If you're in tax and you get wind of any big IT initiatives going on in your company, better jump in there fast. There's a wave of re-implementations of ERP and business performance management (BPM) systems going on, and tax departments don't want to miss out this time the way too many of them did on earlier initiatives.
The big ERP vendors have absorbed and enhanced their BPM acquisitions from a few years back, and they're shepherding clients toward their new capabilities, according to Ravi Gupta, a partner in Deloitte's tax management services group. That means an opportunity for tax to get in early and put its stamp on the redesigns.
Building a tax-sensitized ERP and/or BPM system offers the chance to achieve process integrations deep into the record-to-report cycle, reducing or eliminating a lot of manual busywork and backtracking, especially in the space between the provision and compliance processes. With the right level of legal entity and chart-of-accounts information, for example, a BPM system can function as a kind of tax data repository, feeding the calculation engines, says Gupta.
“This is an integrated process,” he adds. “You don't have a separate system for tax accounting, versus tax planning, versus tax compliance, versus tax audits. The data should flow from one to the other. So you feed your tax accounting system, which feeds tax compliance, and that can flow on to tax data retention requirements for audit purposes. You're trying to get to a uniform data set.”
In other words, you're aiming for the tax-related equivalent of the fabled “one version of the truth” that's been the hallmark of successful BPM implementations for years.
Deloitte offers a useful white paper on the BPM/tax connection here. ###