Live Course | Master | Specialist

Sales Tax Summit: Innovation and Disruption in Tax Technology

July 31 - August 1, 2019
8:30am - 5:00pm, Wednesday; 8:30am - 3:00pm, Thursday
Chicago, IL
15 CPE credits

Sales Tax Summit is a moderated roundtable-style event designed for experienced tax and financial systems professionals who want to deepen their understanding of the impact indirect tax automation can have in their companies.

This in-person roundtable will be discussion based and led by masters in tax technology, tax consulting, and industry. Attendance of the Summit will be limited to a small group of experienced professionals with a focus on those in industry.

Through a series of presentations, solution demonstrations, and in-depth discussions, you’ll explore what is new in tax automation and technology and the trajectory of what the indirect tax function will be able to accomplish. We will also look at ways to help your company innovate to take advantage of different technology solutions.

Learn what’s new and what’s possible in tax automation.

Why focus on sales tax automation and technology?

Companies need tax automation solutions to manage increasingly complex and expanding compliance responsibilities, particularly post-Wayfair. We are in a state of disruption for indirect tax. The world is changing at a rapid pace which makes it almost impossible to keep up. The expansion of sales tax collection isn’t limited to the United States. Globally, the trend is for sellers to collect tax without any local presence. Real time tax remittance and government mandated invoicing systems are already happening in other countries around the world.

Tax technology has changed rapidly in recent years and many companies are not utilizing nor aware of the host of options on the market today. There is data available through tax automation that can inform strategic decision making in sales tax. Decisions that can save you and your company significant time and cash.

The Sales Tax Summit will explore all of this and more. Attendees will learn the latest trends and proven practices in tax automation to implement solutions that are efficient, cost-effective, and cutting edge.

The things we routinely do with tax technology today couldn’t be imagined in the past. The things we may be able to do in the future remain to be seen, but we can be sure that change is coming. We can be equally sure that unless you’re actively involved in driving change it will end up driving you. Developments in technology may not always seem relevant to your business. But they are. And you need to be driving that change rather than being a passenger.”

What do you mean by Summit? How is it different?

The Summit is unlike any other event we’ve held or have seen offered elsewhere.

First, this event is limited to a small group of experienced professionals. It will be a tight-knit crew so that everyone has a chance to offer perspective and participate.

Second, there is an application process to attend. It is not an open registration process. We need to ensure that everyone who attends is able to absorb the very advanced level of the event. We want to ensure all attendees can benefit from the information and share their experiences. See additional information about the application process below.

Third, this is designed for professionals with a superior understanding of sales tax. We won’t be reviewing fundamental concepts or explaining sales tax issues. This is for people who have all of that down and are ready to leverage tax automation to make their companies highly efficient and informed. In fact, we will spend very little time talking about sales tax issues. Rather, we will focus on technology solutions that can help manage the myriad of sales tax issues facing your company.

Additional Details about "Sales Tax Summit: Innovation and Disruption in Tax Technology"

Tax automation is more than just a tool that calculates tax and prepares a return. Tax automation has the power to generate data that can help you and your company make strategic decisions and identify errors well before any audit. Companies need to innovate, not just keep using the same technology that has worked in the past. The sales tax world has been disrupted. We need a whole new way to look at all the processes required to stay compliant.

How do you start leveraging the power of new technology? Where do you begin?

Over the course of two days, Sales Tax Summit will take a comprehensive look at indirect tax automation: where we’ve been, where we are today, where we want to be tomorrow, and how these developments can be implemented to move your company to the next level.

Discussions will explore the latest trends in automation – from artificial intelligence (AI) and bots to data analytics and tax engine optimization. Attendees will learn how to capitalize on the technology available today to start using data to your advantage and bring more efficiency to your department and company.

Effective tax systems planning directly impacts companies’ bottom lines. At Summit, you’ll learn how to communicate this to your leadership to gain their support as well as how to get non-tax departments on board with new changes in tax automation.

Sessions will be led by top professionals in the tax technology and consulting spaces, as well as representatives from industry who will share how they’ve built and leveraged unique tax automation solutions in their companies. Interactivity between attendees and speakers will fuel the Summit.

