The many different tax types, legislative rules and fiscal limitations present in all tax agencies today makes managing an efficient tax administration a highly complex operation.
Many tax systems today are over a decade old – and most were custom built at a time when “off the shelf” tax solutions simply didn’t exist. And an aging, complex IT estate is one of the primary factors that sees employees – in all industries – lose valuable time in trying to extract the information they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
This is a problem that the commercial sector has been experiencing for quite some time (although for slightly different reasons of course). The biggest difference for the commercial sector is in the large range of “off the shelf” software that is available to them. Conversely, the end result of “too much choice” is the same as “not enough choice” in that there are lots of independent systems that are not reliably integrated. This makes data consolidation challenging, and good decision-making, based on accurate insights, almost impossible.
In light of the current economic climate, commercial companies have been reluctant to invest upfront capital in large scale business system transformation projects – no matter how compelling the return on investment might be. But, like their counterparts in the public sector, these companies want to help their staff get the most of the information contained in these multiple data silos.
To help staff improve their effectiveness, many companies choose to invest in business intelligence tools (BI). SAP HANA (High Performance Analytical Appliance), for instance, is a modern platform for real-time analytics and applications, configurable and scalable standard solution. BI / HANA requires a much smaller upfront investment and it’s generally “system agnostic” – that’s to say, data can be extracted and manipulated from any system – making it easier for staff to use this aggregated data to do their jobs more effectively.
Although BI / HANA tools have been around for some time now, the way in which commercial operations are using these systems is changing. Developments in big data, mobility and cloud, together with improvements in communication infrastructures and data security means that employees can now access BI / HANA anytime, anywhere – making their jobs more efficient, and freeing them from the need to be in the office. In the context of a Tax Agency, for example, it’s now perfectly feasible to equip field-based tax officers and remote compliance inspectors with real-time information – making their jobs easier, and improving overall job effectiveness. Office-based tax officers can now tap into a much deeper range of data more quickly and efficiently than ever before when it comes to fraud detection and prevention. The technology enables them to analyse business operations based on a large volume of e.g. tax returns and variety of other detailed taxpayer data in real time.
Whilst BI / HANA is no silver bullet, it can provide a great short-term tactic to help Tax Agencies who find themselves at the mercy of an aging IT estate to improve their overall effectiveness. BI / HANA helps bring some kind of order to the data chaos that often results in working with millions and millions of records, and they can equip their staff to perform their jobs faster and more effectively than ever before.