Corporate Tax Departments Must Automate Their Work More Efficiently to Achieve the Efficiencies Demanded of Them, Survey Shows

New study shows U.S.-based corporate tax departments are balancing tightened budgets with the need to automate their heavy workflows, alongside training their teams on using new software effectively.

In-house team leaders must reconcile these challenges if they want to take on more substantive advisory roles supporting their own corporate strategies.  

These are among the findings in the “2020 State of Corporate Tax Departments Survey: New Technology Demands New Skills and New Attitudes.”

“The automation of tax technology is an opportunity for agile, forward-thinking in-house tax departments to better manage their operating processes and assume broader consultative responsibilities,” said Brian Peccarelli, President of the Corporates Segment and Chief Operating Officer – Customer Markets for Thomson Reuters. “At a time of major changes in the global economy and U.S. tax codes, corporate tax teams are poised to utilize third-party software to cost-effectively manage the complexities of regulatory change and compliance worldwide.”

The survey found that international tax reform and working more efficiently as a group with limited resources remain as top priorities for the in-house professional.

Demands placed on in-house departments that have recently become a higher priority include reducing international tax liability, providing more business-centric advice, seeking departmental cost reductions, ensuring general data accuracy and integrating existing technology.

The current talent environment for in-house professionals also ensured that many tax departments mentioned plans to adjust teams as a priority, citing a disconnect between legacy staff who are experts in tax and younger employees who tend to be more tech savvy.

The initial survey included over 300 survey responses and 20-plus in-depth interviews conducted from late 2019 until mid-February this year. The survey was updated in early April via a pulse survey of some 55 senior in-house tax executives to gauge how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their priorities.

This is Thomson Reuters Institute’s first-ever annual report examining the landscape in the corporate tax field.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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