Webinar: Finance centralisation – How to handle global business complexities and avoid the pitfalls
Join ITR and TMF Group’s tax experts at 2pm CET (1pm GMT) on November 15 as they discuss how finance leaders are increasingly faced with doing more with less, and how CFOs should adapt.
Business complexities around the world can frustrate finance centralisation plans. This webinar will provide real-life examples on how local complexities might hinder finance transformation and centralisation ambitions. There will also be practical hints on how to handle those complexities.
CFOs generally fund finance redesign programmes through efficiency gains and the resulting cost savings. In line with this, there is a general tendency towards greater finance centralisation.
A key pillar of finance centralisation is having one system that brings different parts of an organisation on to one technological platform. But tax and wider statutory compliance often remain outliers.
The analogy of a shiny, new electric car can be used to represent the finance function. It could be embellished with the latest gadgetry (in this case, a best-in-class cloud platform), but imagine finding a somewhat rusty statutory compliance combustion engine under the hood that runs on good old Microsoft Excel, the fuel of yesteryear.
Looking under the hood
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When talking about successful finance redesign programmes, statutory compliance (including tax) should be assessed as well. The statutory compliance function is often overlooked with regard to planning. And that might become a painful oversight.
Consider invoicing. A centralised billing unit might boast a state-of-the-art platform, but is that sufficient to send the invoice and for it to be paid by a client in, say, Brazil, Chile, or Hungary? Brazil is ranked as the most difficult place to do business, according to the Global Business Complexity Index (GBCI), TMF Group’s annual flagship publication. Without providing the necessary details at a municipal level, you will hardly get your invoice paid in Brazil. In Chile, your invoice needs to be shared electronically with the government. Same for Hungary – and don’t forget to do that on the same day!
Local language requirements have not even been touched upon. Another TMF Group publication, the Global Guide to Tax Compliance, suggests that 65% of jurisdictions require local language invoices. The report also notes that 85% of jurisdictions request annual financial statements to be submitted in the local language.
Another area affecting central finance models is local responsibility and qualification requirements. The GBCI report identifies the rise of responsible governance as among the three main themes dominating business complexity for international businesses.
Making a complex world simple
As the GBCI research shows, emerging from COVID-19 only accelerated existing trends. Some tax measures introduced during the pandemic are being reversed. The depth, breadth, and pace of legislative changes impacting statutory compliance might seem overwhelming to finance leaders, but these barriers are not insurmountable. TMF Group shared some ideas in another article, but here are some more aspects to consider while planning finance centralisation:
Hear the voice of statutory compliance before and throughout the finance redesign exercise.
Ask the right closed questions. Can invoices be issued in English only? Should the return preparer possess a specific qualification?
Assess the sourcing strategy for finance and statutory compliance.
It takes a village to design and build an electric car. Similarly, building a digitally driven and growth-supporting finance function requires joint efforts of many parts of an organisation, including statutory compliance.