Capgem expects AU$10m from tax conscience deal

Capgemini expects to earn up to AU$10 million from its three-year engagement as quality assurance 'overseer' to the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) AU$350 million change project.Capgemini's chief operating officer, Andrew Johnstone-Burt, said the management consultancy expected to reap that amount from its auditing role, despite no specific dollar value being nominated in its contract with the ATO.

Capgemini expects to earn up to AU$10 million from its three-year engagement as quality assurance 'overseer' to the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) AU$350 million change project.

Capgemini's chief operating officer, Andrew Johnstone-Burt, said the management consultancy expected to reap that amount from its auditing role, despite no specific dollar value being nominated in its contract with the ATO.

The deal will see Capgemini adopt an independent assurance role on the massive project, which is designed to make tax compliance easier and simpler for the taxpayer.

Capgemini's appointment will see it take on extensive oversight of the planning and performance of the ATO's key change partner, Accenture, a consulting market rival.

Johnstone-Burt said Capgemini was undertaking a four-five week initial intensive assessment of the change project, with additional assessments to be done on a work-order basis over the duration of the contract. The change project is due for completion in November 2006.

During that initial intensive assessment, Johnstone-Burt said, Capgemini would examine assumptions made by the ATO and Accenture in project design and approach.

This would be a "top-to-bottom" assessment, encompassing areas such as enterprise architecture, applications and organisational change management, Johnstone-Burt said.

He said Accenture and the ATO had undertaken project definition work "of sorts" and would seek sign-off on deployment of a new Accenture revenue platform design already in place in countries such as the United States, Ireland and Singapore.

The project also entails replacement of the ATO's in-house built core systems with customised off-the-shelf software, while also retiring its legacy systems.

One major selection already announced is that of Siebel's customer relationship management software.

A 150-developer joint development facility in Brisbane -- staffed half-and-half by the ATO and Accenture -- is undertaking design and function specification for the change project. The upgrade is expected to move into full swing if the required approvals are secured.

Johnstone-Burt said Capgemini had been appointed to its "conscience" role in the project -- as it was described by ATO second commissioner of taxation Greg Farr -- as the ATO recognised that a client and business partner needed to avoid sliding into "any form of group thinking" or "clouded judgement".

He declined to be drawn about whether there would be any tension in the relationship between Capgemini and its frequent competitor Accenture, saying only that the working partnership would be "collaborative and useful".

One focus for Capgemini would be reducing the risk of the program, as core applications would run concurrently with incumbent systems throughout the project.

Capgemini would use a core team of 6-8 people to manage the program, with additional expertise recruited from the ranks of the team involved in the consultancy's United Kingdom Inland Revenue project.

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