A different way of working

A different way of working

15 October 2012

In times of economic growth, there is a tendency to achieve increases in scale through acquisitions. In business services, the emergence of the Big4 is an example of this. The economic recession causes companies to adjust to new market circumstances: demand decreases, fees come under pressure and employee productivity slides, causing the focus to shift to general cost savings and making downsizing necessary.

One complicating factor is that the traditional way of working and the way in which business services are offered is no longer relevant. In times of recession, inefficiency becomes all the more visible when profits fall and there is no room for innovation. In addition, poor results have an adverse effect on the cooperation among disciplines: employees focus on self-preservation and not on existing or new forms of cooperation. The tide can be shifted by reinventing oneself and by realizing behavioral changes among employees.

The challenge is to change people who have been successful with their traditional way of working for years. These are difficult and time-consuming processes that are possible only with close management and the involvement of the leaders. It is no chimera to consider a future involving significant offshoots and where the term Big4 ceases to exist. The question has been asked more than once and is more relevant today than ever.

Does the - relatively less profitable - auditing of financial statements and consultancy still fit under the umbrella of joint profit distribution? Not only does regulation lead to change, so do the personal motives of the stakeholders. In times of continued economic recession, are people still willing to support each other financially when certain company components consistently underperform? Time will tell.

The founders of the KEY Group didn't want to wait for this. Adjustment to changed circumstances and innovation is in our DNA. It is an essential component of the corporate image that we have in mind. Change is not a threat but a challenge and it can't happen quickly enough. Now is the moment to link up with new trends and markets. We comprise a select group of people who share the same vision and we believe that the future lies in a “cloud” of collaborating experts in the areas of business control, information technology and indirect tax.

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Take aways 

Anticipate what users would want

We combine technical knowledge with industry understanding and knowhow of technologically advanced tools and methodologies available in the market or developed by ourselves.

What do we like to achieve

  • Focus on tax processes that could be improved
    • Manual process: same data requests are made by different stakeholders
  • As Is assessment
  • Anticipate future changes and the data needed
    • What are tax trends?
    • What is happening locally and what should be considered across jurisdictions where you operate?
    • Anticipate new stakeholders and their data needs or requests (internal and external)
  • Define scope and actions for short, mid and long term
  • Write business case for change
  • Realize sponsorship for implementation

‘As is’ assessment, actions and business case

  • What tax data is requested and by whom?
  • What tax process can be improved and what can be automated?
    • CIT, VAT, tax data warehouse
  • What is the Return on Investment?
    • Hard saving: process improvement
    • Meeting (new) tax requirement
  • What systems are in use: SAP, Oracle, etc
    • By which entities?
  • How many end-use computing tools (e.g. excel spreadsheet) do we have?
  • How do we avoid an ad-hoc solution?
    • Understand the bigger picture
    • Real problem and not the symptom

Risk and reward

Technology-related tax risk: understand and address the potential harms and benefits of (new) technology.

Technology tools & systems integration

Ascertaining proper IT support for ensuring efficient, timely and reliable reporting.

Change and project management

VAT should be considered in every aspect of the process, from concept through completion and beyond. Managing by design — looking at any process or transaction from end to end and factoring in all the requirements and controls essential to designing and optimizing a compliant VAT process.

Effective communication and teaming

We speak the language of the business and IT and no translation is needed.