To raise more awareness on the profession, we decided to launch a series of interviews focusing on women in tax technology.
It is with great pleasure we welcome Neus Vicente Llodra. Tax Technology is Neus’ passion. During the last 15 years, Neus has worked in multiple SAP roll outs, VAT automation, and Real-Time-Reporting projects, both from a business and an external consultancy perspective. She is now Senior Manager in the TMC team of Deloitte Netherlands. This inspiring woman shares about her career, diversity in the workplace, balance between work and personal life and provides advice for new starters in tax technology.
For those who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Neus Vicente Llodrà, originally from Valencia (Spain), but living in the Netherlands for the past 15 years. I studied Business Management and Administration at the University of Valencia, with a focus in accounting . I am a very curious, analytical and logical person who loves travelling around the world, especially off the beaten path, being in nature, and trying new foreign foods.
I love to work in international environments with multicultural teams, which I’ve been very lucky to have at companies like Fujifilm and Tytho and now at Deloitte.
Tax Technology roles are transversal across organisations and global by nature, it leads de facto to multicultural collaborations, I can see why you are enjoying it. Why did you choose to specialise in Tax Technology?
I didn’t, it just happened!
When I started at Fujifilm they were in the process of implementing and rolling out SAP ECC across EU, and developing and implementing a VAT determination SAP add-on: I was just at the right place at the right moment!
From then on VAT determination and SAP have become my passion. Helping businesses to automate complex supply chain VAT flows, implementing Real Time Reporting solutions, or helping to develop new SAP add-ons are all very rewarding and make me love my work.
One of the things I like in these type of projects is that you can combine your knowledge and experience in the business, in VAT law and in SAP; and that you need to consider the different aspects and teams involved: from purchasing, to sales, to finance, to tax. This gives you a 360°perspective on the business which makes it really interesting.
I have noticed you qualified in VAT while working at Fujifilm. It shows you do not have to be a VAT specialist to work in Tax Technology; there are multiple ways to get into this type of role. Do you see many women working in Tax Technology? Has it changed since you started?
Years ago it was actually difficult to meet anyone into Tax Technology, they were mainly either Tax Managers, or IT managers who frequently didn’t speak the same language and didn’t work together. This has changed in the last years, and we see more people with Tax background working in Technology, and other way around.
I’ve been quite lucky to work with many women in IT from the beginning of my career, and lately in Tax Technology, although the majority still tend to be men. We still have some work to do to attract and coach the new generations into the IT or Technology side of Tax.
It is true at Tytho, the managers were mainly women, so in that sense, you may have worked with more women than the average tax technologist. Do you find working in tax technology challenging to balance with family life?
Not specially, compared to similar jobs. For me it has actually been an opportunity, since I love to travel, meet new colleagues/clients and keep on learning new things.
Who has inspired or mentored you in your career?
No one specifically, although I have very fond memories of my colleagues at Fujifilm, since they had a big influence in my interest and follow up career within SAP Tax Technology.
In your opinion, what are the main trends in Tax Automation?
In the last years we have seen more and more countries in Europe introducing E-invoicing or Real Time Reporting requirements.
We see that companies sometimes underestimate the importance of having a good foundation, (master data, automated tax determination, system configuration) and the impact this has on the information provided to Tax authorities (SII, SAF-T, E-Invoicing, E-Books), no matter which software solution is chosen for the reporting itself.
Tax automation solution itself needs to be more precise and granular, but also very flexible to support all changes in tax legislation without costly and lengthy update projects.
Another aspect is the human side of Tax Technology. I’m very excited to see an increase in interest from Tax managers to understand what is happening in their ERP systems regarding VAT determination, and discuss together with IT what are the best software solutions for Tax Determination, Real Time Reporting, or the future strategy for the company.
When speaking with clients or candidates, they often mentioned how data and a clear data strategy should be the preamble of a transformation project. What would be your main advice for someone who wants to start working in Tax Technology?
Be curious, analytical, ask questions, keep on learning. Try to get a 360 degree perspective: Technology – Tax – Business Processes (I personally think some experience working in the business always helps if you decide to move to consultancy). Speaking the local languages on top of English always helps when you have projects and new legal requirements across the EU.
So true, it always helps to get teams on board with the project if you can speak their language. How do you find working from home? Does it come with challenges? Any benefits?
I’m used to work from home, and I quite enjoy it because I’m more effective and don’t loose time on travelling to the office, but I think it’s also important to have personal contact with colleagues and clients regularly.
With the new technologies it is easy to work from any place with a good connection and working space, but it is also important to find a balance between work time/family time and stay healthy.
Something we have all been made more aware since Covid-19. Now we are easing the lockdown, how are you and your business approaching it?
Deloitte is taking a very safe approach in regards to going back to the office (with many safety first guidelines), but I personally prefer to continue working from home when possible.
I think we will need to see how the situation evolves, and what becomes ‘the new normal’. Working from home has been a challenge for many, specially parents with small children, but also an opportunity to spend more time with the family, I hope that in the future we can find a good balance.
We hear how important is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and life balance to strengthen the immune system. Is this something you have time for?
No travelling time to the office meant more time for the family, exercising, and a healthier diet, so only positive things in my case!
Thank you Neus for sharing about your career path, how your role at Fujifilm has been the pivot to transform your career, find your passion with tax technology, work in multicultural teams and help businesses on their path to automation.