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2019 Global tax management survey

Tax leaders share priorities, investment strategies, and ways to deliver more value

Deloitte's latest survey on tax management shines a light on the constantly shifting challenges and priorities facing tax leaders within global organizations. With pressure coming from many directions—variable regulatory requirements, rapid changes in technology, data overload, and a looming shortage of talent—how is the tax function pursuing progress and managing pitfalls?

Deep insight on tax management

Since the first survey in 2010, Deloitte has commissioned biennial independent global market research studies with senior tax leaders, culminating in this fifth and most recent iteration. Informed by this research over the last decade, Deloitte’s insight into how the tax function is managed within the largest multinational businesses continues to grow.

The research looks across the main aspects of tax management globally, exploring operating models, resourcing, and the use of technology to uncover what is driving behavior, priorities, and objectives. New this year, the research also includes in-depth, discussion-based interviews with chief financial officers (CFOs) and chief audit officers (CAOs) selected from the largest global organizations.

This year’s survey indicates that while many of the traditional tax management challenges remain, signs of progress are emerging.

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2019 Survey highlights

The findings of this year’s global tax management survey coalesce around six key actions:

Get it done
Over half of the tax leaders surveyed say they have increased their investment in digital and tax technology in the past two years. The tipping point for technology investments has often been Standard Audit File for Tax (SAF-T) and real-time reporting requirements.

The future plan for almost 40% of tax departments is to invest in data wrangling tools, to better understand the IT strategy and related business elements.
Gain control
Tax departments are considering new ways to structure their tax organizations, not only to help get the job done, but also to maintain visibility, transparency, and governance globally.

81% of the Global Tax delivery models operate on a centralized basis. Heads of tax appear keen to move resourcing outside the core tax function, using shared service centers and third-party providers more often.
Reap more from less
Improving process efficiency, data quality, and accuracy rank with a high 83% and 82%, respectively, when it comes to investing in technology.

Increase in technology investments and changes in tax department structures help tax organizations increase return on investment and reduce the overall cost of delivery—key factors in delivering more value. Tax leaders cited freeing up time to focus on achieving value while not increasing costs as drivers of technology investment.
Face the future
Organizations are aware of the market development towards full managed services. 81% of tax departments surveyed mentioned it’s unlikely they will be outsourcing fully managed services. They see a range of barriers to adoption, including a loss of longer-term control and the perceived difficulty of returning to an in-house resourcing model in the future.
Discover value
For tax leaders to deliver real value to the business, they must work with their CFO and other key stakeholders to define value in the context of their organization.

Value could mean delivering process efficiencies and cost savings. It also could mean reducing material risks and leveraging data to find opportunities for the organization. From these discussions, tax teams can develop a custom roadmap for delivering value so that the business realizes the contribution the tax function is making.
Deliver confidence
This survey introduced in-depth interviews with CFOs and CAOs to gauge the level of value they experience from their tax department. For some CFOs, reliably delivering accurate global compliance and reporting is not enough. They are looking for ways to get more value, insight, and efficiency from tax. Tax leaders need to demonstrate to stakeholders that they are being proactive, managing and reducing risks, and providing real business value.

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Delivering value is within reach

From implementing more efficient operating models to reaping the benefits of the latest technologies while strategically engaging across traditional organizational boundaries—tax leaders have many promising opportunities to realize the vision of the future tax organization.

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Green dots connected

Additional insights and resources for tax leaders

Dig deeper into the shifting dynamics of the global tax landscape and the steps tax leaders can take to move their departments, teams, and leadership capabilities forward.

Preparing for the future of tax
Our three-part article series explores the roles that the individual, the organization, and the team will play in capitalizing on the Power of With and preparing for the digital future of tax.
Building the tax function of tomorrow—today
The tax function is no longer all about compliance. Cognitive technologies and new digital models are driving changes in how tax leaders are looking to the future, aiming to add both value and transparency.
Embracing the tax function of the future
Digital transformation and tax reform: Time for a new tax operating model? Understanding the role of technology, talent, and processes in the tax function of the future is key to exploring new tax operating models.
A brave new (digital) world: What the future holds for the tax department
Next-generation technology, talent, and operating models are having far-reaching implications on the tax profession, and this only looks set to continue as the digital age advances. Originally published in International Tax Review.

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