We organised our first UK VAT event “VAT in a Digital Age” that took place in London on June 9th at the beautiful Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair. The interactive discussion focused on the different internal and external drivers that push for a move towards technology solutions for VAT. The increasing complexity of the VAT environment, and the constant technological development on the tax administration side to overcome staff shortages, will soon force companies to adjust their manual processes to keep up with newly set requirements.
Our guest speaker, Chris Lewis from Ernst & Young (EY), shared his insights on the implications both authorities as well as internal tax department drivers have on the use of technology for VAT. Whilst managing and controlling risk is on the top of the list for multinationals, it can be difficult to measure risk exposure for ROI and ultimately to present the business case for VAT automation unless your organisation has just experienced significant fines or penalties.
The Importance of Shared Services Centres
Yet there are many other factors to consider by way of business drivers for VAT technology such as the aspects of centralisation and standardisation. For instance, shared service centres (SSC) are a classic example that has yielded centralised control and visibility for tax leaders as well as quantifiable improved processes.
One of the biggest drivers nonetheless, comes from tax authorities globally that are also aiming to do more with less resources and are heavily automating their own audit procedures with developments such as E-audits and SAF-T requirements. These constant changes associated with the indirect tax landscape call for flexibility that is close to impossible to achieve with decentralised and manual processes. Data analytics are key to ensure that errors are detected early on and long-term process improvement can be achieved by gradually fixing master data errors or gaps. VAT automation software enables users to establish KPI’s and actively own the process while being able to spend more time on value adding activities such as advisory aspects and VAT strategy.
Casper Winkelman, General Manager VAT at Sovos Compliance Amsterdam delivered a hands-on presentation explaining how Sovos VAT Reporting fits into the VAT process and how organisations benefit from a solution that facilitates regulatory change and organisational growth. Casper highlighted the importance of an in-depth data analysis functionality that allows indirect tax managers to save time while also being certain that their reporting is accurate. Many VAT professionals maintain a long list of improvement activities that they would take on if only they had the ability to devote time to it. However, the Sovos VAT workflow,VAT analytics and reporting software helps to take on those projects.
Join Us at Our Next London VAT Event
We would also like to use this as an opportunity to thank all attendees for making this a great event and our special regards to Chris Lewis, our guest speaker for sharing his expertise on the subject. We are looking forward to seeing all of you again at our next “VAT in a Digital Age” event!