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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 John.Bennecke@TPCtax.com. We hope to see you at TEI’s 2018 Annual Conference in San Diego in October!