News & Publications
Tax Technology and Automation
The challenges of preparing and reporting indirect tax data are increasing. There are constantly changing requirements and regulations, as well as very large data sets which are often from disparate systems and at times unstructured. For many tax professionals, the most common tool that is used to process data is the spreadsheet. With the ever-increasing challenges, a reliance on spreadsheets may not be the best solution. Introducing tax technology tools that automate tasks can help tax professionals save time, minimize manual errors, increase efficiency, and identify trends.
How can technology improve tax processes?
Two areas where technology can enhance tax compliance are in the data transformation and data visualization phases. The area with the largest opportunities to reap the benefits of automation is in the data transformation phase. Automation can reduce the amount of time preparing, cleaning, and blending data. A popular data transformation tool is Alteryx. Alteryx is a software that uses drag-and-drop tools to build repeatable workflows. Although the platform is code friendly, it does not require coding or IT experience. By utilizing repeatable workflows, large amounts of data can be combined from disparate sources, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing opportunities for human error. The workflows also include document features that allow for detailed annotations, making the workflows easy to follow and review.
Some common data visualization tools are PowerBI, Tableau, and DOMO. These tools create charts, dashboards, and visual cards which make it possible to analyze and report tax data. With the increasing volume of data, these tools facilitate reviewer efficiency and make it easier to identify trends and spot possible errors.
How to select the best technology for your tax processes
When trying to identify the best technology tools for your tax department, it is important to keep the following guidelines in mind. Choosing the wrong technology can lead to overspending on a solution that is too high-level for basic tasks or conversely, will not alleviate inefficiencies if the technology is too simple for complex tasks.
- Conduct a job task analysis to identify processes that may benefit from automation.
- Define requirements and evaluation criteria, such as pricing, approximate amount of time saved, ease of use (for example, are you looking for a no-code or low-code tool?), type of application (web, mobile, desktop), and integration capabilities with your existing tax engine or software.
- Research potential vendors that can meet the requirements.
- Conduct a demo with the selected vendors.
- Compare the vendors based on your requirements and evaluation criteria. One important question to ask is, “Will the amount of time and/or money saved mitigate the cost of the software?”
Tips for the Taxpayer
If you are beginning to incorporate new tax technologies, it is okay to start small. Keep it simple in the beginning. Look for quick wins or start with a part of a process. Additional layers of complexity can be added over time.
Dedicate one person, or a small group of people, in the tax department as the go-to resource for the new tax technology. Individuals selected as a go-to resource should be interested in technology such that they will help promote the use of the new technology in the department.
How Can We Help?
Allyn’s tax team is staffed with seasoned professionals that are well versed in the current tax technology solutions. We use modern analytics to ensure that your company is in the best position possible to increase efficiencies while mitigating liabilities and maintaining compliance.
At Allyn, we firmly believe that our clients' prosperity constitutes our own. We are proud to provide high-quality, cost-effective services to our customers, ensuring maximized savings and minimized costs, with expert-driven guidance along the way.
Contact us and we can provide a customized solution to meet your company’s needs. For further information on Allyn Tax services, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For More Information
If you are interested in learning more about this topic or other tax topics, please visit our Tax Publications under News and Events at www.allynintl.com.
Contributor: Shannon McCormick-Grubbs
About Allyn International
Allyn International is dedicated to providing high quality, customer centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management and global trade compliance. Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North America, Europe and Asia and Allyn regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers FL USA, Shanghai P.R. CHINA and Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC. For more information, go to www.allynintl.com.