Meet the Expert is our series of blogs where we share more about the team behind our innovative software and managed services.
As a global organisation with indirect tax experts across all regions, our dedicated team are often the first to know about new regulatory changes, ensuring you stay compliant.
We spoke to Wendy Gilby, technical product manager at Sovos, to find out more about her role developing Sovos’ Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) software to help customers meet the demands of a constantly changing regulatory environment.
How did you come to work at Sovos?
Prior to joining Sovos I worked at an investment bank in London, working my way up from trainee programmer to programmer, analyst, business analyst, systems analyst, project manager, global production support manager and eventually vice president.
Due to personal circumstances, I started working part time and was even briefly a rowing coach before heading back to university to complete a Computing and IT degree.
I was looking for another role in IT and originally worked for FiscalReps (now part of Sovos) on a short-term contract in 2016 or 2017. This is the product that we now know as Sovos IPT which needed testing to ensure it was fit for purpose.
After completing the project, I came back on a six month contract, which became a full-time permanent position and I’m still here today!
What is your role and what does it involve?
My role is to work out how to implement any modifications to the Sovos IPT system. We agree with the wider Sovos IPT team what new functionality or changes they want and work closely with the development team to convert the ideas into the solutions that our customers use.
What’s your team responsible for and how do they help customers?
We’re always trying to make the whole process of filing taxes more efficient, and a lot smoother for customers, whichever country they file their taxes in.
We’ve spent a lot of time refining the IPT Portal to make the process of filing and reporting IPT easier but also more compliant. We’re trying to eliminate as many of the manual steps involved in filing taxes as possible to reduce errors.
Sovos is a blend of technology and human expertise so we work closely with the compliance team who ensure reporting is accurate and compliant across all the tax authorities our customers file IPT in.
Our aim is to automate and integrate as much of the filing process as possible from data submission to receiving funds and submitting to the tax authorities to ensure we don’t miss any tax return dates and avoid late fees.
How are you using the latest technology to improve Sovos customers’ experience?
This probably ties into the work we’re doing on the IPT Portal. We’re trying to make everything more transparent so customers can see everything in one place including the status of their tax returns.
We’ve also introduced APIs as well, so customers can send us a file straight from their system, it’s a lot less hassle for them. We’re always focused on making it easier for customers to send us their data and providing as many options as possible to do this.
How have you seen the technology change since you joined Sovos? What has had the biggest impact?
I think the biggest impact has been the IPT Portal. When I started, much of the reporting processes were still paper based which meant a lot of sifting through paper tax return documents for the compliance team ahead of filing.
So having the IPT portal with all the documents that used to be printed out in one place, where clients can view everything online, has been the biggest change and one that our customers and our compliance team value, especially over the past year when companies have had to adapt to working remotely and not having as easy access to resources in the office.
What particularly excites you about future tax technology?
I think it’s the move towards a more connected reporting processes, joining all these disparate elements of tax returns to make the IPT reporting and filing process even easier and far less error-prone. As certain elements still require some manual input there’s still opportunities for mistakes so eliminating this concern altogether and making it a simple process from initial upload to submission to the tax authorities is really exciting.
Automated returns are becoming more prevalent and we’re in the process of working on these for Germany, France and Hungary so when I say future it’s actually already happening which is very exciting.