What Tax Technology Implementation and Basketball Have in Common


With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, it’s a good time for tax, procurement and finance groups mulling automation improvements to consider taking a page from basketball’s playbook. 

Consider the triple threat position - a fundamental driver of success on the basketball court. From this forward-leaning stance, a player with the ball is in an ideal position to execute three moves – passing, shooting, or dribbling – designed to ultimately score points and win the game. 

A similar dynamic exists in the software realm, where project teams implementing procurement platforms in tandem with ERP systems and tax engines are ideally positioned to succeed. The best game plans – for winning basketball and successful technology implementations – tend to result from careful consideration of the factors that have the most significant impacts on the endeavor’s outcome from the opening minutes until the final buzzer sounds.

A triple-threat procurement-tax-ERP implementation can yield a hefty return on investment. Realizing this value requires tax, finance and IT professionals on the implementation team to avoid overlooking an essential collection of success factors. The best way to do so is by working through some well-chosen considerations and questions throughout the project planning process, such as:  

  • Is Vertex O Series currently integrated with your ERP system, or is that the primary focus of your implementation (with procurement qualifying as a secondary focus)? If the O Series/ERP integration already exists, there may be no need to reinvent the wheel. A transition (e.g., to a cloud-based model) may be useful to consider. Recognize that the ERP system is generally integrated with the tax system first. The ERP/tax automation relationship is critical to the business and often takes precedence over integrating procurement and tax applications.
  • Did the purchasing department solicit input from finance and tax when selecting a new procurement platform? If not, that may be a red flag; without that input, procurement teams may not be fully aware of the complexity of these implementations and integrations. Tax is often the last group to learn that a new procurement platform has been chosen. Tax can lose access to crucial data that allowed for compliance and risk mitigation when this occurs.
  • Are you using Vertex accelerator tools or similar integration mechanisms to facilitate connections between the different applications? Accelerator tools can significantly enhance the tax groups’ visibility and control during these implementations and integrations. 

That’s just a start, as there are several other questions to ask as the project team’s work progresses. I’ll pivot to more of these considerations in a future post.

Blog Author

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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