The power of data analysis starts today

The tax function will start playing a more strategic role in organisations by analysing more relevant data, faster and better than ever before. This appears to be an appealing future prospect for most organisations. However, the first steps into the future can already be taken today. What can you already do to exploit the power of data analysis?

Think big, start small

In the tax function of the future, it will be possible to immediately translate data into fiscal insights which can be used to make better and faster strategic and operational decisions. At the moment, the tax function only uses data that is produced or managed by others. Access to relevant fiscal data is difficult and limited, and data is not always immediately suitable for fiscal analyses. One of the commonly used solutions for this problem involves setting up a Tax Data Hub. However, this is not something that can be realised quickly.

Although such a major undertaking can cost your organisation a lot of time and money, you can already take various smaller steps to move towards the tax function of the future. We have highlighted several possibilities below, which can already be implemented by using Data Analytics to create a futureproof Tax function.

Data for past, present and future

In the past, tax specialists saw data as nothing more than a static collection of figures used for annual accounts and tax returns. However, by quickly gaining an ever evolving insight into relevant data, people can make a strategic contribution at various levels.

  • In the past: you would evaluate past data and pass judgement in relation to compliance and reporting. This contribution now tends to be made by the tax department.
  • The present: up-to-date data allows you to monitor processes and prevent or punctually resolve errors.
  • In the future: data modelling will allow you to contribute to the planning process and make strategic decisions.

Collecting relevant data: extract, transform and load

Data analytics starts by collecting relevant data. Most data for Tax is owned and used by other departments; Finance in particular. How can you obtain and structure this data? This is where specialists come in. They know where relevant data can be found, how it can be obtained and how it can be processed for specific fiscal analyses. We do this via the ETL process: Extraction, Transformation and Loading of data.

The first step involves collecting the right figures. IT specialists have developed scripts for this specific purpose, which can be used to easily extract required data from all major (ERP) systems (incl. SAP, Oracle and JD Edwards). Data can also be collected from more unstructured data sources. Collected raw data can then be transformed into a form that can be used by the tax department. It is then loaded into one of the data analysis solutions to obtain relevant insights. 

´Data analytics is not just something for the future. Curious? We can work together to develop a proof of concept in a single day.´

Jochem Veltman

Self-service analytics: simple modelling, better insight

A good analyst, with the right digital tools, can offer you insights that you thought were only possible by purchasing complex and expensive solutions. The specialist will be able to use business intelligence tools like Qlikview, Tableau and Alteryx to breathe new life into your data and give you insights you never deemed possible. The data analysis specialist will also possess diagnostic and analysis tools, which can be used to make very specific fiscal analyses. These tools can, for example, perform automatic analyses on imputed data and quickly detect irregularities. So resolving errors is less complicated than you might think. Our Insights programme offers you an insight into the quality of your VAT registrations, your payroll tax and premiums, as well as your corporation tax.

Visualisations from a single data source will shed new light on your figures. Gain strategic insights by combining several data sources. And how about benchmarking your figures against those of other players in your sector? You can easily create your own dashboard and select specific filters for the data you have selected. Our specialists can demonstrate some of the possibilities and, if necessary, can train someone from your organisation to use the tool.

Modelling for the future

Tax specialists that have an insight into past and present figures can use modelling tools to create a dynamic forecast for the future. And your insight will be further improved when visualisations are used to bring static figures to life. What are the fiscal consequences of choices you can currently make? Once you have been able to answer this question via modelling & predictive analysis, you will be able to play a role in strategic considerations and planning.

Scenario analysis is one of the most important elements in the strategic decision-making process. Traditionally, this involves using MS Excel. To take the next step in scenario analysis, we have developed our own digital solution where the knowledge of our various specialists has been bundled. Our Financial Drawing Board offers you a blank canvas, where you can literally ‘draw’ your current financial and fiscal situation. This can be the starting point for a journey through time, involving the various changes in your organisation or forecast of your figures.

The canvas is supported by an advanced platform featuring hundreds of different models for a wide range of financial and fiscal analyses. When we add your data, your figures will be dynamically displayed in all model options. What will happen if, for example, you modify your transfer pricing model? And what will your figures look like if we take into account the interest deduction restriction under BEPS? We have already created models to answer such questions. When combined with your figures, the FDB offers you specific insights that can be used for strategic decision-making.

Our vision for data analysis in the tax function starts with steps you can already take at this moment in time. Contact us to discover the possibilities of data analysis for your organisation.

Contact us

Marcel Jakobsen

Marcel Jakobsen

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 38 05

Fieke van der Vlist

Fieke van der Vlist

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)63 075 19 37

Jurriaan Weerman

Jurriaan Weerman

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 50 86

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