By: Ryan Lynch, Director, Tax Automation Services
Even the finest technology implementation will require some sort of adjustment as the tax technology tool is tested, used in live scenarios, functionality improves, and/or specifications change. These are frequently the most critical adaptations to the tool as they are discovered and become required as part of real-world usage of the technology. Frequently, they are the linchpin for overall acceptance and integration of technology into tax process. However, not all companies allot for such real-world trials that, ultimately, determine return on investment.
Obtaining user feedback during testing and live usage scenarios, and responding appropriately to that feedback, is critical to successful incorporation of technology solutions. Yet sometimes, the approach for implementing software can be overly configuration and data-focused rather than process oriented, leading to accurate representation of numbers but an underwhelming or overly manual approach for using the tool. End users will communicate when they are dissatisfied with a newly implemented technology. Unfortunately, this often gets misinterpreted as functionality shortcomings of the tool when refining the process around using the technology will frequently remedy the issue.
Here’s an example: a global telecommunications company needed to prioritize its tax department’s workload. At first, the company decided to outsource a large portion of functions and bring in new technology for the rest. Further investigation of the reasons for the tax department’s excessive workload revealed that almost 80 percent of the time in preparing tax returns was spent on preliminary work that involved extracting, formatting and understanding accounting data before any tax technical analysis began. The company started by gaining a better understanding of the nature of the data housed within the company’s accounting system and how to access it. It then coupled this with appropriate data management technology to cut the amount of preliminary work almost in half.
For another implementation case study, visit Case studies page and read how Urban Outfitters made a few changes to existing processes and technology to more fully leverage functionality of its provision software. The company now completes journal entry prep 66% faster with 50% less manpower.