3 Key Takeaways From the 2023 FTA Motor Fuel Section Conference
Another FTA Fuel event is in the books! Last week, the Federation of Tax Administrators held their 2023 Motor Fuel Tax Section Conference. We had the honor of networking with, and doing a bit of karaoke with, some awesome attendees. You rocked our socks! Literally, our IGEN socks were wildly popular at our booth this year. We hope you got a pair to take home.
If you couldn’t attend, though, we wanted to highlight some of the trends we noticed throughout the three-day event.
1. Drive Towards Automation
Throughout our conversations with folks, we noticed a strong trend toward automation and digital transformation because of frustrations and stress with manual spreadsheet-intensive tasks. Some manual processes require team members to work late into the night to meet deadlines and require all hands on deck, discouraging work-life balance and taking vacations.
We noted that tax teams are craving the accuracy and efficiency that comes with automation. By employing automated solutions, companies can process vast amounts of data swiftly and with minimal errors, reducing the risk of costly mistakes and audits. Moreover, automation streamlines the often burdensome and time-consuming task of data entry, reconciliation, and reporting, allowing tax professionals to allocate their expertise to more strategic initiatives.
2. Industry Experts Are Retiring
The silver tsunami is building momentum. Does your company have the tools to ride the wave of mass retirement, or will you be left dealing with the aftermath?
A major pain point of tax teams in the fuel industry was losing their industry experts to retirement. Often, these experts have decades of industry knowledge living in their heads. When they retire, the company loses that individual, but also the knowledge and relationships that went with them.
It’s no secret that fuel tax is a niche industry and not easily learned, making it hard to replace these experts with new talent. The same goes for relationships within the industry. Having connections is invaluable for fuel companies but sometimes difficult to build from scratch. Specifically, connections with jurisdictions are essential to navigate jurisdictional challenges that may inevitably arise.
3. Lack of Resources for New Talent
Let’s be honest here, fuel taxes are complex, nuanced, and ambiguous! It’s difficult to hire and retain employees in the fuel tax industry. There is a lack of resources for these new hires to get up to speed, especially with the industry experts retiring, as we mentioned above. Something we found inspiring from FTA Fuel was their mentorship program that launched this year. Many companies are working together to bridge this gap in knowledge and resources by trying to pass down knowledge from one generation to the next.
Another trend around this topic was the need for powerful technology, like Tax determination and Form generation, that can be programmed with company-specific tax strategies and policies to ensure compliance. This eliminates the reliance on new hires needing as much institutional knowledge to be successful.
We hope you found these three takeaways insightful. We look forward to seeing you at FTA next year and at upcoming events throughout the year. Feel free to chat with one of our experts about any of the pain points above and for available solutions IGEN offers with our ComplyIQ toolkit.