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The changing role of the tax advisor

The changing role of the tax advisor

In the age of tax transformation, with the growth of RegTech and the explosion of data analytics, the standards for tax practices are evolving. Along with these evolving practices, the role of the tax advisor is transforming as well. Once the criteria for a competent tax advisor was an encyclopedia of tax knowledge and the ability to consider multiple tax scenarios, today’s tax advisors wear many more hats and require a more diverse skillset.

Clients are simply demanding more. A survey by Robert Half of a wide range of companies found that CFOs expect tax advisors to devote more and more of their time to non-traditional functions, such as information technology and strategic planning. A separate independent research report on the tax advisory landscape indicates that 42% of clients would like their accountants to offer business advice.

Tax advisors are well aware of this shift. The Sage Practice of Now Report highlights that the majority of accountants today feel that traditional accounting is no longer enough to remain competitive and that 58% of accounting firms are investing in technology solutions to satisfy client expectations.

For example, BDO, an international network of public accounting, tax, consulting and business advisory firms, has launched a new BDO Digital business that focuses on data governance, cybersecurity, data privacy, data analytics, IT outsourcing, application development, cloud deployment, IT managed services and a variety of other non-traditional services.

At the recent Tax Transformation Summit in London, tax professionals from the world’s leading brands came together to discuss today’s hottest topics in the tax function: transparency, transformation and technology.  Remco Dewaerheijt, VP Tax & Product Strategy for VATBox, led a panel of industry experts in a discussion about the changing role of the tax advisor.

John Shuker, International Tax and Business Adviser at PwC UK, shares that the consulting role has changed from being advisory-based to being focused more on helping companies determine their gaps and implement the right processes and systems to fill those gaps. “There are a lot of solutions on the market, but it’s really important from a business point of view to actually analyse what the problem is that they’re trying to solve. And from our point of view, that’s where we put a lot more time.”

He says it’s sometimes easier to start with a new solution than to modify an existing one. “Some of the tech companies have adopted systems earlier than some of the older multinationals. And that’s probably because it’s easier to start with a clean slate than to try and modify something that’s already built.”

Ksenija Cipek*, Head of Tax Risk Analysis at the Croatian Tax Authority’s Ministry of Finance Tax Authorities, adds, “We are in the digital era, which impacts the tax administration, the authorities, the businesses and the tax advisors. We must all learn and we should move forward.”

As artificial intelligence makes its way into every field – including tax — it doesn’t spell the end for tax advisors. In fact, according to Gartner, AI is expected to create more jobs than it will replace, providing employees —  including tax advisors — with expanded options for positions that require human intelligence. Companies will always need advisors who can analyse and interpret AI data to help their clients make sound business solutions.

To learn more about how VATBox’s innovative platform empowers financial professionals and tax advisors to make strategic decisions based on their transactional data while ensuring unrivalled compliance and savings, click here.

*Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Croatian Tax Authority’s Ministry of Finance

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