The event is designed to share your experiences and to solve your specific challenges in order to help your company innovate and manage the disruption.

The event will be limited to a small number of experienced tax pros to maximize involvement and one-on-one time with speakers through a series of presentations, solution demonstrations, and in-depth discussions.

Through these interactions, the Sales Tax Summit will help you develop your course of action and plan the next steps to take with tax automation based on what’s most attainable for your company and applicable to your industry.

The Summit will help tax and financial systems professionals to:

  • Be more proactive in decision making using real time data analytics.
  • Think outside the box in terms of tax automation solutions – there may be unexplored options out there to save your company time, money, and effort.
  • Move from knowing that data exists to knowing what it means so you can become an invaluable analytics advisor in your company.
  • Automate processes proactively instead of reacting to human error.
  • Eliminate internal sample audits and start using 100% data review.
  • Build the business case to convince management of the value of the technology project.

Imagine how indispensable you and your department would become with a complete wealth of tax data at your fingertips that only you know how to truly interpret. You could hold the answers to advanced cost savings techniques and provide strategic guidance to your highest levels of leadership.

Imagine the impact you could have on your company’s bottom line.

About the Presenters

The Summit will be moderated by Diane Yetter with facilitation by Eric Christian, Stephen James and Gary Allen.


Diane L. Yetter | President & Founder, YETTER and Sales Tax Institute

Diane L. Yetter is a strategist, advisor, speaker, and author in the field of sales and use tax. She is president and founder of YETTERTM, a sales tax consulting and tax technology firm in business since 1996. She is also the founder of The Sales Tax Institute, a premier think tank that offers live and online courses to educate business professionals about sales and use tax


Eric Christian | President, ECTaxSolutions

Eric co-founded Sabrix as the original architect of the Sabrix Application Suite. During the growth of Sabrix, he started and led the Development, Tax Research, and Presales teams.  Sabrix was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2009. After leaving Sabrix, Eric joined Ducharme McMillen & Associates where he led teams to architect and develop solutions in compliance, exemption certificate management, and purchasing. In 2014, Eric founded ECTaxSolutions, a boutique firm focused on the advancement and implementation of transaction tax solutions.

Gary Allen | Chief Operating Officer, Cordiance LLC

Gary is the COO at Cordiance LLC, a software and delivery firm specializing in rapid deployment of tax automation solutions leveraging robotic process automation and industry expertise. Prior to Cordiance, he co-founded Sabrix, Inc. in 1999 and led that venture backed start-up to a successful acquisition by Thomson Reuters in 2009. At Sabrix, he led all customer facing divisions including professional services and customer support. After the acquisition, he led product management and software development. He has a unique combination of technology, accounting, and operations experience.

Stephen James | Chief Executive Officer, Cordiance LLC

Stephen is co-founder and CEO of Cordiance, a California-based technology business developing robotic process automation technologies to augment and optimize professional service delivery in the indirect tax automation space. Before his role at Cordiance, Stephen was a Partner at KPMG LLP, where he was National Partner in Charge of KPMG’s US-based indirect tax automation practice and was responsible for KPMG’s indirect tax relationship with Thomson Reuters and other indirect tax technology vendors.


Brenda Cassas | Director Indirect Tax, Acxiom LLC

Brenda is the Director of Indirect Tax for Acxiom LLC, an international digital marketing and technology provider. In her role at Acxiom, she leveraged multiple automation methods to integrate systems and remove manual processes, streamlining work for the Tax Department, billing and accounting. Prior to Acxiom, she was the Director of Sales/Use Tax at Michaels Stores where she led multiple process automation projects and contributed to the Vertex Retail automation solution content.

Brian Ray | Data Science ML/AI Horizontal Practice Lead, Maven Wave Partners

Brian Ray is the Opening Keynote Speaker for the Summit. He is the Data Science ML/AI Horizontal Practice Lead for Maven Wave Partners. Mr. Ray is heading the group’s mission of solving complex analytical problems for major businesses worldwide though the power of Data Science with enablement in the Cloud. A big picture strategist, team builder and influential top technologist, he has extensive expertise in agile delivery of Data Science — from ideation/discovery, to feasibility, exploration, modeling, to engineering and architecture, to hands-on integration and deployment of best-in-class solutions.

