Respondents also indicated they want tax and finance professionals to spend less time on routine compliance and more time advising the business on broader strategies, while also reducing overall costs of the function. This sort of agility will be even more important during the post-pandemic recovery.
Many businesses were already falling short of these objectives before COVID-19. Some 39% of respondents were having trouble attracting and retaining people with the necessary skills to be effective in the modern tax and finance function. And 65% said their biggest barrier to achieving their tax function’s purpose and vision was they lacked a sustainable plan for data and technology.
While some organizations have the ability to both attract and hire the right talent and develop the best tools in-house, most can’t keep up given the rapid pace of legislative and regulatory change and technology advancements. It’s not surprising that 73% said they were more-likely-than-not to co-source tax services in the next two years and rely on vendors who stay current by investing in both people and technology.
The speed with which stimulus measures were passed in response to COVID-19 is an acute reminder of just how quickly the tax legislative landscape can change. And because much of the emergency stimulus legislation is relying on deficit spending and tax expenditures, it’s likely that tax legislation, in particular, will continue to remain fluid as countries reckon with their fiscal balance sheets.
In addition, the pressure to stay current with tax technology is unrelenting – and expensive – at a time when many companies are coming under cost pressure as part of their own financial recoveries from economic shock from the pandemic.