HELSINKI, Dec. 22, 2020
HELSINKI, Dec. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A major IT program that overhauled Finland's national tax system through implementation of software from Fast Enterprises (FAST) has been recognized as the year's best project by the Finnish chapter of the International Project Management Association. The recognition marked the first time in five years that a non-infrastructure project has received the award.
Finnish Tax Administration (FTA), the recipient of the 2020 Finland Project of the Year award, was recognized for successfully completing the tax-system modernization program known as the Valmis program—a high stakes undertaking of national significance and the largest IT program in the agency's history.
"FTA's Valmis program was selected from a list of very important and successful projects, including large-scale infrastructure and construction projects," said Ilama Vesa, chairman of Project Professionals Finland, the association that grants the award. "Without an effective tax system, you can't fund programs and services that are essential to Finland's citizens. This project provides benefits to people throughout the country."
The five-and-a-half-year Valmis program replaced over 70 legacy tax applications with GenTax, a tax-administration software package from U.S. software developer and government services provider FAST. FAST also served as the program's prime contractor, providing FTA with project-lifecycle services to implement all of Finland's major tax and revenue programs in GenTax.
Finland's tax programs, such as corporate and individual income taxes, value-added tax, real-estate tax, and gift and inheritance taxes, were implemented in GenTax and released to production incrementally over the course of the multi-year program. With the final group of tax programs entering production in late 2019, FTA now uses GenTax to manage over €70 billion in annual tax revenue.
In total, the program entailed the training of over 4,000 new users, integration of more than 250 interfaces for exchanging data with other systems, development of hundreds of agency-specific reports and dashboards based on data managed and tracked by GenTax, and execution of over 50,000 system test scenarios. In addition to automating many tasks that required manual work in FTA's legacy systems, the GenTax system also provides web-based taxpayer self-service features that greatly increased the number of tax returns filed online in 2019.
Carmen Kurushima, a FAST associate partner and the company's project manager for the Valmis program, said commitment and coordination between multiple program stakeholders were key to project success.
"Projects of this scope and complexity don't succeed unless there is buy-in and communication from all individuals and organizations involved in the project," Kurushima said. "The entire Valmis team was dedicated to project collaboration and a common goal—successfully implementing GenTax as Finland's modernized tax system."
In addition to FTA and FAST, multiple public and private-sector organizations played an important role on the program. Nortal, a Finland-based provider of consulting and technology services, supported the implementation of GenTax as a subcontractor to FAST. FTA partner agencies and additional organizations throughout Finland and the European Union also provided program support, helping to ensure that interfaces with external systems were securely implemented and tested within scheduled program milestones.
"This was a truly transformational program for FTA," said Virpi Pikkarainen, FTA program director. "It not only changed the technology that we use to manage Finland's tax programs, it also changed our business processes, allowing us to provide more effective and efficient services to our taxpayers."
James Harrison, a FAST founding partner, agreed that the VALMIS program was a major achievement and said that its success is particularly rewarding considering the many challenges on the project.
"When you consider that hundreds of program personnel from different agencies, businesses, and countries were able to successfully modernize a national tax system, it's really an impressive feat," Harrison said. "We're proud that our software, services, and staff played such an important role in the success of the Valmis program."
About Fast Enterprises
Fast Enterprises (FAST) is a leading provider of software and professional services that help governments to enhance customer services, reduce costs, improve the efficiency of internal operations, and maximize return on investment. FAST professionals work onsite with government agencies to implement modernized enterprise systems based on the company's commercial off-the-shelf software products. In production for government agencies around the world, FAST's software is used to manage hundreds of government programs for tax and revenue, driver licensing and compliance, vehicle titling and registration, unemployment insurance tax and benefits, social services, and more.
For additional information or to schedule a call with a company representative, contact Kayla Luckenbach by phone at (877) 275-3278 or email BusinessTeam@FastEnterprises.com.