Technology’s date with tax

18 April 2017

Rahul Garg, Partner and Leader, Tax Technology, PwC India


A taxman’s pride in his skill set sometimes becomes a hurdle in adoption of technology for tax.  Tax professionals set themselves apart in their belief that they have deep interpretative skills (and at times even the ability to read what is not written!) to lead their tax function. Tax functions of today, however, require crunching of a variety of data and information to effectively contribute to organisations’ business advantage. The conflict has been perennial, with most tax professionals hating to soil their hands by plodding through reams of data and information.

Of late, it has become apparent that the ‘new gold’ is data and information, if used well. From customers’ preferences by locality, gender, age group and different levels of details to statistical analysis of natural phenomena such as wind or rainfall, businesses are looking for new insights from data to tackle the issues they face.

The joy of finding that pearl in a heap of data and information has permeated various aspects of businesses, but it seems to have bypassed the tax function. I have spoken to many tax professionals, who have been at the centre stage of tax functions in different organisations for decades, to understand why this is the case. My learning is that tax professionals are made of a metal that does not easily blend with technology and have significant reservations about its ability to add meaningful value to their tax functions.

In our report, Tax Technology: the Next Wave in Business Transformation, we have attempted to orient a typical tax professional with technology used for tax.

It aims to create an awareness of the need to adopt technology in tax functions and the benefits garnered in doing so. In this report, we have brought out the relationship between drivers of tax functions and technology, and also provided a non-technical evaluation framework to assess the need to adopt technology. It paints a lucid picture of and provides a macro perspective of how contemporary technology-driven tools can give a competitive business edge to organisations by transforming tax functions.

It is clear that the need of the hour is to generate greater awareness amongst C-Suite of how they can overcome the challenges they face and harness opportunities in their tax functions. The question is — if not now, when?


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