Latin America Technology Talent Gap Challenges Tax Functions

  • October 28, 2016

The demand for technology professionals throughout Latin America will outpace supply by 2019 — that insight comes from a study commissioned by Cisco for IDC, and it has some troubling implications for the tax functions of companies doing business in the region.

The study, “The Skills Network in Latin America,” indicates that by the end of this decade, Latin America will lack an estimated 449,000 information technology (IT) and telecommunications workers to field open positions. This technology talent gap is especially pronounced in Brazil, which is already struggling with a shortfall in qualified technologists. Last year, based on vacant full-time job openings, Brazil experienced a deficit of 195,000 trained IT and telecommunications professionals.

These figures should command the attention of tax executives because Latin American governments and tax regimes are embracing automation to support key tax processes; some countries are now requiring taxpayers to use specific applications when performing reporting and compliance processes. As more Latin American countries adopt these requirements – along with electronic invoicing, auditing and reporting – tax departments will require more tax technologists in response.

As Lionel Nobre, the Latin America Tax Director for Dell and a founding member of Tax Executives Institute (TEI) Latin America, noted in a Tax Executive article, “[the] future in-house tax professionals in Latin America will not only need accounting but also informatics and systems skills to be truly successful.”

Addressing this need requires commensurate talent-management, such as strengthening recruiting, retention, and training capabilities for tax and IT professionals. Tax automation beyond the compliance systems required by Latin American governments can also help.

According to a recent report by KPMG, “…technology is key, both in terms of equipping tax departments with the right technology solutions, and also in developing technology skillsets within the tax department, be it by hiring technology professionals and teaching them tax, or hiring tax professionals with an interest in technology.”

The more tax processes that companies can automate, the more time and energy they can devote to talent management improvements, as well as keeping pace with tax policy and other challenges that need to be addressed in order to accelerate business expansion in Latin America.

Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information.

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