KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm, together with Thomson Reuters and three universities, has developed an interactive and immersive case study used in the classroom at each school to better prepare tax and accounting students with the necessary technology skills for the modern workforce. The study was presented on February 29, 2020 – with a live demo – at the midyear meeting of the American Taxation Association.
The three participating universities – Bentley University, San Diego State University and the University of Miami – successfully utilized the case study in their tax courses during 2019. KPMG and Thomson Reuters plan to expand this initiative to additional schools in the coming months.
“Students are really excited to apply cutting-edge technology to work on a challenging case study in the classroom,” said Tracy Noga, professor of accountancy at Bentley University. “With the support of KPMG’s tax professionals, as well as Thomson Reuters’ ONESOURCE Tax Provision software, university courses will better align with the skills and competencies that are now expected of tax and accounting professionals in this era of technological disruption.”
The case study draws on the experience of the professors at the participating universities along with input from KPMG professionals, who work extensively on tax provisions. Tax professionals from KPMG’s Ignition centers – the firm’s technology-focused centers – assisted in the implementation of the case study data and other materials into the Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE platform, a leading tax provision tool.
“Advances in software, automation and artificial intelligence are enabling tax professionals to spend more time on higher level problem-solving earlier in their careers,” said Steven Fortier, KPMG tax principal and executive sponsor for the firm’s Thomson Reuters alliance. “Professionals that have deep tax technical skills alongside strong technology and analytic skills are increasingly valuable to companies, and this initiative is all about accelerating the development of those skills.”
The revamped coursework will enable students to prepare tax provisions in Excel-based models, create tax provisions in ONESOURCE, and develop a foundation of tax provision/compliance cycles – skills and knowledge that will allow them to hit the ground running upon entering the workforce.
The case study is just the latest initiative for KPMG in its quest with academia to better train professionals for the future of work. In 2016, KPMG unveiled its Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics Program at numerous leading universities across the country. The program – which also offers a Master of Taxation and Data & Analytics degree at several universities – is designed to bring a data and analytics-focused curriculum to the classroom so that students succeed in today’s complex and data-centric environment.
“With rapid advancements in technology, tax is being totally reimagined,” says Will Williams, National Managing Partner – Tax, at KPMG. “It’s no longer a back office function where professionals are busy on their calculators from dusk ’til dawn. Professionals armed with tax knowledge plus technology and business skills are going to have seats at the leadership table to advise on the strategy and future of the company.”