On October 8 – 9, 2019, Tech In Asia Conference was held in Jakarta at the Jakarta Convention Center. Tech in Asia (TIA) is an online media / platform for actors in the field of technology and start-ups, focusing in the Asian region. TIA also provides the latest news and analysis on start-ups, and also organizes conferences about technology in the countries where it is based: Singapore, Japan, and Indonesia. This Asia’s Blockbuster conference was flocked by approximately 6.000 attendees, 250 investors, more than 150 speakers, and 3.000 decision makers.
As representatives from SALAKI & SALAKI, we were both assigned to attend this conference for the full 2 (two) days. We were expected to learn from and observe on the rapid development in technology, especially as to how this can impact service industry, particularly for us in the tax consulting industry.
AN INTRODUCTION TO SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE
From the many things we learned and observed during the Conference, the Future of “Software as a Service” is what we highlighted most, especially on its implications for tax consulting services in the future. Software as a Service (hereinafter referred to as “SaaS”) is a software delivery model hosted by a vendor as a service provider that develops web applications and can easily be operated by anyone (the customers) via the Internet.
SaaS users can operate the application without the need to understand the technical details, and to take care of how the data is stored or how the application is maintained since the application is centrally hosted by the service provider.
A HELP OR A THREAT?
The rapid growth of SaaS as a product of the development and advancement of technology can be a double-edged sword for service industries. On the one side, the emergence of SaaS can help service companies to be more efficient in handling various client-related works, especially in administrative tasks and client data processing. This technology is undeniably able to help companies gather and process enormous data more quickly.
But on the other side, the presence of SaaS also ultimately can remove the “signature” products of a service company. Especially for tax consultants, the tasks of data collecting, calculating taxes, and reporting tax returns are no longer considered as complicated, unique activities, because technology has started taking over such tasks, through the SaaS. Now any regular person without extensive tax knowledge can perform such activities with the help of technology.
So, should tax consultants be aware of the development & advancement of technology? We strongly answer YES! From what we observed during the Conference, we agree with what Charles Darwin once said, that:
“it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but
those who can best manage change”.
The rapid development of technology is not only consumed by actors in technology companies, but rather by all business actors, including tax consultants. Tax consultants inevitably have to be aware of the development and advancement of technology because this digital shifting era creates many significant changes on how one’s business operates.
Previously, tax consultants were able to succeed by relying highly on compliance services, for example preparing and submitting monthly Tax Returns or Annual Tax Returns, but almost everyone can now perform these activities with the help of SaaS, at a faster pace and cheaper price. Ultimately, these technological advancements will force service companies, including tax consultants, to change their mindsets, and strategies.
IF YOU CANNOT FIGHT IT, EMBRACE IT!
Yet although technological advances can challenge the lines of services being offered by tax consultants, at the same time it can provide other unique opportunities, and expand capacities.
Thus, not only we as tax consultants need to be aware of the development and advancement of technology, we also need to be able to ride on this wave of technological development and advancement. As the saying goes, “With technology, if you cannot fight it, you better embrace it!”