May 19, 2020

How Black Friday and Cyber Monday Will Affect Your Workforce

Cyber Monday
Black Friday
Lilly Collins
3 min
How Black Friday and Cyber Monday Will Affect Your Workforce

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With the American traditions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday growing in popularity among Canadians, retailers can expect to see $13.4 billion in sales between the two days.  However, with so many people out for the day shopping, what does this mean for employers? 

According to a new survey from IPG Mediabrands, a remarkable 1 million Canadians will call in sick on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday to participate in the shopping frenzy.

Now don’t be too worried, employers— Though you can expect a number of your staff to be “out sick”, a total of 4.1 million Canadians will, respectably so, be using their vacation days on these U.S. Thanksgiving holidays so at least your business can try to plan accordingly.

Regardless, whether it is pre-planned or spontaneous, with nearly 5 million employees expected to be out of the office around the holiday weekend, it is clear that business operations will need to be altered to appropriately accommodate for being understaffed.  Though being short-staffed is never a desired position to be in, with the right mindset and awareness going into it, any employer will be able to make it out alive!

Plan Ahead

In anticipation of being understaffed, it is critical to have a contingency plan for the work that will need to be re-distributed in the absence of employees.  Planning ahead and getting work done in advance will help dilute the workload and maintain productivity— just because half the office has prioritized that new Apple Watch, Beats by Dre headphones or iPhone 6 doesn’t mean you have to suffer.  Try to identify the areas that will be effected by the lack of man power and prepare a response plan.  Any problem that may occur will be minimized if the proper planning has been done beforehand.

Stay Focused

Staying focused and dedicated to high performance and delivering quality products during stressful times when the office is understaffed is certainly difficult; however these actions are necessary to succeed in these situations.  Balancing the workload and focusing on what needs to be accomplished for the day will help you manage stress levels.  Focusing on one task at a time will help keep you calm and efficient; taking on too many tasks at one time will leave you unproductive and it is likely that nothing will fully be completed to the standard you require.  And though you might need that extra cup of coffee to get through it all, at least you had a full night’s rest and weren’t waiting in line in the cold outside of Target for nine hours after midnight!

Work as Team

Most importantly, remember that working as a team and being able to utilize each other is a great way to conquer a work day, short-staffed or not!  Keep the group mentality high and support one another (not just because everyone else is out shopping and you’re not) so that every task is given the attention it requires.  Communicate the strategic vision for the day and be sure everyone is on board with the plan and you will be able to successfully survive the employers’ nightmare of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.



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Jun 8, 2021

Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda

Kate Birch
4 min
As businesses accelerate their transformation journeys, tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value. Deloitte reveals six tax trends

New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.

According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.

And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.

Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.

Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax

Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.

According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”

Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models

Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.

Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected

in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.

"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."

Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities

Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.

At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”

Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting

Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.

Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact 

Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements

Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.

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