Your corporation may have a dedicated tax team which takes care of your tax responsibilities or you may have a general finance team that handles these responsibilities. Regardless, your finance team or tax team are able to deliver maximum efficiency through good tax workflow management which involves integrating many different factors. In order to manage tax responsibilities, one could delegate different functions to different members of the team. No matter who is responsible for what, having the correct procedures in place is crucial to maintaining maximum efficiency in a tax management workflow.
Digitalisation is transforming the South African tax sector at an accelerated pace. Accounting software players like Sage and Xero offer direct integration to SARS for things like VAT201 submissions, making them a key part of your tax workflow process.
One software category specialises solely in the functions of a tax team rather than all the responsibilities of finance. This software is known as Digital Tax Management Software (DTMS). The functionality of this category differs from that of typical finance software. Check out this comparison of tax management software and finance software for a more detailed explanation.
You can optimise your tax workflow by using DTMS to make it more digitally driven. Tax teams could save countless hours with this software as it has far more specific functionality for their tax returns. Since digital practices are rapidly enhancing your tax workflow, it is critical to adapt your tax teams processes to these progressing trends to promote efficiency. So, in other words how can you digitise your tax workflow.
There are other ways of creating a tax workflow management strategy for tax compliance which you can read about here.
What is a digital tax workflow?
A digital tax workflow relies on technology and automation to help with the collaboration between finance or tax teams with their everyday tax function. A digital tax workflow provides digitised processes for each member of the team to increase efficiency and decrease error.
Understanding the contrast between a non-digitalised tax workflow and its digital counterpart is crucial to understanding the benefits of a digital tax workflow. In a traditional tax workflow setup, calculations and setup are done manually. In tax processes that have evolved to a more digital space overtime, many spreadsheets are used for calculation, and if time has been invested, some may even be automated. Many manual tax workflow processes depend heavily on Outlook and SharePoint to manage tax files, deadlines, and team communication.
There is no doubt that these processes are generally lacking when it comes to version control, finding old files, complex automation, or effective team communication.
As a result of using Digital Tax Management Software, these problems are easily overcome.
Building a digital tax workflow system yourself or buying a software that already exists can be a crucial decision. Take a look at this “Tax Data Software: Four Ways to Future-Proof Your Tax Department” blog.
What does a typical tax workflow look like?
Here is an example of a typical tax workflow:
- Respond to a deadline reminder for an upcoming tax return.
- Preparing the tax documentation, including calculations.
- Asking a team member to review the work done up to this point so they could get ready for submission.
- Filling in a eFiling form with the correct information to get ready for submission.
- And finally submitting the tax return.
Tax teams need to collaborate and manage their responsibilities in regards to this specific workflow, which is why the DTMS offers specific functionality for this purpose.
Some of these features include:
- A direct integration to SARS eFiling for the collection of correspondence and Statement of Accounts
- Tax submission functionality from its platform directly to eFiling
- Tax deadline management
- Team role assignments with review & sign off workflows
- Tax documentation storage
You can quickly optimise your finance or tax team’s operations by utilising these functions of DTMS.
How does Digital Tax Management Software optimise your tax workflow
Here’s how DTMS typically handles digital tax workflows.
- For a quick snapshot of your tax team’s responsibilities, your DTMS should offer a single place to view all upcoming, current, and past tax filings.
- As soon as a tax filing deadline approaches, DTMS would send notifications. Assigned preparers gather all tax documentation, including calculations, and upload it for secure storage.
This allows the entire finance team to easily access all documents relating to a particular tax filing at a moment’s notice and also allows the configured user roles to review and sign off on these documents. A benefit of uploading files here is that they will be instantly available in the event of an audit or verification. Knowing that all finalised documentation is available for review gives you peace of mind.
- The DTMS can be directly integrated with SARS eFiling, allowing you to fill in a tax submission form directly on the platform and get it ready to file.
- A prepared tax filing can now be sent to the reviewer automatically by marking it as prepared. The assigned reviewer can now access the tax filing and review the tax documentation, tax calculations, and any other information present on the filing card such as notes and other team communication.
- By integrating SARS into the platform, you can submit directly into eFiling at the click of a button.
Now that the tax return has been submitted you can process the associated payment through eFiling.
The workflow does not end there, however. A SARS compliance indicator is included on the platform which indicates whether SARS has accepted or declined either the submission or payment. The reason for the rejection will also be provided if it is declined. In any tax workflow, checking submissions and payments for compliance is an essential part to ensure no penalties are incurred for late submissions or payments.
Once again, the tax workflow would not end there. As soon as all tax submissions are complete, teams should report back to the finance committee on all financial details. With tax submissions being ongoing, many finance professionals do not have the time to do this step.
Save valuable time with a digital tax workflow management
With DTMS and a fully digitised automated tax workflow, finance teams will have the time and resources to pull up reports detailing all tax filings for the entities they are responsible for. Reports generated by DTMS can be exported to spreadsheets for calculation and presentation purposes if necessary.
It is easy to see why a digital tax workflow would streamline tax responsibilities of the finance team and allow them to spend their time on more valuable tasks. The purpose of digitalisation and automation is to make people’s lives easier, and DTMS serves that purpose.
Discover what a DTMS should offer you by checking out the 9 things you should expect from a DTMS eBook.