Tax-Procurement Automation: Key Partners to Engage with to make your Procurement Transformation a Success

Integrating tax technology with procurement platforms calls for close collaboration between multiple strategic stakeholders, both internal and external.  The success of your project may depend on your ability to manage those relationships and their priorities.   

Here are key partners you should focus on and what they’ll need from you: 

  1. Finance/Accounting: These teams will want to see the details, current processes, and expected changes with efficiencies gains.  Things such as calculations of tax overpayments on procurement transactions and tallies of the cost of tax errors will be critical,  as will potential dollar amounts for the work required to correct mistakes, including any compliance penalties. Quantifying time savings and process efficiencies from an automated solution will be key for these stakeholders.
  2. The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance team and external auditors: SOX groups focus on the internal controls around financial reporting in publicly listed companies.  They will require a demonstration of the benefits of tax-procurement automation in preventing errors which may have a material impact on the financial statements.  Furthermore, they will need reassurance that the relevant internal controls are in place and monitored.  Make certain to confirm their data requirements regarding compliance or risk management.  
  3. Internal/External Auditors: These groups are required to provide objective, risk-based assurance; advice; and insights. They’ll want to see how the technology enables robust controls around accurate, secure tax calculations. Internal audit teams can be a valuable source of insights and suggestions on process improvement opportunities. The internal audit function “reports jointly to the CFO and the audit committee of the board,” notes Michael Bernard, Vertex’s Chief Tax Officer for Transaction Tax. “When internal auditors identify a need for tax technology improvements, their interactions with senior leaders strengthen the case for funding those improvements and investments.”  External auditors will bring to the table experience from working with other clients and best practices implemented for a world-class implementation and overall project success.
  4. Information Technology:  This team may be the most critical part of a procurement transformation, whether it be in creating the business case to include tax automation in your procurement transformation or implementation support.  This team plays a significant role in helping to turn your vision into reality, which ultimately means they are a crucial stakeholder to partner with from the start of the project.  

The benefits of automation extend far beyond the tax and procurement departments, and it’s well worth the leg work to ensure everyone is on board, and their requirements are considered. The basic principles for any cross-organizational initiative apply: identify your stakeholder circle, know their needs, and work together early and often.

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Kristin Schwabenbauer

Kristin Schwabenbauer

Global Partner Leader, Vertex

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Kristin Schwabenbauer has been helping Vertex clients turn their goals into reality for over 20 years. In her current role, she manages Vertex’s relationships with procurement-focused organizations such as Coupa and Tradeshift. With these efforts, she looks to build the most robust integrations that meet our client’s needs and expectations. The evolving dynamics of these industry wide efforts is creating great opportunity for Vertex clients.

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