Sam Guevara | Principal, Partner-in-Charge, Chicago Ignition-Tax, KPMG

Sam is KPMG’s Chicago Partner-in-Charge for Ignition Tax. In this capacity, Sam is responsible for managing a team of automation specialists and data scientists that are skilled in various emerging technologies such as Alteryx, Tableau and various Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and cognitive automation solutions. Prior to this role, Sam led KPMG’s Transaction Tax Systems group whose focus is with third party integrations for various indirect tax systems with ERP financial reporting packages and specializes in working with Oracle, SAP and PeopleSoft financial applications.


Seth O’Hara | Partner, State and Local Tax, Grant Thornton

Seth is a Partner in Grant Thornton’s State and Local Tax group and leads the Sales & Use Tax Outsourcing Practice. With over twelve years of state and local tax experience, Seth blends his understanding of indirect tax compliance with his tax automation experience to provide best-in-class services to clients. He has executed or managed more than forty tax technology projects for sales, use, communication, and value added tax.


Christine Ashmore | Executive Vice President/Business Development Director, Chicago Crypto Capital

Christine is the Executive Vice President/Business Development Director with Chicago Crypto Capital, LLC. Chicago Crypto Capital specializes in early stage crypto projects, is launching a hedge fund, and offers enterprise solutions to clients looking to incorporate blockchain. At Chicago Crypto, Christine enjoys growing her influence through the creation of strategic partnerships in the blockchain/crypto space; educating and inspiring people of the exciting world of crypto and blockchain is a great passion of hers. Christine enjoys being part of an industry that is changing the world.

Brian Amoah | Managing Partner, Chicago Crypto Capital

Graduate of the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Brian began his finance career as a commodity broker in Chicago, specializing in Energy derivatives. He then traded Gold, Silver, and Copper for a proprietary trading firm before leaving for the tech world. In 2017, Brian partnered with Oliver Young to create Chicago Crypto Capital. After initially focusing on trading and derivates, he spearheaded the company’s transition toward early-stage crypto financing. After participating in several successful projects, Chicago Crypto Capital is now a leading Cryptocurrency advisory firm and Brian is recognized as an expert in early-stage crypto financing.

Application Process

Attendance to the Sales Tax Summit is by application only. You will fill out the short online application detailing your tax experience and your interest in the Summit. Don’t worry, the application won’t be grueling. We just want to know more about you and your unique experience!

You have until May 15, 2019 to submit your online application. It will be rolling admissions process and applicants will be notified on an ongoing basis until all spots are full.

We encourage you to apply early as we have a limited number of spaces for this event. Spots will be first come first served for qualified candidates. If you do not hear from us right away after you apply, please do not worry. All applicants will hear back from us on the status of their application by June 1, 2019.

The application itself is free and we invite all those interested who feel they meet the basic requirements and are able to attend the event to apply. If you are accepted to the event you will only have three business days to accept your spot. Make sure you have approval to attend before you apply!

Basic requirements of qualified applicants are:

  • Experienced in indirect tax or tax systems
  • Responsible for selection, implementation, or maintenance of tax solutions
  • Open to sharing your experiences about what you have tried and implemented so others can learn from you
  • Preference to those working in a corporate tax department
Sales Tax Summit 2019 Topics

Opening Keynote: Technology Innovations and Disruptions

Like any great sci-fi plot will demonstrate, technology can be an enhancer, or it can be a hindrance. Technology is moving at an exponential speed and it is hard to fully understand the impact of innovations. Terminology and functionality can boggle the mind and cause unease. Join us in the session for a forward-thinking view of technology uses in business to help frame the topics of the Summit.

Tax Technology Today: Established & Emerging Trends

As we begin our journey into technology innovation, explore today’s available innovation in technology and how to capitalize on what is out there now. Start to build the business case by examining reasons why companies invest in updated technology including loss of efficiency, loss of effectiveness, and improved accuracy.

