Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Did the Income Tax Dept(ITD) BPR project help PwC become India's best tax team?

In Dec-10, PwC was named(for the 2nd year in a row) India's best tax firm. This award(by a reputed journal) reflects the strength of the Indian practice-which anecdotal evidence also brings out. While the quality of the people and processes is beyond dispute, the question is whether PwC India received an unfair advantage because its international parent PwC executed the BPR project for the ITD from 2006 onwards(as mentioned in this press release).

When BPR is carried out,the consultant understands the existing process in depth and then suggests changes. This insight into the workings of the Departments is very helpful at appellate level and can be obtained by

  1. Recruiting former IRS officers/Superintendents into PwC
  2. Designing the systems itself
While all firms can adopt strategy (1), only PwC was given the chance of (2). This information is certainly of competitive advantage. Though I suppose confidentiality provisions would have been maintained, the issue arises of the proprietary of allowing a tax firm affiliate to understand and redesign the IT Dept systems. 

Takeaway;- Did the ITD invite the wolf  inside its henhouse? This question may take some years to answer but till then, the personnel who worked on that BPR project will be in high demand

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