As the tax software provider to thousands of corporate tax professionals, CSC Corptax® hears first-hand from tax teams navigating an ever-changing world. Regional Sales Manager Jonny Barger works on the front lines with prospective customers, while Account Manager Gwen Riggs supports existing Corptax customers. By championing clients from initial purchase through reporting and beyond, they ensure their ongoing success.
What are the biggest challenges you’re hearing about out there?
Jonny: The number one challenge I hear from potential customers involves reliance on spreadsheets. Tax teams try to use Excel® to support complex compliance calculations, which it wasn’t designed to do. I see so many tax teams struggle with managing calculations—especially in light of the dependencies tax reform introduced—and that doesn’t have to be the case.
Teams are also being asked to perform “what-if” scenarios to estimate the impact of current and proposed legislation, effects from the pandemic, potential changes to the tax rate based on the upcoming election, and more. It’s a lot.
Spreadsheets can offer some value when it comes to analytics and planning around TCJA, as long as they house accurate, current data which can be connected to analytics programs—but that’s easier said than done.
Teams also struggle with less control over their processes and data, especially when they outsource. Outsourcing requires Tax to spend a lot of time getting and managing data required by the consulting firm. The point person working with the firm has to manage the relationship, ask for updates on the process, send additional data as it’s needed, review data that may be missing underlying information, and so forth. Outsourcing puts tax departments in a reactive vs. proactive position, which causes more stress.
Gwen: A third challenge tax teams mention: doing more with fewer resources. As the IRS and Treasury look for ways to get more from their existing resources, pressure builds on tax departments. Unfortunately, bigger workloads rarely result in increased headcount or budget for tax teams. I can hear the angst and worry in their voices with so much to do and not enough time to do it.
What key benefits do tax teams look for in a software solution?
Jonny: First and foremost, companies look for compliance software that’s easy to use. They don’t have the time or bandwidth to take a year or more to learn how a solution works. Tax teams want to do some initial setup, load data in, and start their work as quickly as possible. They want immediate productivity and efficiency improvements, so they show a return on investment right away.
Familiarity is another consideration. Both a solution that works for their specific needs and an intuitive interface play a role in the decision. They tell me that the ease of using Corptax, its automation, and a common system for provision and compliance are leading reasons that Corptax users bring us in initially and when they move to other companies.
Gwen: Functionality is another key driver. Clients look for specifics like drilling down on data in a return, quickly reviewing pro-forma returns under the consolidation, and seeing and understanding the math behind the results.
We can’t talk about functionality without mentioning the rigors of TCJA. Companies see TCJA-related changes breaking spreadsheets that worked before. They need a common solution that can not only compute complex calculations (e.g. GILTI, FDII, BEAT)], but also give them the data to support scenario modeling. Doing these calculations offline requires time they just don’t have, so their software has to do it. Teams are no longer satisfied with a “calculate offline then import to forms” approach.
Scalability is another must-have as many companies outgrow processes that used to work. Their needs have changed as tax has become so much more complex. Clients find they function more efficiently with Corptax because the software incorporates tax changes as they occur and helps them understand how the changes impact their businesses.
And finally, transparency is key to understanding what changed when and by whom for current-period work—as well as providing audit support for future work. Without transparency, tax teams are forced to spend time piecing results together.
What are some other ways technology helps out tax pros?
Jonny: Teams need to leverage as-filed data for planning and hypotheticals which provides high value to management, the C-suite, and ultimately, company shareholders. With today’s variety of issues, the need for planning scenarios is more important than ever and won’t be slowing down any time soon.
Gwen: By relying on an organized, efficient, automated system instead of focusing on “we need to get these returns out the door”, tax teams use their time for other high-value work. That includes connecting real-time system data to analytics programs to run scenarios and create dashboards for planning and forecasting.
Customers use Excel to import data, but in terms of back-end processes, it’s the data they pull out and analyze that provides significant benefits when it comes to management reporting. If your VP asks for the same info every quarter, it’s easy to build a report and simply refresh it quarterly instead of recreating the wheel. Plus, with the system’s ability to incorporate tax changes as they happen, and because data can be collected and calculated once and then repurposed again and again, clients have so many more options. The sky’s the limit!
About Jonny Barger
Former Regional Sales Manager Jonny Barger worked closely with CSC Corptax® clients to help them drive efficiencies to improve their work-life balance and increase their value to their companies.
About Gwen Riggs
CSC Corptax® Account Manager Gwen Riggs works closely with customers to understand their needs and demonstrate how Corptax solutions solve critical business issues.