5 Tips to Improve the Tax-Procurement Partnership

Businesses have a lot to gain by strengthening the collaboration between their tax and procurement organizations. As I’ve noted, a deeper connection can help tax leaders identify and close potential compliance gaps, while helping procurement leaders ensure that the value of their cutting-edge platforms isn’t diminished by tax-coding errors and manual follow-ups.

So what’s the best way to go about building those closer ties? Here are five suggestions from a new Vertex white paper that examines the increasingly valuable tax-procurement partnership: 

  1. Engage early: Digital transformation is advancing rapidly in both departments, and the sooner the teams get together to discuss the points of contact, the better. Procurement needs to understand what data is needed for tax decisions, and tax needs to know how the purchasing application is used, notes Vertex Consulting Practice Leader Tiffany O’Neill in the white paper. “If the two groups can understand each other’s side of the equation early in the process, they can design business processes and select technologies that support procurement’s objectives while successfully automating tax calculations.”
  2. Connect the tech: Advanced tax automation can be integrated with procurement platforms. By doing so, companies can “greatly improve their end-to-end business processes throughout the finance and accounting function,” Tiffany explains.
  3. Enlist your tech vendors: Leading tax, accounting, and procurement software providers have developed efficient connections between their products. Give your vendors a clear description of the functionality you need and enlist their help.
  4. Consider KPIs: Procurement software vendors routinely monitor key performance indicators to drive down their customers’ purchasing costs. You might want to introduce tax-related KPIs to your procurement teams to help them track, for example, the portion of accurate invoices processed, the frequency of tax code errors, and the number of manual interventions that need to be performed.
  5. Start smart: A good way to focus your early efforts is by considering tax liabilities that have arisen in the past due to tax-processing errors. You might also want to focus on goods and services purchased at the highest volume and/or highest dollar amounts.

You can read more about the benefits of and how to build a strong tax-procurement in the full white paper.

Blog Author

Michael J. Bernard, Chief Tax Officer – Transaction Tax at Vertex Inc. Vertex's Chief Tax Office (CTO) provides insight regarding the impact of tax regulations, policy, enforcement, and emerging technology trends on global tax department operations.

Michael J. Bernard

Vice President of Tax Content and Chief Tax Officer

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Michael Bernard is the Chief Tax Officer of Transaction Tax. In his role, he provides insight and thought leadership around tax department operations, U.S. indirect tax, tax risk management, and tax policy, as well as emerging tax trends. He is an executive-level tax attorney with a diverse portfolio of experience in corporate tax, administration, and finance, including a substantive knowledge of U.S. and international tax laws.

Prior to joining Vertex, Michael was in various tax leadership roles at Microsoft Corporation for 28 years, the most recent being Senior Director – Tax Counsel. Michael led teams in the following functional areas: direct and indirect tax controversy, sales and use, business license, property, tax IT, SOX, and telecommunications. He also co-led a corporate taxpayer advocacy group with the Washington Department of Revenue and was a Director on the Board of the Washington Research Council. Michael has also testified before administrative and lawmakers at both the federal and state level.

Michael earned both a J.D. and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Creighton University. He is a part-time lecturer of Law in the LLM program at the University of Washington School of Law. Michael also served on the board of directors, executive committee, and chaired committees for The Tax Executives Institute (TEI) for nearly 25 years.

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Why add a tax engine for procurement?

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