If 2013 was the year of Big Data, in 2014 tax departments will focus on consolidating systems and reducing manual processes to increase data accuracy.
As the adage goes, all good things come at a price. With regards to Big Data, that adage holds particularly true for tax executives.
According to a poll conducted at the annual Thomson Reuters SYNERGY Conference, consolidating and gathering tax-related data requires the most effort during the compliance process (with 44% of respondents indicating as such).
An additional 16% spend the majority of their time on data error detection and corrections. With terabytes of data being the norm these days, it is not surprising that finding the right data in a timely manner is no easy feat. As I wrote in November, tax compliance requires quality data that is both accurate and complete. Our survey results reinforce this position.
Additional findings from the survey of 80 executives responsible for sales, use and VAT compliance found:
• More than half (55%) of respondents still store data in multiple ERP systems, which exacerbates data management and quality problems.
• More than half of respondents (58%) are spending more time on manual preparation than they do on tax strategy and planning.
• Only 31% have moved from ERP systems to specialized solutions to ensure compliance with VAT filing requirements and deadlines.
If 2013 was the year of Big Data, based on customer feedback and my time in the field, I predict that in 2014 tax departments will focus on consolidating systems and reducing manual processes to increase data accuracy—a critical milestone for achieving tax compliance with confidence.