Six things to consider when transforming your tax function

11 April 2018
By Pauline Lum, Tax Executive Director, PwC Malaysia

In today’s disruptive business landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have allowed businesses to complete tasks fast and with minimal error. This has been useful for tax regulators in particular, who have to review millions of tax returns. Tax professionals too are now able to analyse lines of expense items, for analysing consumer trends, as well as industry trends to look for outliers, amongst other things. 

But what does this mean for tax functions that intend to level up?

In my previous blog post Tax reimagined - Level up or it's game over, I talked about the different levels of tax function maturity. In this post, I will share how you can transform your tax function.

Climbing a mountain

I liken the journey of transforming your tax function to climbing a mountain. You’ll need to ensure the environment is favourable, that you are equipped with the right tools and climbing gear, and that you have sufficient mental and physical training to reach the top of the mountain. The levelling up of your tax function requires the same level of detail and assessment.  

Understanding your tax function maturity, will allow you to devise a plan that equips you with the right tools and climbing gear, and helps you determine the amount of training required for the climb. Similarly, once you identify your tax function maturity level, you can then develop the steps you need to redefine, redesign and redeploy each dimension (in the area of people, processes and technology) into a game plan. 

Key considerations when transforming your tax function

But as with all journeys, the approach to transforming your tax function is not linear. You will have to plan for the eventualities and teething issues that come with any change.

You should consider the following:

enablers for effective management of tax risks

Document your current state
Review your existing Tax department processes, technology, data and structure to provide insight based on leading practices.

Organisational design
Align skills and competences to meet stakeholder needs. You also need to clarify roles and responsibilities to allow Finance and Tax to become true business partners. 

Business processes
Reduce functional and operational complexities through the creation of standardised, streamlined processes to deliver high-quality services to all

  • internal stakeholders (for example, Board of Directors, Business Development, Sales teams, etc.) and
  • external stakeholders (for example, tax regulators, consumers, etc.) 

Performance management
Provide accurate and timely business information by translating strategy into sustainable performance through implementation, planning, and analytical solutions.

Systems & data
Optimise technology to create an integrated finance and tax application platform that maximises automation, enhances data quality and improves control at a reasonable cost.

Record to report
Deliver timely, accurate reporting, through a smarter close using tax enriched data and standardised processes throughout.

Tax reimagined

In order to stay relevant, tax functions will need to be agile to adapt to the changing business and regulatory requirements. You need to reassess, redesign and recalibrate your tax infrastructure with the help of enablers, such as technology, tax controls and people.

Are you ready to help your business thrive while meeting the needs of tomorrow’s tax reporting requirements? Let’s come up with a game plan. 


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Taking the first step to dealing with your tax challenges of tomorrow, starts today. 

Let's chat.



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Pauline Lum

Pauline Lum

Tax Executive Director, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 1059

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