Tax & Accounting Blog

Navigating the Minefield of Centralisation, Standardisation and Automation

Blog, Corporations, ONESOURCE April 28, 2020

We’ve talked at length about why you need to transform your financial practices. We’ve shared some stark reminders of other’s mistakes to help you communicate to your leadership team why you absolutely need to change your current behaviours and processes. So, the big question remaining is how do you centralise, standardise and automate practices across multiple territories to drive greater transparency and control, as well as leverage data analytics more effectively?

Today’s business environment demands accurate statutory reporting right across the globe. As we know keeping up with ever-changing legislation in every country is critical. A crucial part of this transformation journey is having a deep understanding of your existing statutory reporting processes so you know what needs to be improved.  But you also need to understand how technology can make a difference. These points are the foundation of this transformation and you need to keep in mind that the end goal should be to develop a consistent statutory reporting process for all regions in which you operate, not just those currently feeling the pressure from tax authorities.

As enterprises grow even larger, they must prioritise cost containment and seek organisational efficiencies to maximise profitability – the same is true of mid-sized firms as they become, or merge with, the behemoths of tomorrow. Having consistent data and automating repetitive tasks is the key to driving efficiency gains no matter where your business is on its growth vector.

You’re going to face many challenges on this journey, starting with handling source data from disparate ERP systems through to standardising non-financial data that varies from country to country.  This information may of course be hidden in those Microsoft Excel spreadsheets we’ve previously discussed. And all the while you’ll need to present that data in ways that will meet local regulatory requirements, across multiple language barriers.


The shared service centre solution

When you are ready to choose a statutory reporting technology solution, look for one that offers a centralised platform to reduce the time spent on data collection, data manipulation, and multiple report iterations. Managing statutory reporting across multiple jurisdictions is complex and you may find that a shared service centre will help to further improve efficiencies while consolidating core practices that will help to create a consistent process across the whole business.

Additionally, country-specific regulations and local language requirements should be built into your chosen solution, so your accounting professionals can ensure compliance in any country around the world. And, with integrated legislative updates, your team can redirect the time they’d normally spend on research and formatting to more value-added activities, like strategic planning, data analysis, and understanding their part in executing on your company’s vision.

Shared service centres and outsourcing are popular ways to centralise statutory reporting functions, both of which have benefits. Your business could be an ideal candidate for a shared service centre if it meets the following criteria:

1) already has an up-to-date infrastructure;

2) wants to closely control the technology as well as the business processes in question, and;

3) relies heavily on the outcome of strong statutory financial reporting processes.

Organisations that meet these conditions tend to value the precise control over technology and processes that shared service centres offer. However, it doesn’t have to be a one-or-the-other journey. Many companies opt to use local teams in countries where there is significant revenue at stake or risk. That way they can ensure that they have exacting control of the technology platform used to manage the statutory reporting process. Some of these companies do so with the intention of eventually migrating into a shared service centre.


Prepare for the future

Businesses now create more data than ever, and we now have the technical capability to store, access, and process that data into conclusions that are more dynamic, specific, and meaningful than ever before. As we’ve previously discussed, tax authorities are increasingly able to obtain this data to see whether businesses are meeting their tax requirements.  Centralisation and standardisation will make it easier for you and your team to manage information from multiple jurisdictions, prepare you and your team for questions from regulators, and eventually leverage data analytics in ways that will help you to identify efficiencies and improve the financial performance of a company.


Download the SSON Report: Statutory Reporting in Shared Services today.