Celebrating Tax, Tax Technology, and the Moments That Bring Us Together

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Sandhya Edupuganty, TEI International President

As the tax landscape gets more complicated, we have a need to engage and come together like never before. Learning from the successes of and challenges faced by our fellow members can only help all of us. Engaging with our nontax colleagues in a manner that provides clarity and an understanding of the benefits and risks to our companies, while leaving our tax code, regs, and lingo at the door, empowers our message. As a nontax colleague early in my career lamented, “If only you explained to me why you need it and the benefits/risks, in plain English, I am more than happy to help. We are all one team.” Valuable feedback I practice in all my interactions across an organization, as should we all. An organization cannot be truly successful if tax is not successful. How we come to the table determines whether we have a continued seat at the table.

TEI welcomed more than 250 attendees and speakers and thirty exhibitors to this spring’s Tax Technology Seminar in Orlando, marking yet another successful Institute event and a valuable opportunity for members to connect with each other and hear what subject matter experts are encountering with authorities and their clients. The agenda and the sessions for this seminar were heavily member driven and carefully crafted to provide attendees with the meat and potatoes of technologies beneficial for tax—small automation and changes to the same, cutting-edge technology, and how tax would view such changes. The seminar demonstrated the dedication, experience, and aspirations for the tax function our Tax Technology Committee members and TEI staff displayed. Such an event is not offered elsewhere; TEI stands as the preeminent conduit for tax and tax technology knowledge as experienced in industry, by industry leaders. More than a quarter of the attendees indicated they had a technologist title or technology as their primary function within tax. An attendee from a member company that develops all of its key technologies, even for its administrative functions, indicated that she was attending to benefit from the networking with other members and gaining new perspectives—hence the member meetup that is always well attended. If you weren’t able to join us in Orlando, I’m sorry to say you missed a great one, but we hope to see you at the next.

Technology has become an integral part of the tax function. For tax, technology is no longer just the compliance and provision tools; it encompasses small automation, application programming interfaces (APIs), generative AI, and other groundbreaking technologies that provide opportunities to tighten controls around a high-risk function and excel at speeds never before seen. The energy and enthusiasm surrounding the seminar could be felt throughout the venue, from the formal panel discussions to the less formal conversations among friends and peers. The most important skillset for the tax function is the ability to decipher complexity and volume quickly, to lay the groundwork for transparent processes—processes that can adapt to change. We need to stay in lockstep with the business.

We benefited from top IRS leaders from the tax technology and LB&I teams addressing the attendees in a fireside chat, followed by a smaller meeting with the IRS and TEI members on pain points and priorities. These interactions enabled the IRS to hear about industry needs and opportunities for technology improvements, while sharing the opportunities and challenges the IRS faces from updating decades-old systems and infrastructures.

Attendees benefited from attending different hands-on labs throughout the three days. Subjects included new ideas on revolutionizing tax provision and compliance workstreams, e-invoicing technology to keep pace with evolving mandates around the world, tax research in the era of GenAI, automating operational transfer price for analytics beyond compliance, and a preview of Microsoft Fabric, to name a few of the practical and informative sessions led by members and specialists alike.

A special shout-out to the Regions 1, 2, and 9 conferences held in rapid succession. The feedback has been very positive, and these events are examples of the hard work and dedication of our member volunteers.

Focusing Forward

The rest of this calendar year has many interesting seminars, plus the Region 8
and 10 conferences and EMEA Chapter meeting. Did I mention that our EMEA Direct and Indirect Committees are in regular contact with OECD members, who solicit our feedback on the practical implications of proposed guidance, including a survey to be rolled out to members in the coming weeks on the implications of work-from-anywhere policies? At the Institute level, we have our 2024 Tax Symposium in June, our Annual Meeting of Members and US International Tax Course in mid-August, the Audits & Appeals Seminar in September, and of course our marquee event, the 79th Annual Conference in San Antonio this fall. Mark your calendars for any and all events that cover topics and issues of importance to you.

At the regional and chapter levels, the rest of the year offers outstanding, invaluable events that geographically make it easier to attend if corporate budgets continue to be a challenge for travel. If you’re not sure when your next local event is, please connect with your chapter president, representative, fellow members, or TEI’s membership team.

I hope to connect with you on TEI Engage. If you haven’t logged in already, please do so. This vibrant members-only online community connects you directly to more than 6,000 TEI members worldwide and makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, whether it’s a fellow member, an event, or a technical or topical group discussion. A special thanks to the TEI staff for making engagement so easy—TEI Engage promises to be a game changer in the way our community connects.


Sandhya Edupuganty
TEI International President


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