Most tax professionals not ready for new taxation regime: Survey

With the tax function evolving at a rapid  pace over the last few years 78 per cent respondents believed they  are not adequately prepared for the new avatar of tax function, according to a study.

“The tax function is evolving to keep pace with digital advances and helping firms in their compliance journey. Over 78 per cent respondents believe they are not adequately prepared for the new avatar of tax function and consider that there is a need for tax functions to better  leverage people, process and technology to deal with the external environment and add value to business,” the EY Tax Survey 2018 -  reimagining the tax function, said.

The EY Tax Survey 2018 - reimagining the tax function, is based on views from the leading CFOs, tax leaders and senior executives  across 15 sectors and industries in India including public and private  organisations as well as global corporations.

The survey further revealed that for tax to be seen as a strategic function, 44 per cent respondents felt that the ability to add value  to business through insights is the biggest challenge, with timely  involvement of tax in business decision-making and agility.

Over 90 per cent the respondents believed that core competencies of the professionals will move from tax and technical skills to process and technological skills over the next three years, it said. In order to do this it is imperative for the organisations to hire the right mix of talent equally who can manage process and leverage technology to improve consistency, quality and efficiency, it added.

This topic becomes even more relevant from an India perspective owing to the large scale tax reforms powered by technology (more  specifically GST) that have been and continue to be undertaken by  the government, it said.

“This survey highlights the increasing strategic importance of the  tax function in light of the tax reforms we are currently experiencing.  However, the challenges are multi-fold from the ability of tax as  a function to show business value through insights to the evolving  nature of the tax professional, organisations and leaders need to  do a lot more in order for it to be seen as a truly strategic function,” EY India partner and national leader, business tax services, Garima Pande said.

Additionally, she said, with the increasing demand for transparency across board, the tax function needs to not only be agile, but also invest in technologies and tools to keep pace with the fast pace  business environment. While access to high quality talent is vital, the evolving nature of tax function has necessitated organisations to revisit resourcing in terms of technology and overall investments as well, it said. About 89 per cent of the respondents believed that the increasing  importance of ensuring transparency in business has increased the workload on the tax function, it said. In fact 60 per cent of the respondents said their organisations are not investing enough time and money in technology to manage its reputational and tax risk profile, it added.