Tax technology has been helping tax departments streamline tax for decades, yet misunderstandings persist. If you’ve contemplated technology but delayed a look—read on as we put five misconceptions to rest!
1. “Tax technology is expensive”
Like any technological advancement, tax software requires an investment. However, numerous companies offset the cost thanks to substantial savings software helps generate. Automation gives tax staff both time and tools to create insightful analytics. Understanding the big picture helps you optimize your tax position—and that drives ROI for the business.
On the flip side, forgoing technology has a cost. Manual processes, multiple systems, and limited visibility to data often cause headaches down the road.
Taking the outsourcing road can be costly, and because you don’t know everything you’ll need until you start, add-ons often boost the bill. If auditors request data later, your firm will gladly gather it—at the hourly rate. Plus, turning over your tax function limits your access to data needed for reviews, analytics, and responses—a disconnect that eats up time and costs peace of mind.
2. “We lack time and resources right now”
If you’re working at full tilt, and a new project isn’t in the plan, that’s when to consider a software solution. Operating at 110% leads to staff burnout, rushed reviews, and hasty research and planning—leaving you vulnerable to risk.
Solid planning and communication go a long way toward ensuring a smooth implementation and rapid results. Loop in your technology vendor as early as possible to learn your challenges, goals, and expectations—and help you define steps.
When it’s time to implement, you have options! Your software vendor, third-party consultants, or loan-staffing assistance can help you with partial-to-full implementation. The vast majority of tax teams get up and running quickly with little-to-no disruption of daily work.
Remember, you don’t have to streamline your entire tax lifecycle at once; identify where you’ll get your biggest wins and start there. It’s about progress over perfection.
3. “New technology requires training”
When offered a more productive way to do the job, tax professionals we’ve worked with respond favorably—especially when technology adapts to the organization’s needs. User-friendly tools make it easy to gain momentum, and immediate success motivates continuous learning.
An integral part of the overall project, good training helps users fully leverage all features—further increasing your payback. Software vendors provide education and support—from classes to user events and conferences. Their consulting teams guide you through implementation and help you incorporate automation and analytics for maximum impact. In-product help provides resources where and when you need them, and searchable knowledge bases afford deeper dives, 24/7. When you need a human touch, customer support teams keep you moving.
As for learning tax software—thanks to tax experts who play a huge role in development, solutions are intuitive and Excel-like. Most users find the learning curve much flatter than expected.
Equally important, freeing staff from manual work gives them time to think strategically and participate in big-picture decisions—and greater efficiencies support work-life balance. Technology assures your employees they’ll keep up in a technology-driven world. That adds up to job satisfaction—a key ingredient in attracting and retaining talent.
4. “New software won’t improve our existing processes”
Tax departments that say they’re happy with the status quo may still experience pain. For instance, do you:
- Make manual adjustments and deal with overrides?
- Lose time importing, exporting, and manipulating data?
- Lack ready access to data to analyze and visualize for planning?
- Manually update and structure entity data across all filings?
And if you outsource work—can you access and analyze your own data…or quickly meet internal/external demands?
Finally, ask yourself how your current processes position you in a digitally transformed tax industry. With automation offering better ways to work, make decisions, and share knowledge, will your current approach stand up over time?
5. “It will bring change (and we don’t love change)”
As a tax manager we work with says, “Change is where you have to go for progress.” And while that’s true, it’s important to know that tax technology meets you where you are and won’t upend your processes.
Software solutions enhance what you do well and improve what could be better. For example, if you’re comfortable preparing your provision in Excel, great! You can still work with the same workpapers you’ve always reviewed.
But instead of using Excel as a siloed data repository, a tax system organizes and securely stores multiple years of data with complete audit trails. It’s easy to redeploy data for calculations, data dependencies, and planning—and eliminate duplicative work. You save even more time by using provision data in the system for returns and international data for federal and state compliance. True-up becomes a matter of minutes. Now staff is free to redirect newfound time-savings toward other crucial tasks.
And speaking of change, a rapidly changing tax world tops the list of reasons to use tax technology. After absorbing the latest changes to the tax code, we’re bracing for a new administration’s plan. International tax grows more complex by the day. Every year, taxing authorities demand more data delivered in technologically sophisticated ways. Record amounts of data must be stored, accessed, calculated, analyzed, and reported!
Technology is the only way to meet today’s demands and stay ahead of future changes. Software provides a calculation engine vetted by teams of tax law analysts that allows you to see and control your inputs and outputs. Tax teams use their software as a starting point to understand changes—such as whether or not states conform to federal tax law—instead of researching from scratch.
In short, tax technology not only complements Excel processes—but ensures you evolve with a changing tax world.
Consider a Chat!
Before you repeat same as last year, learn what technology will do. There’s no downside to chatting with a tax expert about pain points and answers.
Our industry-leading solutions help tax professionals make a difference for their companies. Give us a call or drop us a line to start a conversation: 800.966.1639 or firstname.lastname@example.org.