Tax professionals are evolving too
Increasingly, traditional accounting, finance and tax functions are transformed by robotic process automation and new systems that offer real-time collaboration, scenario planning and risk simulation. Repetitive, high-volume tasks and low-value processes can now be performed 24/7 by robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) faster, cheaper and more accurately.
This leaves the tax professional with more time to pursue tax value creation, by using digital and automation tools earlier in the tax life cycle, instead of focusing purely on reporting. However, robotics and AI cannot replace tax professionals completely, particularly in the more technical and subjective areas where human experience, insights and judgment are needed.
Importantly, tax professionals should ensure the tax department is “audit-ready” from a digital perspective. This is because going forward, virtually every company will be “digital” in some way. Further, there is intense global debate about the taxation of companies that use digitally enabled business models to “reach into” a country with no physical presence that supports digital revenue streams. It is important that such digital businesses, typically running on razor-thin margins, are confident of assessing, quantifying, planning for and complying with a myriad of new laws that aim to levy tax on the profits generated by fast-growing electronic transactions.These are all contributing to a reshaping of the talent landscape, where hiring multi-disciplinary tax talent has become the de facto standard. The tax profession now competes with other sectors in hiring from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or other STEM-related disciplines. Thus, the recruitment, reward and retention of tax professionals require an entirely different strategy from the past.