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John P. Bennecke of TPC

TEI Panel Recap: Effective Tax Internal Controls – Design and Maintenance

By: John P. Bennecke |

Recently, I was honored to sit on a panel at TEI’s Midyear Conference with a number of Tax Internal Controls experts to discuss best practices around the design and maintenance of a tax internal controls environment. The Tax Executives Institute (TEI) continues to provide a world-class platform for tax professionals and this years’ mid-year conference was no exception. The timely content focused on tax reform issues impacting all of us – service providers and clients alike – with presentations covering new regulations impacting multi-nationals, hot M&A challenges as well as the ever-changing tax compliance requirements and rules.

True Partners is proud to be a 2018 TEI sponsor and as I mentioned, I was honored to participate in “Effective Tax Internal Controls – Design and Maintenance” alongside my fellow tax professionals. In this post, I want to share some highlights from our session.

Key Takeaways:

  • The total number of tax material weaknesses continue to be a focus area for the PCAOB and external auditors
  • IT related components and information provided by entities (spreadsheets, reports, etc.) will continue to require additional documentation and testing procedures
  • Deficiencies can be an opportunity for your tax department to “right the ship”

We received quite a few questions from session attendees and wanted to share those with you, in case you might have the same question.

Q: What trends are you seeing in the area of internal controls?

A: Because tax remains a top area for audit deficiencies, audit firms will continue to focus on tax processes.  Management controls around completeness and accuracy remain a priority, as well as a focus on technology and supporting the use of third party work and opinions.

Q: How can you leverage tax technology for audit support?

A: Not only do software tools allow for increased efficiency, if implemented and utilized correctly, they can be useful in documenting and evidencing control activity within your process.

Q: What are some best practices when dealing with a deficiency?

A: Develop an implementation plan with a reasonable timeline and expectations. Don’t over-promise and remember that technology is not a quick fix. Make sure you are using technology in conjunction with a clear plan with realistic and documented goals and objectives. Finally, retain tangible evidence of improvements to support your remediation plan.

My colleagues and I enjoyed being a part of the 2018 Midyear Conference and want to thank the Tax Executives Institute team for continually putting on great events. If you would like a copy of the presentation slides or have any questions related to tax internal controls, please shoot me an email at We hope to see you at TEI’s 2018 Annual Conference in San Diego in October!