If you’re considering switching sales tax software systems, you’ve probably done your homework—everything from making a thorough pro-con list to performing a cost comparison. As a savvy tax professional, you’re looking for a software solution that automates every step of the transaction tax lifecycle. But switching to a new sales tax system can be intimidating, especially when you consider all the details that go into a transition like data migration, testing, training and timing. Here are four tips to make the transition as seamless and pain free as possible.
1. Find the Right Partner
The expertise of your technology partner is just as important as the new tax software you choose. Implementation can be a bumpy road if your new software company isn’t willing to partner with you during every step of your transition. And that includes helping you accurately import your data into the system without charging you a whole bunch of money to do so. Partnering with a software provider who is committed to its clients’ current and long-term success and has the experience to help achieve that success, ensures that maximum return will be realized on the technology investment.
2. Establish a Dedicated Project Team
While it may sound cliché, successful projects begin with the right people. Before you start a software transition project, your technology provider should assign you a dedicated team of professionals to help and guide you through every step the process. A knowledgeable partner team who understands the software solution can prevent costs from exceeding expectations and key capabilities from being overlooked. This dedicated team should include experienced project managers, tax policy professionals, integration specialists and trainers. One your side, choose an internal project lead, someone with an intimate knowledge of your day-to-day processes, existing technology and the tax department’s relationship to the broader organization. This person will be the first point of contact for your tax technology provider as the implementation moves ahead, so give them the authority to make executive decisions when needed to keep the implementation on track.
3. Understand the Implementation Methodology
Knowing what to expect during and after implementation can circumvent many problems. Often a detailed implementation plan—when executed by an experienced, dedicated team—is the shortest distance to returning real benefits to the business. A good implementation partner will take the time to understand your company’s unique tax requirements and tailor their proven methodology to meet your specific needs. They should be able to anticipate what type of results you will get, how long the process will take, what to expect along the way, and how much it will cost.
4. Manage the Financial Expectations
Moving on from an existing tax solution can be costly considering the need to maintain your current solution while migrating to and paying for your new solution. The timing and associated costs can make the transition difficult to those with eyes on your budget, but the right tax provider should work with you to mitigate these costs through flexible contracts and pricing options. These types of agreements can help make the expense involved a smooth transition as well.
While changing tax software may seem daunting, proper planning and a solid partnership can ensure a seamless process, and the benefits you’ll get from using a smarter tax platform will last long after you’ve made the switch.