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Tax departments can be either centralised or decentralised and for the most part, are an integral part of the Finance arm of the business. In some multinational companies, the tax function can also operate independently.

Tax functions

Typically, the tax department carries out the following functions:

  • Fulfilling all tax compliance processes – the key focus for every tax department is in essence to fulfil compliance requirements timely and accurately.
  • Managing the operational or transactional taxes – indirect taxes applied to purchases and sales transactions, mainly influenced by the supply chain from a purchasing perspective and route to market from a sales perspective.
  • Accounting for income tax – carried out on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. The direct tax team will examine the immense amount of data required to determine the income tax liability for the organisation.
  • Assisting with key decision-making – tax strategy or planning teams assist in key business decisions such as a new supply chain route, new product launch, and most importantly business restructuring activities.
  • Transfer pricing and profit tracking – a crucial role in the process of trading goods between parties and across borders, tax professionals ensure prices are aligned with local market prices or OECD regulations.

Key Challenges:

Tax professionals face similar challenges across most organisations:

  • Quality of data
  • Consistency of data (Data Standards)
  • Compliance processes
  • Staying informed of regulatory changes
  • Tax tools to support strategic business decisions

Quality of data:

This is one of the biggest challenges faced by tax departments. Lack of quality or accurate data leads to poor tax decisions or loss of opportunities to recover more taxes, as well as impacting the timely completion of compliance processes.

Usually, IT teams do not involve the tax department in ERP data governance and do not consider tax implications when defining the data standards in upstream master data.

Consistency of Data:

The use of varied systems for different processes usually results in inconsistent data across the process chain. Often, compiling and standardising data for use involves considerable manual efforts if the right tax technology is not in place.

Compliance Processes:

MNCs are required to satisfy different geographical compliance requirements in very tight timelines. As governments are moving towards electronic tax filing, without appropriate tax software in place, tax departments are struggling to meet deadlines. Failing to comply with deadlines risks not only heavy financial penalties but also risks the organisation’s global reputation.

Regulatory Changes:

In some countries, legislative changes are more frequent than others. Most governments are moving towards e-governance and e-filings so some recent changes are related to business operations, such as electronic invoicing. To remain up to date with continuous legislative changes, advancements in technology like ERP systems are essential to continue business operations.

Tax Tools:

Tax tools allow for the creation of data models for the simulation of business scenarios based on internal and external market factors that influence key strategic decisions. Without the appropriate data analytics tools, business intelligence reports, and executive dashboards, the collation of data is a manual and time-consuming process for tax departments.

A key function of tax technology is to allow for the efficient performance of value-adding tasks such as planning and strategic decisions in line with the organisation’s objectives.

Helixr’s approach

Providing the Right resources

Professionals in tax departments are experts at what they do but do not necessarily have the technical knowledge to define the right system processes and data governance requirements. Combining tax teams with tax technology experts will deliver the right processes and technical solutions to meet business needs.

Business Process Reengineering:

The critical analysis and redesign of existing processes through the implementation of tax technology allows for the elimination of non-standard, poor quality data. As a result, tax teams can focus on value-adding strategic activities in the knowledge that routine compliance tasks are not inhibited by inadequate data.

Improving the Compliance Process

Exploiting opportunities to automate activities via integrating robotic process automation with existing ERP systems allows for the elimination of repetitive manual tasks and improvements in compliance processes. Predictive analysis of transactional data using artificial intelligence and machine learning can identify potential issues far in advance of the compliance timetable.

Utilising Latest Technologies:

Implementing best practices in ERP systems like SAP S4 HANA, NetSuite ERP and Dynamics is essential to using tax technology efficiently. Automation – of complex tax determination logic and tax compliance processes – can be done using the external tax engines that have native integrations with ERP systems.

Helixr’s strengths

Our professionals are experts in leading projects in the tax technology space and are an ideal partner for your journey. We provide experience in:

  • Implementing best practices to derive value for tax departments
  • Developing and enabling RPA and AI solutions to automate processes
  • Delivering industry-specific solutions in the most popular ERP systems that meet legal and fiscal requirements
  • Integrating external tax engines like One Source and Vertex with ERP systems
  • Providing solutions for the most complex tax systems, such as Brazil and other LATAM regions

Our experts

To speak to one of our experts and find out more about this topic and how Helixr can help your business, please get in touch via our Contact form. 

Phani Sabnivisu

Tax Technology Director

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HELIXR is a business restructuring and ERP services consultancy, based in the UK, with a global reach, expertise and experience that focuses on the Life Sciences sector.

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