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The University of Edinburgh Case Study

The University of Edinburgh selects ARKK for digital tax compliance

University of Edinburgh

See The University of Edinburgh's success with ARKK


Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is the sixth oldest University in the English-speaking world. It has five main campuses in Edinburgh city, with many of its buildings situated in the Historic Old Town.

Sporting Nobel Laureates, Turing Award Laureates and Pulitzer Prize Winners among its long line of famous Alumni, Edinburgh University is renowned as a centre of research excellence, with a third of its income attributable to research-related activities.

The problem

  • Finding viable alternatives to Excel heavy, manual tax processes
  • Legacy finance systems no longer fit for a modern tax function
  • Inconsistent data leading to missed opportunities for tax relief
  • Difficulty identifying all goods and services related to Acquisition Tax and Reverse Charging
  • Anticipating and preparing adequately for future HMRC mandates

The solution

The University’s Head of Tax, Alastair McClelland, wanted to find an effective, MTD compliant solution to not only streamline his team’s VAT processes but also future proof the University for other future HMRC electronic initiatives such as MTD for Corporation Tax. With that in mind, he decided against further developing, building and maintaining an in-house linked spreadsheet solution. Aside from being resource-intensive to create, there was no guarantee at the end of the process that HMRC would deem it to be compliant.

While his team looked at some big-named tax technology outfits, it was ARKK that caught their eye. “Because of their size, ARKK were able to be a bit more nimble than other potential suppliers we spoke to. They seemed to be prepared to be more flexible with how we worked and how we were set up”, noted Alastair.

Furthermore, Magda Sidwa-Ciesnikowska, the University’s tax compliance officer, stated that ARKK's Tax Automation Platform, and ARKK's Proprietary Tax Compliance Platform, was flexible enough to adapt to their tax team’s diverse processes.

The outcome

  • Reduce their end-to-end VAT filing time from 2 weeks to 3 days
  • Undertake an effective change management programme to implement digital record keeping
  • Predict more accurately the likely VAT treatment on goods and services in the future
  • Automate complex, resource-intensive tax tasks
  • Focus on forecasting, staff training and identification of future tax relief opportunities
  • Prepare for future HMRC tax mandates in a more timely manner


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