The tax function as a strategic business asset

A new PwC study shows that the need for change is certain given the challenges tax functions are currently facing and those on the horizon. While a tax function may have been a passive participant in transformational and enterprise efforts in the past, it must now be a strong advocate for change. Tax functions should take ownership of their business case and pursue actions to ensure it is ready for the future.

The tax transformation journey will not be easy, but it is now imperative and the return on investment can be significant. With a thoughtful roadmap, the positive impact on the organisation may be felt for many years to come. The potential benefits will not only reduce above and below the line costs, but will improve company-wide risk management and tax governance, resource management, recruitment processes and many other areas. Through continuous transformation, the tax function will be viewed as not only as a critical and efficient compliance function, but also as an even more valuable strategic organisational asset.

The accounting challenges of cloud services

Cloud computing is generally defined as using a shared pool of computing resources accessible via the internet. Those resources can be rapidly acquired as needed, with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

However, operators who provide cloud services face a number of complex accounting challenges. In particular, bundling cloud services with non-cloud services will likely complicate revenue recognition patterns. Adding cloud services to the equation means operators may face problems in pricing mechanisms and revenue allocation amongst the various elements. There are also re-seller arrangements to consider (in which it is sometimes difficult to determine the principal and agent) thereby making things even more complex. Some arrangements could result in embedded leases, where an operator is providing exclusive use of an asset.

PwC has considered some of the key accounting issues in relation to cloud services offered by operators in a newly issued report: Making sense of a complex world: Cloud computing – the impact on revenue recognition

10 Principles of Organization Design

Did you ever think “let go of the past” and “focus on what you can control” could apply outside your personal life? PwC’s strategy+business takes you through the steps of your reboot. To find the principles, click on the elements image below:

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strategy+business

For some time I’m working on the KM integration of Strategy& (former Booz & Company) with PwC and I can say there is more than finance about this acquisition. They are good. PwC has probably acquired the best in strategy consulting.

You can make your own mind by having a look at their magazine – strategy+business (s+b). Forbes nominated it among the top 25 websites for CEOs and its readership now spans more than 1,000,000 business leaders around the world. The magazine publishes ideas from chief executives, prominent business thinkers, academics from leading universities, and subject matter specialists from across the PwC network.

In s+b‘s latest reader survey, 90% of respondents reported taking action after reading an s+b article. You may also find it to be an insightful resource.

Seize Megatrends Opportunities: What made McDonald’s persevere in China?

In one of the latest “Strategy+Business” articles, the authors are asking a very powerful question for anyone looking into seizing megatrends opportunities: “What made McDonald’s persevere in China, and why did its U.S.-centric marketing approach succeed?” Here is their answer:

Because its leaders were early to recognize an opportunity in the interplay between two global megatrends. The first was the shift in economic power toward Asia. In 2000, less than 2 percent of global middle-class consumption occurred in China and India. By 2013, that proportion had reached almost 10 percent, and it is predicted to multiply several times by the middle of this century.

The second megatrend involved cultural transformation stemming from demographic change. The prevalence of smaller families under China’s one-child-per-family policy, which has been in place since 1979, has led to a stronger emphasis on children’s well-being.

Together, these two trends suggested that a huge number of Chinese citizens would gain a noteworthy (albeit small by Western standards) increase in their discretionary income. With relatively few children to spend it on, and more opportunities to learn about cultures outside China, they would aspire to the lifestyle of their traditionally more affluent Western counterparts. Well-known Western brands would suddenly be an attainable status symbol.

In 2004, many Western fast-food brands were struggling in their home countries, where they faced highly competitive markets and shifting public food preferences. So McDonald’s seized the Chinese market. The chain put in place subtle variations to its basic menu, such as locally popular sauces, and adopted a few tailored innovations, such as take-out windows for drinks, and of course the McWeddings. The chain also kept adjusting its offerings to reflect the responses it observed from its customers. In this way, the company gained a substantial foothold in the vital China market.

With a clear idea of the interactions among large-scale trends and how they will play out during the coming years, your company could gain a similarly strong advantage.

Paying Taxes 2015

The Paying Taxes study remains unique. It measures the ease of paying taxes across 189 economies by assessing the time required for a case study company to prepare, file and pay its taxes, the number of taxes that it has to pay, the method of that payment and the total tax liability as a percentage of its commercial profits.

The results show that tax policy issues are becoming ever more challenging. There are pressures on tax authorities to raise revenues, to fund social expenditures but also to ensure that their tax system fosters business investment. The business environment is complicated and has the potential to become even more so with complex tax legislation and onerous administrative obligations. It is not surprising therefore that in the most recent edition of the PwC Global CEO survey nearly two-thirds of CEOs around the world say the international tax system is in urgent need of reform and 70% say the impact of tax on their company’s growth is among their top concerns.

For more interesting results and to extract data based on your preferences click here.

Enterprise has a huge opportunity to embrace and mainstream wearable technology

A recent PwC study shows that companies are already putting wearables to work in the workforce. In an era where workplace loyalties are fragile, use of wearable technology in employer-sponsored health and wellness programs can lead to a healthier and thereby more productive workforce. Implementation of wearable tech could have very clear implications for a company’s bottom line— opening the door for enterprise to subsidize the use of wearable devices amongst both employees and consumers.

The world in three colors: blue, green and orange

I just took PwC’s quiz on the #futureofwork. They say I’m a Green world person.  

The projections in this report build on the work started in 2007 by a team from PwC and the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilisation at the Said Business School in Oxford, who came together to develop a series of scenarios for the future of people management. The result was three ‘worlds of work’, which provide a lens through which to examine how organisations might operate in the future.

Which world do you belong to?

 

Authored by Liviu Mihaileanu

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