communication-1.jpgSometimes in the sales tax world, tax and finance departments need to rely on their IT department to get sales tax added to an invoice correctly or to get reports for various reasons. 

However, there’s often a communication gap between the “business” side of things (tax and accounting departments) and the IT side of things. 

When requirements end up being incomplete and vague the IT developer is left filling in the blanks based on what they know.  If the developer has never been an indirect tax accountant the end result can be software or reports that do not meet requirements.  Either the software is rejected by the user, seemingly unlimited iterations are required, or the project can even be canceled altogether.

Here are a few tips to getting requirements right:


  • Engage subject matter experts and end users starting at the beginning of the project and then continue to engage them in a more agile fashion as you go along.


  • Hold a workshop with the end users to agree on requirements. Focus on the value that your business and end users are trying to achieve from each feature.  Capture requirements based on user feedback and use specific examples to establish the expected end result.


  • Conduct usability testing at each step in the development process.  Making small changes and tradeoffs more often is less painful then finding out something cannot be done later on during the delivery cycle. 


  • It may not be realistic to expect to understand and gather “all” of the requirements up front.  Knowing this, it’s beneficial to have regular conversations throughout the project in order to adjust requirements where needed and avoid hidden surprises.

Following these simple guidelines can help improve the likelihood of success of your IT project.



Anne Birkmann

Written by Anne Birkmann