Transformations in technology and sweeping regulatory reforms have created a more challenging landscape for finance teams. Whether tackling financial compliance requirements or managing a global tax function, many firms are struggling to keep up.
In response to that obstacle, PwC has created a suite of services designed to be a holistic approach to data management, analytics and reporting functions. The platform, dubbed Managed Services, has evolved to specifically address challenges within finance and tax, according to Doug Thomas, who leads the firm’s Managed Services platform. And now, the firm is adding a new Automated Managed Services solution to the offering.
“We are at an exciting inflection point,” says Thomas. “[Wherever] there is potential for automation or digitization and the need for a high degree of specialization,” a third-party provider can step in with the right skill sets and tools.
Customized, data-driven tools are particularly valuable in an environment of constant change. Consider some of the hurdles:
It’s against this backdrop that management teams are looking for sharper insights to inform decision making.
Even at leading companies, what’s state-of-the-art today may quickly become outdated.
Managed Services providers are able to continually invest in leading technologies because these finance and tax functions are the core strategic focus of these providers—not a support function.
Expanding beyond the tax function with the rollout of its new Automated Managed Services solution within its Managed Services platform, PwC leverages its investment in technology to automate a large part of the U.S. GAAP financial, tax and statutory reporting filing requirements while providing value-added analytics. This solution provides companies with a comprehensive set of tools that allows them to benefit from a data-driven, integrated approach using emerging technologies while keeping their focus on their core business. A pharmaceutical company, for example, can invest instead in research and development for its products.
And similar to PwC’s other Managed Services solutions, the technology is backed by a global team of tax and accounting specialists.The blend of co-sourcing and outsourcing is designed to create a mix of capabilities and resources. As Thomas explains, the model “provides access to a flexible pool of talent that can expand and contract with the business needs.”
Automated Managed Services can deliver turnkey processes for standardizing the capture, quality and security of essential financial data. Follow-on processes can then feed everything from statutory reporting to tax returns. Key tools along the way include AI and advanced analytics.
In practice, PwC’s new Automated Managed Services solution can entail augmenting existing technology with small automation or using a pre-built, end-to-end technology platform.
The advantages of a Managed Services provider’s toolbox also extend to regulatory and compliance issues. The breadth of recent changes in global finance and tax regulations, including U.S. and global tax reform, new revenue recognition rules, new lease accounting rules and BEPS 2.0, are all notable developments that firms must keep in mind and may need to dedicate considerable resources to.
These and related changes are making financial and tax reporting, planning and compliance exponentially more complex, according to PwC. Plus, this level of change is taking place in jurisdictions worldwide, which is adding enormous complexity for any multinational company.
Meanwhile, in a technology-infused economy, data is a prized commodity. This is as true for finance at large as it is for tax planning and compliance. In terms of data management, the best model is to capture data once, and then reuse that same data across all business needs—be it reporting, analysis or compliance, according to PwC. By migrating to a Managed Services model, businesses are migrating toward a more highly standardized, data-first approach.
The firms that reap rewards in the current climate are those that understand and focus on their competitive advantages. No single company can afford to pursue every industry-leading tool.
The Managed Services model recognizes this, giving companies access to talent, tools and insights that would be too expensive and risky for a single company to invest in. And that’s a core reason the approach should appeal across industries, according to PwC.
It “allows you to embrace the latest technology, employ innovative solutions and remain agile relative to an increasingly complex regulatory environment,” says Thomas. “Amid so much change, complexity and heightened compliance risk,” Managed Services is a means for business to do more with less.
Learn more about PwC’s new Automated Managed Services solution here.