Cognitive Tax Advice: Automation for Tax Specialists

Sabu Samarnath
Sabu Samarnath
6 min read

Tax advisory is a vital function that informs business strategy and operational implementation. Around the world and at a rapid pace, governments are using innovative technologies for tax and analysis. With new technical roles transforming traditional automation for tax, the landscape is being profoundly affected by digital disruption.

Tax specialists currently face challenges at both ends of the process. Tax authorities are asking for greater volumes of information in more detail, sometimes in real-time. Clients, on the other hand, are often resistant to change. They expect little to no disruption in their data collection process and seek flexible submission options.

Tax advisors are challenged with the job of juggling expectations and making everyone happy and compliant. However, pressure is building as traditional tax function systems struggle to keep up with customer demand and the pace of regulatory change.

While tax authorities consider the digital transition as a necessary step towards greater compliance and accuracy, the cold truth is that not all tax firms or taxpayers are fully equipped for an end-to-end digitised tax and accounting process. 

Filling the skills gap with tax automation

One overlooked aspect of this complex nature of work is the human tax advisors. The tax industry has struggled for some years to attract and retain new talent, and it takes a long time for new staff to be fully effective. This only adds pressure on top of seasoned tax advisors.

It takes a highly skilled specialist to carry out tax judgments on behalf of their clients, and the current assessment process is mostly manual. 

This focused expertise, combined with the long lead time up-skilling new members of staff, is the driving force behind tax firms investing in automation for tax. What the industry now needs is a tool that can combine financial assessment data with the human cognitive reasoning process. This tool must be reliable and accurate, so our customers in the tax space reached out to Rainbird.

How tax firms are leveraging automation for tax

Top international tax firms such as BDO, EY, Deloitte and PwC are leveraging automation to consistently deliver improved services to their clients at a lower cost.

Deloitte has a 70-member AI team that devotes itself to AI-related investments. PwC has introduced monthly ‘AI-sprints’ that are transforming client services and large accounts, and EY is using AI to review lease accounting. What they have in common is that they are improving measurability and the quality of services the companies now provide. 

Rainbird customers enjoy the same benefits. They are creating and managing Rainbird-powered tools that successfully augment back-office workers when making complex tax judgements. One particular project focused on a specific area of foreign tax legislation.

Our team worked with the client’s tax specialists to develop a Rainbird model that replicates how experts navigate tax legislation. The tool can determine whether or not a specific company is within the scope of the law, and identify the impact on its tax liability.

We also developed a roadmap for other solutions based on the concept of a central repository of knowledge. This has the potential to power multiple applications in numerous parts of the business.

Implementing automation into business strategy 

With the time and money saved with automation, businesses can focus on crisis prevention. Simultaniously, they can develop new strategies for growth and expansion. 

Roadmaps for realising tax automation look and feel different depending on the organization. However, there are key factors that all businesses need to consider before embarking on their automation journey. 

Define Specific Automation Goals

The key to a successful automation implementation strategy is first to define your goals, then work backwards to achieve them. Traditional tax automation implementation projects require time and resource planning. However, Rainbird offers their customers a library of blueprints to work from. Our blueprints help firms to get up and running much faster and more cost-effectively. 

In either case, automation should follow a phased approach, and you should have access to automation specialists to guide your progress.

Choose the right tool

Once you lay out the foundations, you will have a better understanding of which tool is best for the job. The market is bursting with RPA and machine learning tools, some for transparency and auditing, and others for application development. 

Tax is in desperate need of both of these strengths. That’s why choosing a versatile tool that can deliver consistent and reliable audit trails with the ability to execute complex tasks is a top priority. Rainbird is currently the only tool on the market capable of delivering both simultaneously.

Ensure a clear definition of roles

The introduction of technology into business processes inevitably leads to changes in some job roles, and the introduction of new ones. Make sure your team has a clear understanding. They will play a critical part within the human-machine ecosystem, so it is best to identify process owners early on.

It is also important to listen to any concerns, or ideas your team may have about introducing automation into the existing workflow. Adapting to process automation is a team effort, and although solutions may be delivered electronically, the result must be human-centric. 

Plan for continuous development 

Automation development is an ongoing process. If you determine strong key performance indicators and redefine them as objectives, this will give you a competitive edge. Tax automation done right can transform your organisation into an innovator of note. 

International tax firm BDO has improved their services by consistently monitoring and adjusting its tech ecosystem which is powered by Rainbird. By making small but significant improvements to their automated risk profiling system, they remain lightyears ahead of their competitors.

Innovate your tax process with Rainbird

Rainbird can make complex, human-like judgments based on a combination of real-world expertise, applicable rules and regulations and client-specific data. What’s more, it can do this at scale across multiple different datasets. 

Our clients now have the ability to form judgements in the face of uncertainty and missing data. They are better protected from regulation with comprehensive audit trails. Audit season is now that much faster and easier because Rainbird can explain the rationale behind each and every judgement. 

This is a feature that sets Rainbird apart from most other AI technologies and a perfect fit for tax advisories on the precipice of digitization.

Our mission is to continuously enable and support our clients to rapidly build their own internal Rainbird projects. Get in touch with us today to find out about the latest tools with the power to augment the work of humans, significantly improve client experience, reduce costs and help you gain a competitive edge.

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