Transforming the tax environment

Developing tax services for the 21st century

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Transforming the tax environment

Tax compliance work and the compilation of returns have historically involved a fair amount of manual work, but RPA has challenged and altered our perception of tax work and transformed the way we work. It is considered to be a driving force behind tax automation.

The term robotics conjures images of the walking, talking metal creatures often seen in futuristic movies or, perhaps less fancifully, on assembly lines or as a doctor using an electronic arm to perform precision surgery.

Robotic process automation is software.

The answer: Yes. In the future, the tax professional will collaborate with, and leverage, RPA to replace the mundane parts of their jobs.

Robots (“Bots”) are not assuming entire processes nor, are they replacing the human touch; their strength lies in automating repetitive, manual tasks currently performed by people interacting with computers. They operate similar to how a human would — logging in and interacting with applications, opening emails and downloading attachments, storing files in well-defined locations, and taking on components that are low value-add.

They fit into existing processes and become “part of the team,” not the team, frequently resulting in more satisfied human employees and higher performing work groups. Project outcomes are typically better since humans are freed up to focus on strategy, making decisions and analyzing data that is produced faster and with fewer errors.

And while it is true that some jobs will eventually no longer need humans to complete them, RPA dictates that, to grow and contribute in the marketplace of the future, tax employees will need to acquire a new set of skills such as analyzing and diagnosing process improvement opportunities and basic automation skills, either while in school or on the job to find relevance and long-term success in a changing environment.