March 23, 2018

New poll finds over half of businesses will increase spending on their tax technology in the next year 

Thomson Reuters survey shows new regulations pose increasing challenges

LONDON, 26 March 2018 – A new poll released by Thomson Reuters has revealed that 54% of respondents say that they plan to increase investment in tax technology over the next 12 months.  And, according to new findings from the Thomson Reuters 2018 European Tax Technology Survey, this has never been more necessary.

The survey finds that tax functions are feeling the strain and this critical department is under pressure like never before. More than half of the respondents (53%) said that that they felt tax regulation has increased in the last year, while an almost identical percentage (52%) say more information is now required from them by tax authorities. In addition, the increased level of IT security being mandated through GDPR, and the greater access to transaction level data to satisfy new regulations like BEPs are driving the adoption of sophisticated tax technology.

According to the survey, technology and transformation projects are a priority for over a third of those surveyed. The introduction of new standards like SAF-T and Making Tax Digital are cited as key drivers for this trend, with almost 40% saying that they have already started, or plan to implement digital tax filings. The survey also shows that more organisations are managing tax compliance processes across multiple jurisdictions (46%) to help them respond to global tax regulations, like Country by Country reporting, and to meet the needs for greater efficiency and reduced risk.

“Tax departments are used to working under pressure, but the perfect storm of technology change, increased regulation and resource constraints mean that they have to improve efficiency.” said Laurence Kiddle, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting business in Europe. This is driving them to systematise and automate processes and adopt best in class solutions.”

The results indicate that there is much work to do; more than half of those polled (54%) called their current technology adoption rate “intermediate” (some tax technology present, but Excel spreadsheets still lurking), while only 6% said that their adoption rate “Advanced”.  There appears to be much further to go with specific technology too; for instance, while 34% are using Cloud-based technology, 66% are either not currently using or are not interested in this technology.

 “The introduction of new international regulations like SAF-T, CRS and BEPS Action Plan 13 and the further digitisation by tax authorities is driving the need for technology innovation and adoption,” added Kiddle. “The result is that automation is no longer just an option, it is a pre-requisite for future success.”

The 2018 survey polled 300 tax teams across a wide range of industries, including banking, manufacturing and services; represents a cross section of business; from companies with less than 1,000 employees; to corporations with over 10,000. Thomson Reuters undertook this poll to assess key challenges faced by today’s tax professionals, including the current adoption rates of technology and their plans for the future. The importance of tax technology is clear; nearly 90% responded that it is strategic to their organisation.

To download the full Survey, please click here.

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Stephen Sobey

Director, Public Relations
Thomson Reuters
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