The Evolving Tax Technology Platform.

AuthorLevin-Epstein, Michael
PositionTrue Partners Consulting tax technology lead Anli Chen

Tax technology platforms have become vital applications for completing regulatory filings, reviewing and reconciling submissions, managing data effectively, and conducting real-time analysis, says Anli Chen, tax technology lead at True Partners Consulting. We wanted to find out more about how tax technology is evolving, including how it is being deployed during the pandemic, so senior editor Michael Levin-Epstein interviewed Chen virtually in February.

Michael Levin-Epstein: What has it been like to be a leader in this area during the global pandemic?

Anli Chen: In recent years tax technology platforms have evolved far beyond the basic provision and compliance capabilities. They have become the vital process engine to complete regulatory filings, perform reconciliation and review, manage data, deliver real-time analysis, and, most importantly, perform effective governance and control. We are also seeing--and this is really the topic of today--more advanced emerging technologies that are disrupting the tax industry. In the next three to five years these technologies will streamline, automate, and accelerate the entire end-to-end tax process. These technologies are typically agile, non-inclusive, ancillary technology platforms that will open the door for tax department transformation. You mentioned the global pandemic, and I'm sure that has shaped all types of businesses in different ways. Early last year almost all businesses--especially corporate functions--transitioned to virtual environments almost overnight. Technologies like data management and cloud solutions, which may have been on the strategic agenda for C-level and tax executives for a long time, were accelerated because of the global pandemic. It is also more important than ever to have those virtual, geographically dispersed tax resources able to access important tax information, tax technology, and tax processes anywhere, anytime. So, as a result, technology platforms such as Alteryx, Tableau Prep, PowerSuite, or other robotic process automation (RPA) solutions rose to the top of the tax department's agenda.

Levin-Epstein: When making decisions on automating the tax function, what are the key factors that go into that decision?

Chen: Traditionally, we see tax functions centered around tax policies and regulations and people with knowledge and expertise. By applying technologies such as Alteryx--in particular an Alteryx server--and robotic process automation, we are elevating...

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