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Digital Automation & Tax Featured

Digital Automation & Tax "calculating equipment in the office using books, calculators and pens"

This year, technology will continue to have a growing role in tax departments as they look to do more with what they already have. Digital automation will quickly become an important tool in companies and workforces as business leaders look to make decisions quicker. 

The first step is to evaluate your business to better understand the processes that are already established and the goals you’re trying to achieve. Business Process Reengineering ­– recreating business processes with the goal of improving product output, quality, or reducing costs – is a helpful tool to accomplish this.

After the initial work is done, it’s time to evaluate where automation will be the most effective. In most cases, this will be in departments that leverage large amounts of data in their processes.

Let’s take tax departments as an example. Tax departments are known for having detailed and complex processes that synthesize a lot of data. Manual processes for tasks like reconciliation are particularly challenging. This is where automation can help spot anomalies that might slip through the cracks.

Across the industry, we’re seeing companies driving towards implementing e-invoicing and e-reporting. E-invoicing creates a system that standardizes the format of the e-invoice and transmits it to the proper tax authorities to receive validation in real-time. It also exchanges the transaction between the buyer and seller and retains a copy. This copy is important so tax teams can comply with periodic electronic reporting requirements.

Branching off this process, the digital journey also includes complying with the different invoicing requirements tax administrations implement on the business-to-consumer side, which is important for businesses looking to expand globally. Each country has specific requirements for invoicing, including language, currency, format, tax calculations, format and signatures. Automating the invoice process makes compliance with these regulations easier.

These trends show that automation is continuing to increase, which in turn decreases the workload for tax teams. Digitizing these processes can help accountants work through the complexity of requirements across different jurisdictions and countries. This is especially applicable to those working with a large volume of business transactions and helps to ensure their integrity.

While automation continues to make manual processes easier, it will leave your team with more time to focus on other business processes such as supporting audits or driving and creating new initiatives. With workforces facing labor shortages, economic barriers and supply chain issues, organizations need to find ways to buy back time and energy using technology.

Collaboration within your organization will be key to achieving these goals. Make sure there is a partnership between the IT teams and departments looking to implement automation. This will create an understanding of each team’s needs and allow for the common goal to be reached.

Remember, the best digital transformations happen over time. Don’t rush the process or fall victim to the “I need it all” mindset. The most successful leaders understand that automation isn’t a one-size-fits-all, but rather a useful tool that should be tailored to the business goals of the organization or department.

Bio: Chris Zangrilli, VP - Technology Strategy

Chris Zangrilli is Vice President of Technology Strategy at Vertex Inc. In his role he leads the technology strategy and innovation efforts, applying emerging technologies to understand the art of the possible to drive growth. He has held several technology leadership roles responsible for the architecture and development of SaaS solutions.  He brings 30 years of technology and strategic expertise driving value to customers through tax technology solutions. 

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