Europe, Middle East and Africa Miles Ahead of Australia New Zealand in Technology Strategy
Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, held its annual SYNERGY “Where Tax Meets Technology” conference series in EMEA, Asia Pacific, North America and Latin America during November 2014. With a focus on global tax issues, the annual conference series seeks to educate, ignite debate, and update key clients on concerns facing all multinational companies.
A poll of attending delegates at the EMEA and Asia Pacific conferences found a glaring disparity between the two markets regarding tax technology strategy. In EMEA, 72% of delegates to the London event said they had a tax technology strategy in place in their company, while only 29% of those attending the Asia Pacific event in Sydney said the same of their company.
Interestingly, 95% of ANZ companies believe their team’s efficiency would increase if they had a tax technology strategy in place.
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Paul Brindle, managing director, EMEA and APAC for the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters said: “Strategy is the key word here; if a company lacks a technology strategy, they will suffer long term. In the UK, the market is better prepared to embrace changes in tax legislation and compliance requirements than in the ANZ. This is due in part to the UK’s geographic proximity to major markets, and is likely a result of the mature tax system in place. The contrast indicates a very worrying reality for the ANZ region as they are proving to be slow in fully integrating technology into their work.
“These results show that ANZ companies are clearly seeing the need for a tax technology strategy, particularly as rulings like country-by-country reporting are put on the table. Despite this, they are yet to move forward. This can be put down to a lack of resources, poor communication between the senior finance leaders and IT as well as understanding with the organisation on how technology can improve business,” said Brindle.
The poll also asked delegates, at both the London and Sydney events, where they saw technology most playing a transformational role in their business, with results showing some similarities. 50% and 33% respectively said in reporting, while 20% and 23% respectively said their ERP would be transformed most by technology. These results reflect a global trend of increased financial reporting to tax authorities and an accepted need for additional support to undertake this development.
*Delegates represented mostly multinational companies, with almost three quarters (73%) of delegates across the two regions having a global focus.