Regulatory change, enhanced scrutiny, rapidly evolving technology and new staffing paradigms will transform tax departments this year, according to KPMG US.

Jeffery LeSage, America’s vice chairman, tax, at KPMG, said: “We believe that the tax leaders who crack the code and think differently about how their departments operate and how they can contribute to their companies' growth will be the ones who thrive in the future.

"Embracing these trends now could bring significant value to tax departments today and to their overall organisations tomorrow."

KPMG US said regulatory change and compliance challenges will continue as companies benefit from the new corporate tax rate.

LeSage said: “When you factor in the uncertain trade and tariff landscape, it's clear that tax directors need to focus their teams on monitoring, modelling and, where appropriate, capitalising on the new tax environment.”

KPMG noted that as tax is getting greater attention across and outside of organisations, tax leaders must be ready to field questions regularly from board members, senior executives, investors and others about the new law's impact on tax projections, consequences for processes and planning, and the options for how their organisations can navigate in the new tax landscape.

“U.S. tax reform, coupled with an increasingly complex global economic and tax environment and the ongoing drive for value, is placing ever-greater demands on corporate tax functions,” LeSage added.

KPMG noted how technology plays a role in tax’s success as tax compliance now requires massive, increasingly granular amounts of data from many sources, and more companies are seeing the value of aligning tax data with overall financial and risk management systems.

Will Williams, national managing partner, tax, at KPMG, said: “Many tax directors tell us their departments are lagging the rest of their organisation in exploring and using intelligent automation capabilities such as process robotics, machine learning, and cognitive.

"Tax departments need to be able to embrace the full range of solutions so their organisations can keep pace with developments and with competitors."

The firm said tax’s staffing needs are also evolving since the increasingly technology-based work environment requires different skills than those of the tax department's traditional professionals.

Williams added: “Tax directors looking to build a best in class tax department will need to continue recruiting and developing tax professionals who understand technology as well as having some technology professionals who understand tax.”


By Asena Degirmenci