We presented a webinar on the theme of tax provision software; what companies are doing, and how OTP can help. We drew a contrast between high-risk, labour-intensive and inflexible ways of working, and our software, that helps to:
– Eliminate unnecessary manual entry
– Review faster than ever
– Analyse data in seconds
Companies represented by the attendees spanned a range of countries, industries and sizes, and we took this as an opportunity to conduct a number of polls. My thoughts on the results are below.
Which of the following would you identify as your biggest reason for looking at tax provisioning technology?
|Getting better visibility into the numbers and process||4%|
|Getting more confidence in the calculations
|I’m not looking at this technology at the moment
|Producing reports and analysis faster||26%|
|Reducing manual data entry
This is interesting, both for what was expected and unexpected.
With a range of data collection options, a built-in calculation engine and configurable reports, OTP is more than capable of addressing the three biggest concerns of respondents.
It’s reassuring that organisations see value in using trusted calculations like those in OTP, and the confidence they can draw on from that. Many organisations use home-grown Excel models. During our webinar, we explored the problems with this in detail, e.g. the cost and the risk of inaccuracy.
There are many review limitations of using Excel too, so it was surprising how few respondents saw visibility of numbers and processes as their top reason. With a lot invested in capabilities in this area, e.g. the “Review and Edit” dashboard in OTP, it would be revealing to see the result of a similar poll in which respondants aren’t limited to once answer.
How would you describe your reason for not using tax provision software at present?
|I already use this or something similar
|I’m comfortable using my spreadsheets
|Lack of budget
|Not had time to look into it||18%|
|We don’t have the resources to implement
Time, resource and budget are common problems that tax departments face when looking to buy tax provision software, so no surprises on those three lines.
It’s a good sign that few people are comfortable using their spreadsheets. In fact, the entire 9% here were from professional service firms.
Almost half the respondents are already using tax provision software. Interestingly, most of these are from Germany. It challenges the generalised assumption that many people have about the immaturity of tax technology in Europe as contrasted to the US.
With our increasing insight from work in mainland Europe, we understand that technology enthusiasm can be quite varied. Germany is a mature market with particular tax compliance and reporting requirements. Local software has met organisations’ needs well for some time. This means expectations are different, and a webinar that focusses on contrasting against spreadsheets (as we did during this webinar), may be a little passé to some audiences.
In addition to the areas we’ve focussed on today, what benefits are you looking for from tax provision software?
|Being able to access my work anywhere, on any device
|Ease of use
|Reducing my reliance on IT and Finance
|Sharing data between different tax processes
We’ve invested a lot in making our software easy to use, as part of our UX program. From look and feel to detailed studies into analysing clicks and where people are looking on screen, the entire OTP solution has been redesigned to meet expectations of our users. This effort is vindicated here that beyond core product functionality, it’s important for organisations.
Being able to use and re-use data between processes is something that is very common in some markets, particularly in the US and Germany – and we’re seeing that as a growing trend here in the UK too.
Beyond that, tax departments too often feel too tightly coupled to IT and Finance for their technology, which sometimes doesn’t move at the pace they need in a fast-changing landscape. It’s great to see how our proposition of tax being able to work independently is valued.
One number I think we’ll see go up over the next few years is in how you access your work. There are a few trends that speak to this – from BYOD policies and flexible working, to a general shift towards cloud solutions. This will be increasingly conspicuous in its absence in other solutions in the market.
There have been some interesting insights here; some that have confirmed our understanding and validated our strategy, others that have given us something to think about. It would be good to see these polls repeated again in the future.