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Combining technology and talent for the digital tax future

As disruption layers new complexity, pressure and opportunity onto business, the digital tax function is rapidly evolving. Shawn Smith, EY global tax technology and transformation leader, explores the needs of organisations as these developments occur.


New opportunities are coming to light by leveraging emerging technologies to drive impact, efficiency and business growth

Organisations are looking for clarity around the tax implications of digital change on their business strategies, business models and supply chains. On top of this, the tax function must also be able to meet new demands relating to governments' digital tax administration, as regulatory change and transparency requirements intensify.

Cutting-edge technologies are driving the most transformative developments in tax, introducing a new era of visibility into transactional data that can help businesses improve efficiency and unlock value.

To bring the framework of digital tax to life and refine the focus on our clients' technology agenda, EY recently announced the creation of tax technology and transformation, a dedicated group of more than 1,000 tax technology and performance improvement professionals to help organisations redefine their tax functions and drive transformation for the digital age.

Tax technology and transformation services are an integral part of how EY helps organisations to meet the business mandates of the global digital economy, with its changing tax data flows, data requirements and escalating pressure for enterprise-wide operational transformation. From data analytics and big data, to robotics, artificial intelligence and the next wave of new technologies, organisations are looking to respond to the impact of existing and emerging technology; the growing data burden that many businesses face and understanding how to make data an asset; and driving efficiencies to create a cost-effective tax function.

Tax technology and transformation services will be provided with the support of EYTax.Tech™, a customised suite of client-serving technology services that connects the right people, processes and emerging technologies that organisations need to help them fuel innovation, drive efficiency and secure competitive advantage.

As the digital tax function evolves to become a strategic component of enterprise transformation, tax executives will increasingly be required to act as technologists as well as more traditional technical advisors. Tax talent must increasingly be aligned with the business to redesign operating models, engage in new digital workflows and assimilate emerging technologies. This is bringing a wholesale shift in the competencies required in the tax function, the people who are being hired and the overall talent dynamic across the entire tax profession.

Tax technology and transformation will bring together a unique blend of talent, training and background: a new breed of tax professionals immersed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics who thrive in the digital world; and tax function operations strategists, who take a holistic look at the immediate and future needs of the tax function. Together, these groups will build a blueprint for an enhanced tax operating model strategy and transformation plan that integrates more closely with businesses' finance and enterprise-wide initiatives.

Our tax professionals are already helping organisations to identify new opportunities by leveraging emerging technologies to drive impact, efficiency and business growth. If you're interested in hearing more about how our new tax technology and transformation practice can help you, then please do get in touch.

The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organisation or its member firms.

Shawn Smith


Global tax technology and transformation leader


Tax technology and transformation is led by Shawn Smith, the newly appointed EY global tax technology and transformation leader. Based in New York, Smith was previously EY Americas tax performance advisory leader – FSO and the southeast region market segment leader. He has extensive experience in a wide range of tax function services designed to improve the operating performance of corporate tax functions for financial services.

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