One of the objections large multinational entities (MNEs) have when considering whether to introduce tax software is the perceived time and effort required to roll it out successfully.
As a result, tax software implementation is a project that is often added to the ”too difficult” pile of tasks to complete—despite the undisputable benefits derived from streamlining and automating tax calculations and reporting with purpose-built software.
The good news is that the many successfully completed implementations of tax software can now act as blueprints for companies new to the process. In this article, we will walk you through a high-level overview of the six key stages that organizations typically address when introducing our software.
By breaking implementation down into bite-sized chunks, we will show you that a well-planned approach not only makes the process easier, but could also contribute to the business case you may already be building for investment in a system like Longview Tax from insightsoftware.
- Free white paper – Why Multinational Entities Need Tax and Transfer Pricing Software
- Find out how to achieve tax agility
- Read our buyer’s guide to assessing and choosing the right tax reporting software for your organization
What is Longview Tax?
Longview Tax from insightsoftware is a corporate-wide application used to collect financial data, calculate current and deferred taxes, forecast the effective tax rate, produce tax relevant roll-forward reports, and assist in preparing the income tax footnote (for financial statement reporting purposes). The process for implementing Longview Tax out-of-the-box normally takes between six and eight weeks to complete.
One of our most important pieces of advice is to remain as involved as possible throughout the implementation, whether you’re a tax manager or IT director. As a general principle, we have found that the more involved organizations are in their implementation projects right from the beginning, the more successful those projects will be. This leads to proper knowledge transfer from our experts to your tax professionals, and maintains key stakeholder buy-in across the business using regular status and steering committee meetings.
The six key stages of implementation incorporate:
- Project organization
- System setup
- Final preparation and roll-out
Stage one: Project organization
Stage one comprises several organizational processes, including project setup, development of a project plan, setup of a steering committee and team meeting schedule, determination of pre-design templates, and establishment of your organizational and IT structure.
Documents that need to be sourced in this initial phase include workpapers for a representative sample of the company entities (e.g., one complicated entity and one non-complicated entity).
- Current provision
- Gross temporary difference/deferred tax
- Effective tax rate
- Tax account rollforward
- Tax packages
- Trial balances
These documents help to identify key areas to cover during the system walkthrough, any necessary process changes to Longview Tax’s out-of-the-box configuration, plus any items that may be considered out of scope.
Stage two: System setup
This phase covers the initial setup of Longview Tax. It allows organizations to dive right in and view Longview Tax using their own entities and account structures, while also testing the values from their workpapers. This step helps to identify any changes that might need to be made either to Longview Tax’s processes or the data that are provided in the loader files.
It also enables organizations to set up administrative and logistical settings, including the time periods for reporting and settings for how deferred tax results will be calculated and classified. Most of these settings can be switched on by accepting the default command prompts that are provided out-of-the-box. After all these steps are performed, you should feel confident that the initial system setup is complete and that the design phase can begin.
Stage three: Design
The design phase is where we perform a deeper dive into your specific requirements together. It includes developing a document that describes our plans for the onsite design week, which may include system walkthroughs, a discussion and review of process changes, a review of loader file questions or issues, testing user access to Longview Tax, and data integration needs, if applicable.
System walkthroughs provide a review of a complete annual and interim provision using Longview Tax’s out-of-the-box capabilities. As your unique setup is typically not fully configured at this point, the generic Longview Tax Application allows you to see how the full provision process works, including the various automation and configuration settings.
The walkthroughs, which use your test data that were loaded in the previous phase, allow your team to continue becoming acquainted with the system in a friendly way with familiar data.
Stage four: Configuration
Based on the outcomes of our design phase, organizations are ready to configure their system according to standard settings. Because we strive to reduce any reliance that tax teams may have on their IT departments when using Longview Tax, configuration can often be done by your tax manager. However, it’s also helpful if an IT representative or other technical person assigned to your implementation remains involved. During this phase, we also work to roll out your custom requirements. Upon completion, we conduct a final review of system settings, loader files, data import and export configurations, and of course currency settings.
Stage five: Testing
After configuration, our testing stage begins by identifying the key entities to test in order for everyone to build confidence using the system before moving to a full parallel testing. The goal here is to ensure that all requirements identified in the initial design document are tested and perform as intended. Longview Tax includes standard test scripts prepared for areas such as year-end rollovers and return to provision.
Further testing is then performed to ensure the organization’s administrators can perform tasks to maintain and administer their Longview Tax system. These tasks may include adding new general ledger accounts or creating new report templates.
Stage six: Final preparation and roll-out
Once testing is complete, the system is ready for its final preparation, which includes rolling the system over to its proper period for parallel testing and ensuring that relevant information is accessible to the Longview Tax support team at insightsoftware. As soon as these phases of testing and implementation have been completed, all parties sign off to confirm that the project has been finalized and the system is in a ”go live” state.
This overview pulls highlights from the six key stages found within our own comprehensive implementation guide that we follow to ensure seamless handoffs to your team. Although we strive to keep things simple for you, we’re happy to go into further detail. Find out more about how you could use Longview Tax from insightsoftware to reshape your tax function. Book a free demo, or drop us a line.