Case study: Ashfield Healthcare

Compliance through automation: How Ashfield implemented tax technology across 10 countries

An overview…

Innovate Tax recently implemented a bespoke solution for Ashfield Healthcare within its Oracle Cloud ERP platform, empowering the market-leading healthcare outsourcing service provider to:

  • Ensure reliable and accurate filing of all indirect tax records.
  • Comply with specific tax rates and legislation across 10 European countries.
  • Respond quickly and effectively to measures introduced to combat the economic impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic, such as the reduction in VAT rates announced by the German government.

Ashfield and its tax requirements

Ashfield provides multiple services – from staff outsourcing to commercial communications and even professional healthcare education. While many of its services are VAT-exempt across many of its operating jurisdictions, the sheer volume of domestic and global transactions as well as range of specific circumstances surrounding each mean its tax determination and calculation system must be capable of rising to meet the most complex of tax scenarios.

The challenges

After implementing Oracle Cloud ERP, Ashfield identified a series of apparent shortcomings related to the platform’s tax capabilities. Requiring a specialist with experience of managing projects covering multiple regimes around the globe, it instructed Innovate Tax to complete a full VAT system review of its Oracle Cloud ERP indirect tax configuration and setup.

The Innovate Tax team, led by Global Solutions Architect, Andrew Bohnet, found the Oracle setup was running incorrectly and was at risk of generating inaccuracies within Ashfield’s tax data.

Among the gaps present within the existing setup were:

  • No Offset or Self-Assessed tax codes for many countries, meaning manual handling was required.
  • No split between goods and services for tax determination.
  • Tax reports were missing important data, including recoverability
  • Minor bugs dating back over two years had not been resolved.
  • Lack of specialist functionality meant a huge number of manual inputs were needed.

The project

Innovate Tax was instructed to implement its best-in-class indirect tax solution to replace the existing configuration. Ashfield identified 10 major European countries in which it required automated tax technology.

At Ashfield’s request, the project was phased and commenced on 23rd September 2019. It included:

Phase 1: Implementation of tax technology and local tax rules, rates and codes for Germany.

Phase 2: Implementation for Spain, the UK and Ireland.

Phase 3: Implementation for Belgium and Austria.

Phase 4: Implementation for Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

Following the requirements gathering stage for each phase, Innovate Tax went live with its solution in a matter of days. All four phases of the project were completed by 1st April 2020 in accordance with Ashfield’s desired itinerary. There are plans to extend Ashfield’s capabilities further by adding tax logic within its Oracle Cloud ERP system for the US and Canada.

The results

Since implementing Innovate Tax’s industry-leading automated tax technology, Ashfield has experienced multiple operational improvements and efficiency gains, including:

  • Reliable and accurate indirect tax payments and reporting.
  • Supports compliance with all taxes, rates and legislative requirements across 10 European countries.
  • Smooth and stress-free integration of complex local regulations in Spain (monthly VAT reporting) and Belgium (time of supply) and subsequent reporting.
  • Seamless integration between Oracle Cloud ERP and third-party systems.
  • Ability to instantly and accurately calculate and adhere to new VAT rates imposed by national governments in response to Covid-19.

During the project, the national governments in both Germany and Ireland announced changes to their respective VAT rates.

As part of its Support & Maintenance package, the Innovate Tax team approached Ashfield each time to inform it of the imminent changes and managed a seamless switch to a new rate, providing Ashfield with the security of instant compliance; in stark contrast to the time-consuming and inaccurate way in which similar changes are often handled manually or by third-party providers.

Testimonial

“Since the integration of the Innovate Tax solution, we have benefited from the peace of mind that comes from knowing our tax liabilities are calculated accurately regardless of which country they occur in and the particular tax that is due.

“Many key tax processes that once required substantial human intervention are now fully automated, freeing our team to make a positive impact in other areas.

“We were not successful in fixing the tax capabilities of our Oracle system with a third-party systems integrator and are thankful to Innovate Tax for providing the specialist expertise needed to transform the way we deal with tax.”

Lawrence Vesey
Future Fit Finance Programme Manager, Ashfield

Key points

  • Reliable automation of tax determination and calculation for a high volume of transactions.
  • Maximising Oracle Cloud functionality to meet Ashfield's precise requirements.
  • A smooth, speedy and stress-free implementation.
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