as a distraction or a threat, how can you make the most effective use of them?
The emerging tax ecosystem
What’s already clear is that a new tax ecosystem is emerging. What’s expected from tax teams and their relationships with the business and tax authorities are going to be very different from what we know today. Automation and AI are key drivers, catalysts and enablers of change.
To seize this opportunity it’s important to be tuned in to the possibilities of change. You can then begin to reshape the talent, operational capabilities and underlying mission needed to take advantage of these developments. Success will belong to those that embrace the human element (that is not subject to digital disruption) and make effective use of automated solutions and AI.
The emergence of AI and machine learning and new paradigms such as the sharing economy will continue to have a significant and lasting impact on the tax profession. How you address them will be key.