Tax managers perform an important role in every organisation. While the tax manager’s responsibilities will vary depending on organisational size and business location, tax managers range of duties often include the conscientious preparation and management of tax documentation, strict adherence to tax laws, and implementation of practical solutions to any tax-related issues that arise.
But in addition to the professional knowledge needed for this important role, the digital age has ushered in the need for a new skill set: competence with technology.
An independent research report on the tax advisory landscape indicates that 90% of tax professionals feel that there is a clear shift toward technological adoption. The reason for this? A report by the American Institute of CPAs found that 92% of CPAs felt they were not future-ready.
According to a recent survey conducted by VATBox, the top technology skills are the top skills needed for Indirect Tax specialist:
The five skillsets that most indirect tax specialists expect to increase in importance are all technology-related. Twice as many professionals anticipate data analytics being most important in the future as find it important today, while agile working and change management experienced gains that were almost as large, albeit from a smaller base.
Remarkably, on an absolute basis, more professionals believe that knowledge of ERP or IT systems will be more important than legal expertise, with data analytics and process management taking third and fourth place.
“VAT managers need to become IT ERP specialists as well, in order to get the most out of the information/figures stored in the ERP system. It is crucial to have a good overlook about what tax authorities are able to do with the data they collect. Also for the general risk management of the companies data analysis is the future.”
Senior indirect tax professional for a global company
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 whether the ideal tax specialist should be IT proficient and trained in tax, or a tax expert trained to handle data.
Jose-Manuel Pedron-Garcia, Global Tax Compliance Process Leader at Michelin, states that his company looks for staff that can fill a dual purpose. Aside from tax-related knowledge, they recruit employees that can “The roles are changing, when we recruit we are searching for people that have both sets of expertise, half I, half compliance we need someone who understands the data, how it is coming to us, what is the data’s origin, and it’s meaning.”
John Shuker, an Indirect Tax Partner at PwC, qualifies Mr Pedron-Garcia’s words, by explaining that the new digital landscape is what’s driving this change. He says, “Businesses have become more complex and the tax rules have become more complex, and digital is a big part of that”. He stresses that over the last 30 years, he has seen an increase in the specialisation as well.
Ksenija Cipek*, Head of Tax Risk Analysis at the Croatian Tax Authority’s Ministry of Finance Tax authorities, says that the same situation exists within the tax authorities. “We need to educate our staff all the time, and all tax administrations are doing that today.”
They all agree that companies need professionals who can straddle both sides of the fence in order to ensure the success of digitalisation initiatives. In 2020, a truly effective tax manager is constantly on the alert for relevant technologies, as well as for exciting innovations that the organisation can embrace in order to automate existing processes and implement new tools, such as more efficient record-keeping and enhanced compliance.
If you’re a company looking to modernise your tax manager’s capabilities in today’s digital times, VATBox can help. To learn more about how VATBox’s innovative platform empowers financial professionals 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