Impact of Blockchain & Crypto Currency on Indirect Tax

Blockchain is the “sexy” new concept – but what does it mean? What does it do? Do you even need to understand it? This session will provide a primer on the concept as well as use cases for business transactions. We’ll discuss how these non-traditional transactions can impact indirect tax documentation as well as how states are adapting to these technologies and transactions.

Robotic Process Automation – Powerful, Next-Gen Tools to Accelerate, Enhance and Optimize

The role of software and technology in supporting the tax processes is well understood, but emerging technologies including robotic process automation continue to change the way tax leaders must think about how their function delivers work and value to their organization.  Robotic automation tools accelerate the mundane to more complex intelligent, thinking solutions. We’ll focus on the complex end of the capabilities that Robotic Automation Tools possess and how to show that they have great value and return to the business. This session will also include a demo of an intelligent RPA solution in action.

Making Artificial Intelligence Work FOR, Not Against, You

It can be scary to think about AI and Machine Learning taking over your functions as a tax pro. But should we be embracing this new technology instead of fearing it? Are there applications where AI can help tax professionals add more value than we’ve thought possible?  We’ll look at early applications of AI in the indirect tax space and how to be empowered in your role with this burgeoning tech.

Making Sense of Your Big Data

As technology allows us to automate routine tasks, tax professionals can spend more time analyzing their data to make proactive strategic decisions. But, that means you have to become an analytics pro, and fast! How can you get your brain wrapped around the data? What does it mean? What actions is it telling you to make? This session will include a demonstration of applications in the indirect tax function and we’ll discuss how to interpret the insight presented.

The Continuum of Technology Interacting with Tax Processes

The technology that we consider commonplace today was thought unattainable not long ago. What we think is unattainable today may be standard tomorrow. Understanding the technology continuum and the fact that it is ever changing can be applied to tax processes. Explore alternative technology options and how they can enhance the tax process continuum will allow you to consider what is possible.

Tax Tech Hacks: Simple, But Sophisticated Technology Solutions

In just the past few years the introduction of tools and methods have been staggering. Once understood, these innovations can be leveraged to build solutions that change the status quo. Microservices, REST, Lambdas, queuing services, cloud storage, and others enable the creation of sophisticated solutions with minimal effort and cost. In this session we’ll explain some of the most prominent of these tools and invite others to share their experiences.

Implementing Tax Innovation: The Critical Step

Implementing new tax technology may be met with resistance as these projects can feel like a “disruption”. Learn how to manage the anticipated “disruption” to successfully implement these ideas within your business. Learn best practices to build the business case, get C-Suite support, find funding, evaluate build vs buy options, and vet suppliers. We’ll also examine the human challenges of teaching staff to shift from what they know to become more strategic and innovative with the help of tech.

Closing Keynote: Tax Technology Innovation and Disruption

This session will help you complete the vision, innovation, and the positive disruption you can bring to the indirect tax function in your company. We’ll put the tax lens on and envision what hasn’t yet been created. What could we do without any constraints? You’ll leave the Summit with a new perspective on what is possible and what is yet to come!

Location & Hotel Information

The Sales Tax Summit will take place at the Union League Club of Chicago. The Club is a prominent Chicago private club, conveniently located in the heart of Chicago’s downtown financial district with easy access to downtown Chicago attractions and restaurants.

Sales Tax Summit Group Rate: $209.00 per room + 20% per night surcharge ($250.80 inclusive)

Rooms are available Tuesday, July 30 through Saturday, August 3. Additional Hotel registration information will be provided to accepted applicants.


Additional Location Highlights & Information

Continental breakfast will be provided to all attendees from 8AM – 8:30AM each day. Lunch, snacks, and beverages are also provided.

Unique networking events will include a welcome reception the night before the Summit starts and a special *secret* outing on Wednesday evening in beautiful downtown Chicago. All food and drink is on us at these events so please plan to attend and get to know your fellow roundtable colleagues!