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Sales Tax Outsourcing - You Can't Be Half Committed

author photo of Robert Dumas

Creating a successful sales tax outsourcing engagement takes a commitment from the vendor and the company outsourcing.  You would think a company that has just decided to outsource their sales tax work would be committed.  But that’s not always the case.  There might be factions within a business that want the outsource to succeed while others are not quite as committed.  They may not overtly say they want the project to fail.  But actions speak louder than words and their half-in, half-out approach says it all.

How can you avoid being bitten by someone on your team that’s not committed to outsourcing?  More times than not, this lack of commitment occurs when the person responsible for the transition to the vendor was not involved in the decision making process.  They resent the fact that someone higher up decided to outsource their job without discussing it with them.  They may intellectually understand that outsourcing is likely to help align them to higher value creating projects.  However, change is difficult and when that change includes new job responsibilities there can be reluctance that comes through as not being fully committed.

I’ve also seen situations where a manager was involved in the decision making process but a vendor other than their choice was awarded the business.  Feeling slighted, they are likely be less than fully committed.

Another situation I’ve seen is when someone makes the process seem overly complex to the point where it’s difficult for the vendor to implement the custom and manual processes that are required to perform the work.  The company that’s outsourcing needs to recognize they are working with a vendor that can bring best practices to the process and some adaptation might result in a better overall process.

Why does it matter if someone is fully committed or not?  Mainly because making a sales tax outsourcing engagement successful can be tough work – at least during the on-boarding process and especially if the company has not outsourced before.  People have their regular jobs to manage plus they are managing a project and providing information to the vendor while trying to meet what are often constricted timelines.  Tensions can rise and someone that’s not fully committed will throw in the towel.  The fully committed person will do whatever it takes and go the extra mile to make the engagement successful.

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