Jun 26, 2017
From the KPMG Institutes
CTOs discuss how they are implementing technology in the tax function.
Joseph Gagliano, Senior Vice President, Global Tax, American Express: Technology is a very significant part of our strategy in the tax department at American Express. Like most tax departments, we've been asked to do more with less over the years. The amount of work that our tax department has had to take on because of things going on in the global tax world has only increased while our number of resources have decreased.
We are using various types of technology to automate, particularly the compliance area. I would venture to guess that within a few years technology will also impact our advisory capabilities as wel, as things like artificial intelligence start to demonstrate their applicability to the tax planning rules.
We do have a tax technology team of about six people, only one of which is a tax person. The balance of them are people who have backgrounds in software engineering. Actually one was a structural engineer, so they have diverse backgrounds, all very computer literate. All the things that go on behind the scenes so that people can do their jobs, in the compliance and tax accounting areas, they have a very big hand in, so it's very important.
Katrina Welch, Vice President and Tax Director, Texas Instruments: We are definitely having more of an emphasis on technology. We created a tax technology team, and one of our tax directors we expanded that role to include tax technology, and then we created a new position and hired externally a tax technology manager. So that's kind of the foundation, and we just are always trying to streamline and automate wherever we can to leave more room for analysis. We try to identify products that will work well for us, balancing decreasing manual inputs with increasing controls. When we can do both of those, that's win-win.
We certainly try to be in front, try to interject ourselves, early on in processes beyond tax and IT. Not always successful in doing that, but we do at least have an opportunity to weigh in once something has been adopted, to say “will this work ok for us?”
Colin Seegmiller, Vice President, Global Tax, Amway: I think it's just a matter of making sure that tax has a seat at the table. When things are being decided or when things are going forward to make sure that tax sitting there and making sure that everything that is being said generally has a tax impact. If tax doesn't have a seat of the table then many times you're stuck with getting what comes out of the system. So I'm a big proponent making sure that tax is aware of what's being done and involved. And if something changes, that we get on the forefront of those things.
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