The rise of Big Data in Austrian tax consultancies : How stakeholders of Austrian tax consultancies assess the potential influence of Big Data

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för informatik (IK)

Abstract: The fact is that every individual leaves behind vast amounts of data, companies collect this data and use the knowledge gained from it in a variety of ways. One area that is lucrative for the use of Big data is the financial sector. A prominent example of the use of Big data is real-time stock market insights. However, there are still industries in which Big data is not yet used for various reasons. One of these industries is the tax consulting sector, which will be the focus of this research. With its high entry hurdles, direct dependence on the legislator, and the associated atypical data sets, the tax consulting sector represents a special use case within the financial sector.   Because big data has not been used in the tax consulting sector yet and that the setting is atypical compared to other sectors, a closer analysis of potential influences on services, the working environment, and quality is of particular interest here. This analysis is the core of this study and was carried out using an interpretative qualitative approach in the form of a case study. In this case study, the three most important stakeholders of Austrian tax consultancies- employers, employees, and clients - were interviewed on the one hand through interviews and on the other hand through a survey with open-ended questions. The results were then compared in the discussion with the changes that studies in other fields have identified.   The results of the study showed that the stakeholders predominantly assume that the quality of services will improve significantly through the use of big data, especially in accounting and business management services. Stakeholders also predicted a positive development concerning the range of services offered. It was also predicted that the range of services offered could increase on the one hand and that services of a business management nature could benefit enormously on the other. In the area of the working environment, employees said that increased training activity and process adaptation would be the only significant changes. In the area of risks, all three stakeholder groups agreed and mentioned data protection. Interesting differences between the three stakeholder groups were on the one hand that the employers gave very detailed answers, which allows the assumption that they have already thought carefully about the topic of big data. On the other hand, in contrast to the other two groups, the employees did not primarily think of their area (work environment) in the analysis, but of that of the clients and thus of the provision of the service. This underlines the strong focus on client satisfaction and encourages a more intensive involvement in the design process.   In contrast to other studies, this thesis analyses the influences on the areas not from a retrospective point of view, but a prospective point of view. This approach allows an unbiased look at the opinions of stakeholders and thus provides the best possible information for the design of big data tools for the tax consulting sector. Besides, by comparing this with changes found in other studies, it is possible to estimate how the use of big data in the tax consulting sector differs from other sectors.

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