This year EY is using robotic process automation (RPA) to help prepare fringe benefits tax (FBT) returns, eliminating repetitive and manual tasks and making compliance with the FBT law more efficient and accurate.
EY employment taxes, people advisory services partner Frank Klasic said that the use of RPA for FBT not only helps clients ensure their FBT claims are correct and compliant, but also improves efficiency and cost effectiveness for the firm.
“FBT is one of those taxes employers spend countless hours on,” Mr Klasic said.
“It’s complex and in some cases leads to overpaying your obligations because going through all of the records properly to gather the required evidence for a reduction or exemption is counter-productive.”
Mr Klasic believes that having a consistent approach to FBT is crucial and this is where robotics can help.
“The ATO is taking a much firmer approach to employer obligations and getting your FBT wrong can result in significant retrospective penalties,” Mr Klasic said.
EY has made significant investments into tax technology, and is already using RPA to prepare Business Activity Statements and elements of income tax returns.
“FBT presents a complex problem that has been a burden on our clients for a very long time but this will no longer be the case with our new FBT automation approach,” said Peter Sanders, tax technology and transformation partner at EY.
“Our ability to call on our deep technical skills and expertise in robotics process automation, data analytics and process redesign has supported us to transform the way EY and our clients can now approach FBT.”
Mr Sanders said that using RPA for FBT will be a great “case study” in how the firm can further leverage technology to enable a better working tax function.
Another big four firm, Deloitte, is using robots in its audit and assurance division.
“The SMSF audit team within Deloitte is pioneering robotics technology for the broader audit practice,” Deloitte audit partner Jo Heighway said.
“So we're able to effectively program and train robots for a lot of the data collection and document collection activities. That is clearly increasing our efficiency but also our ability to scale.”