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Deloitte’s Tax in 2020 initiative will invest heavily in digital client experience

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Last year, Deloitte launched the Tax in 2020 initiative, a three-year digital transformation plan. On Thursday, the Big Four firm confirmed that investment in building a seamless digital experience for its global tax clients is a key component of the plan.

Tax in 2020 aims to provide insights to help Deloitte's clients better manage their tax filing obligations and assist with their financial statement reporting responsibilities. The plan is also to elevate the tax department’s role in strategic decision-making to help identify and mitigate risks.

Deloitte is tackling its tax business through digital transformation to take advantage of improved technology while the regulatory landscape evolves rapidly. The U.S. tax reform overhaul enacted into law some of the OECD's recommendations arising from the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative. In Europe, there was the recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governing data privacy. The challenges of finding, developing and retaining high-quality professionals amid increasing budget pressures have placed tax digital transformation front and center for the tax profession, according to the firm.

"Tax departments are at a pivotal point and must take control of their own business transformation," said Steve Kimble, chairman and CEO of Deloitte Tax LLP, in a statement. "While we have been at the forefront of investing in innovative tax solutions for years, we made the decision to increase the investment and pace of our digital transformation strategy in 2018."

He added, “Tax in 2020 showcases Deloitte's commitment to helping our clients address not only current, but equally as important — future tax priorities. This strategic investment focuses our world class tax capabilities, including deep technical acumen, industry specialization, and technological solutions by putting them to work in an effective manner for our clients. The collaboration created through a focus on these disciplines will position our people to focus on drawing clarity out of tremendously complex tax issues, and working alongside our clients as trusted advisors, to identify and deliver value."

Along with the Tax in 2020 initiative, Deloitte is focusing on the following:

  • Technology innovation – Deloitte's Tax Transformation and Innovation team continues to expand digital capabilities and build cloud-based solutions. An example is CognitiveTax Insight (CogTax), an optical character recognition and machine learning-based analytics solution already on the market. CogTax analyzes data, assists clients with indirect tax overpayment recovery, and is meant to reduce the potential for future over- and underpayments.
  • Integrated experience – Deloitte is creating an integrated global platform to automate the more cumbersome aspects of tax compliance. Examples include the iPACS suite, which supports tax obligations across federal, state and global tax reporting regimes for financial services organizations. Through the iPACS platform, data is retrieved from source systems, transformed for various tax calculations and reporting requirements, processed through rules engines, transmitted to standardized review reports, and made available for review and analysis via embedded analytics.
  • Operations transformation for tax – Deloitte is working with clients to customize the talent, processes and technology that make sense for them, exploring options for future tax operating models.
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