Ever since the arrival of the OECD BEPS regime, the structure of Tax teams across emerging and established markets has significantly shifted. The DNA of the Tax team shifted from a majority planning and business optimization skill set to that of Governance and Risk Management therefore developing newly created functions to cater to the altered focus. With reporting standards reaching an all time high in the tax world, there are opportunities for Multinational Enterprise’s to rely on technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to guarantee a uniform level of delivery across global teams. However, this raises a natural concern about job losses in the tax industry. But are we worrying prematurely?
Tax provision accounting on a global scale is difficult, expensive and not yet being achieved to an acceptable standard across all businesses. It will become increasingly challenging as the expectations from company boards and tax administrators increases, particularly in light of the Tax ethics agenda. AI and the broader intelligent automation trend will allow businesses to automate more of their processes which could prove helpful in this regard.
The numerous pressures on the tax team, from demands for greater transparency to more frequent reporting to regulators, are fuelling the want to adapt to new automation processes. The tax teams are essentially being required to do more and be more visible with less resource allocated and therefore automation proves as a useful tool to ensure satisfactory standards of work, particularly from a compliance perspective. Turning a fairly manual process into an automated one will see accuracy improve for tax teams and will, in light of the legal and regulatory changes within today’s tax landscape, present opportunities for tax professionals with a Technology background.
With regime’s such as Making Tax Digital transforming the tax function, going forward we can expect to see automation embraced far more widely. This will lead to redefining work processes, job criteria, partnerships internally and externally from a business and ultimately the relationship Tax Leaders have with regulatory bodies.
While embracing change in an already established industry can be worrying, the arrival of the automation process in tax presents new opportunities for professionals to expand their skillsets. Governments will also need to balance their responsibility to sustain employment and the social fabric with the need to support new technologies that could bolster future economic growth.
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