Part I of V – Steve Sprague, chief commercial officer, Sovos
Government-mandated e-invoicing laws are making their way across nearly every region of the globe, bringing more stringent mandates and expectations on businesses. Inserted into every aspect of your operation, governments are now an omni-present influence in your data stack reviewing every transaction in real time as it traverses your network. Real-time monitoring has also brought about real-time enforcement that can range in severity from significant fines to shutting your business down completely. All of this has created a new reality for IT leaders who need a strategy to deal with these global changes. We asked our chief commercial officer, Steve Sprague to offer his guidance on how this will affect IT departments and how they can best prepare.
Q: With government authorities now in companies’ data and demanding real or near real-time reporting, what impact will this have on IT departments?
SS: CIOs need to make a choice – do they pivot with these changes and adopt a centralized approach to their data, systems, business processes and applications, or do they run a decentralized platform where every country is left to make their own decisions? More than 95% of companies have implemented a decentralized approach as these mandates have grown country by country. However, as Latin America has grown from only three countries instituting these mandates in 2014 to more than 14 countries implementing them now, and with another 30 countries around the globe beginning the process of implementing similar regimes, including economies across Asia and Europe, like France and Germany – a decentralized approach leads to several long-term problems, including:
• Limited visibility outside of the country
• Multiple tools and vendors across different countries
• Disjointed processes with a focus on fulfilling local obligations only
• Solving the “problem at hand” vs. looking at the bigger picture
• Poorly defined roles and responsibilities
• Inconsistent approach to implementing additional countries
Q: To meet government mandates and ensure operations continue uninterrupted, what should IT prioritize? What approach would you recommend?
SS: IT should focus on the end goal: implementing a centralized approach to these government mandated e-invoicing laws to ensure a globally consistent approach to all digital filings. There will be cost reduction as the number of vendors and tools are consolidated, and risk will be further mitigated through increased standardization and visibility. I can’t overstate the importance of implementation synergies as requirements increase and expand. This is only going to get more complex as time goes on. The clarity of roles and responsibilities is the other benefit to IT teams, as this approach will lead to clearly defined areas of focus for the team. Finally, alignment of analytics through one data hub will now be possible, providing a centralized dashboard for your global operations.
A lot has changed in the world of government mandated e-invoicing. Continued investment in technology by government authorities has put regulators in the position to demand greater transparency along with more detailed and real-time reporting. To meet these demands, companies are looking to their IT organizations. The good news is you don’t need to go it alone. Sovos has the expertise to guide you through this global evolution based on our experience working with many of the world’s leading brands.
Need help keeping up with global mandates? Get in touch with Sovos’ team of tax experts.