Exponential technologies are about to change the way tax professionals work

Posted by Beth Mueller on April 7, 2017

Digital technology is disrupting all manner of knowledge work, and tax is no exception. In tacit admission of this trend, taxpayers and regulatory authorities have been stepping up their efforts to collect and analyze tax data. On the horizon? Machine intelligence—part of a group we call exponential technologies because of its rapidly compounding power.

Exponential technologies allow us to do more work than ever before. In the realm of machine intelligence, technologies include artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, robotic process automation, and more. In our 2017 Tax Analytics Trends report, we review how exponential technologies can build on data analytics to help tax professionals:

  • Analyze vast quantities of legislation, case law, and tax authority practice
  • Automate repetitive tasks that have a tax component, such as invoice scanning and processing
  • Identify disallowable expenditures for corporate income tax purposes
  • Highlight misclassifications of tax-relevant costs
  • Extract tax sensitive data from contracts so they can be correctly classified for tax purposes
  • Offer additional guidance to users who search tax technical databases

As such, exponential technologies can reduce the amount of mundane and repetitive work tax departments currently perform. What makes them different from traditional productivity tools is that the efficiency gains can be ongoing and cumulative, as machine intelligence turns up new instances where its own application might further augment and amplify human effort.

Exponential technologies also can enhance human problem-solving capabilities. That’s because machine intelligence progressively refines the scope and accuracy of search results, resulting in more of the kind of data that lends itself to sophisticated data analytics.

With so much innovation taking place, it can be hard to know where to focus. Whatever your path, the use of exponentials such as deep learning, cognitive analytics, and predictive data analytics can boost tax analysis and help tax professionals answer oft-encountered questions. Exponentials also set the stage for artificial intelligence to come in someday and support subject matter specialists working to resolve complex, higher-end tax initiatives. Ultimately, the goal is to help tax professionals focus on what they do best: give knowledge-based advice.

Where do you see exponential technologies coming into play? I’d like to hear your thoughts.


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