Beyond 2020: addressing challenges in the finance function

New corporate regulations affecting Finance and Tax functions are coming into full force in 2020.  How are CFO’s rising to the challenge of a new compliance tsunami?

There is a deadline looming for Finance teams around the world to meet changing international financial reporting and tax obligations.

New international taxation laws introduced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and ratified by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are just one tranche of a rising tide of compliance requirements.

At the same time, CFO’s are increasingly expected to rise above their function and come out of the ‘finance bubble’ of handling accounting, taxation, compliance and reporting to take a more strategic role within their organisations.

The pressures are considerable so can technology help CFOs add more value to the business and better manage the attentions of increasingly hawkish regulators?

A recent SSON roundtable hosted by Thomson Reuters and Deloitte, provided the opportunity to canvass this question with several prominent CFOs and finance leaders from multinational organisations.  The resulting whitepaper ‘It’s not robots that go to jail: why finance is proving the path to digital transformation is a detailed examination of attitudes shared toward the digitisation of the finance function.

Escaping the Bubble Requires Innovation

The whitepaper found that CFOs and their finance teams acknowledge there is opportunity to more fully utilise digitisation and automation if they are going to comply with new international tax rules in time.

The room was relatively equally split between readiness and caution when it came to implementing automation solutions for Finance and Tax.   The suggestion that key processes such as statutory reporting could be fully automated by 2020 was considered too short a run way for most.

For the self-confessed inherent conservatives in the room,  concerns focused around how to balance the efficiencies that technology can bring without losing the quality controls that come with expert human interactions.  There was broad consensus that replicating legacy finance systems in the digital environment is no solution at all. Work needs to be done to think through new workflows and to ensure systemic issues are not simply packed up and moved over to new platforms.

Those CFOs already embarking on digitisation projects acknowledged that technological transformation is a journey but one that is essential to remaining relevant and competitive in their roles because the ability to add value beyond the finance bubble only occurs with innovation.

To learn more about the topics covered in the round table including Compliance and Transparency in a digital era download our free whitepaper: It’s not Robots that go to Jail 


About the Contributor

Tax and Accounting Insight team

The Thomson Reuters Tax and Accounting Insight team is made up of several internal Thomson Reuters writers and editors. Contributors offer a wealth of knowledge and understanding on various issues in tax and accounting.

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