How to think like a tax technology architect
Tax technology architecture
The changing environment has clients thinking about the future. ‘Pick a solution and get going!’ is what we often hear. But what if we use technology as a bridge between taxes and business, which leads clients to a transcendent future state? What if we decide first and foremost to be architects?
Have you been told to increase efficiency in your tax department?
Or have you felt the urge to prepare yourself for the latest upcoming reporting nightmare?
And do you think that if you would only have the right technology at your disposal, everything would magically be solved?
Think again. If only life was that easy.
A follow up on a recent study amongst Tax Directors has shown that two thirds of all major companies lack a formal plan for tax technology, even though only half of those already have a tax technology budget or an individual who is responsible for tax technology!
Aim for the stars
The first thing you need to do is figure out what you’re aiming at. What do you want to achieve in the long run? Do you want to increase efficiency, improve quality and control and/or add value to the organization? And given these wishes, how sophisticated do you want to get? What is feasible anyway?
All these considerations depend on your organization. Is it centralized or decentralized? Is there an overall IT plan in place? What does the current IT environment look like? Have your business processes been formalized?
Aim for the stars and define a tax technology vision for the medium (2/3 years) and long run (5+ years) based on your company’s and your department’s goals and vision.
Alright, so you’ve got your tax technology vision. You’ve decided on where you want to be in a couple of years, but how will you get there?
In any event, it will be necessary to change or update your existing business processes, because the introduction of technology will impact the people involved. So you’ll need to map the current state, define the to-be state, and create a business case if necessary.
Choosing the right software is the next problem. There is a vast tax technology landscape out there, which is complicated to grasp and filled with products that solve a particular niche’s problem, but perhaps it’s not the one you’re looking for in the long run or it is not compatible with the IT department’s policy.
But you’re not there yet.
Vendor selection is probably necessary, and you’ll need an implementation plan. And to make sure all these changes are implemented smoothly you’ll need some sort of change management. In short, there’s a lot to take into consideration.
The Deloitte Approach
So, who can you talk to? Who is capable enough to help you define a vision, create a roadmap and help you implement it? Who is going to bridge the gap between tax, finance, business and IT? Who can you trust to have the experience and help you avoid pitfalls, remind you to take all considerations into account and make sure that your technology implementation is a success story?
This is where it becomes important to think like an architect, or to be precise, a tax technology architect. Abstain from thinking and reasoning within your usual tax box and get out of it! Figure out how to incorporate challenges and objectives that affect all tax processes and plan ahead. The proven Deloitte Approach will allow you or your client to reach the desired end state in an efficient and successful manner. If this article has sparked your interest and you want to know more about tax technology architecture, feel free to contact me.
Do you want to know more on tax technology architecture? Contact Bart Janssen at +31 (0)88 288 0242.