As businesses and the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and seek to reestablish some normalcy, tax professionals have a rare opportunity to lead change within their organizations. For some, that means managing restructuring or mergers and acquisitions activity. Just as often, it means that the C-suite is looking for tax leaders to be technology experts.
When guiding how your organization drives value through tax efficiencies, expect the unexpected. Technology is always changing. Those of us in the field are used to the pace of reinvention. The key is to be proactive in discussions with business leadership and control the narrative. Here are some things to watch out for as you approach these conversations.
1. “Speed” has an expanded definition.
In the past, one-size-fits-all technology solutions came to tax professionals right out of the box, which checked off that item on your list of requirements for quick implementation. Sure, you could be up and running right away. The only catch was the new tax technology tools were bootstrapped to your existing systems, which ultimately meant many manual tasks for as long as you had the tool.
Even if your tax compliance work was outsourced, manual tasks added up and slowed your ability to get results. The investment group did not consult the accounting group or the due diligence group. The same platform ended up running in two different instances.
Not so fast after all.
You still want to implement quickly in 2021. But now you also need to take into account the entire life cycle of your product. You need tax technology solutions that are holistic to your environment with end-to-end integration and support, saving you time-consuming steps that add up to thousands of hours over the course of several years.
Speed should also be a given when we talk about data, because …
2. The data you have is only as good as the time it takes to act on it.
Did you feel you were able to scenario-plan on a moment’s notice as situations changed this past year? Here are some questions and challenges you may have heard in 2020:
- An investor needs a quarterly estimate. Oh, and what might these look like under the Biden administration’s proposed tax plan?
- An investor is planning a big investment or divestiture. They want to see a variety of options.
A tax technology platform should allow you or your advisors to clone data multiple times, run multiple scenarios and get charts or graphs to see quickly if you make a change or a decision, here is the result. Where we talk about multibillion-dollar funds with thousands of investors, access to real-time data is incredibly hard to harness.
Your system should be able to give you the answers you need. Once you write your questions down, ask yourself: Will my new platform answer all of these questions? Will I be left to decipher data from spreadsheets? Your pain points are the pain points of your investors. Solve those, and you are driving value for your role and for your team.