Tax Maturity Best Practices
The need for tax departments to move from independent compliance hubs to strategic, optimized business partners is becoming essential. Creating a mature tax function however, is easier said than done. In developing a road map you’ll need to evaluate these four key areas: people, process, technology and strategy. Download our Tax Maturity Best Practices.
The following are some best practices to consider.
Are your resources properly aligned within your tax department and overall organization? It’s important to fill open positions and frequently evaluate roles, responsibilities and reporting to ensure your tax department is at peak performance. Have a contingency plan for illness or loss of staff. Make sure your processes are well documented. Offer consistent and ongoing training—on both technical and tax department best practices—to minimize technical risk.
If you use outside tax consultants, are you optimizing those relationships? You should evaluate outsourcing to determine if it’s the best option for your organization. If not, create a risk-based transition plan to take ownership of work performed by outside consultants, reduce costs to the organization, deploy resources accordingly, and enhance departmental knowledge.
Auditors not only want you to get the numbers right, they need to know how you got them. In other words, the journey is just as important as the destination. One way to help ensure existing controls and processes are working efficiently, and are adhered to, is to appoint an internal control champion. Ideally, this person would be a team member at the manager level who takes responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day execution of internal controls. This position becomes especially important as deadlines near and there is more of a risk that something will be forgotten or missed.
While tax technology doesn’t alleviate the need to have the right people and effective processes, it can be a very helpful tool if designed and used properly. The larger and more complex the company, the more important tax technology becomes. It’s possible your organization currently has existing software that could be used for tax needs. Or, if new software is needed but budget is an issue, partner with internal audit and IT to get the leverage you need. Even your external auditors can help you build a case for tax technology if they can verify that it would improve efficiency and cut costs. Internally everyone should be on board before new technology is implemented for the best chance of success.
It’s essential to determine where you’d like your department to be on the spectrum of tax maturity, and to then develop a plan to meet those goals. There should be regular communication between tax, finance, IT and other lines of business to address upcoming issues and collaborate on planning and strategy. Tax should proactively be involved in identifying opportunities to help the business, rather than reacting to decisions that have already been made.
While these best practices can help improve your tax function, the first step is determining how your tax department can best serve your organization. The experienced tax professionals at True Partners Consulting can help you evaluate your tax needs and set goals to achieve them. To learn more about tax maturity or take a tax maturity self-assessment, contact Jennifer Crawford at Jennifer.Crawford@TPCtax.com