Communication with the Chambers of Tax Consultants has become much easier for the more than 100,000 members: Since September 19, they have been able to use 24 uniform administrative services online in a new application portal. mgm supports the chambers in implementing the OZG project.
For members of the Chamber of Tax Consultants, submitting applications by mail, fax or e-mail will be a thing of the past as of September 19, 2023. They will be able to access all essential services online. Whereas they used to have to find the relevant chamber and fill out individual forms, they will now find all applications standardized and centralized in the cloud-based application portal of the Chambers of Tax Consultants – be it admission to the tax consultants examination or recognition of a professional practice company. Twenty of the twenty-one Chambers of Tax Consultants from sixteen German states are connected.
The OZG project was implemented in just 14 months under the leadership of the Nuremberg and Munich Chambers of Tax Consultants in cooperation with mgm. The Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS supported the professional associations in the preparation.
“We are pleased that we have overcome federal borders and can now offer our members a more convenient application process,” says Moritz Alt, General Manager of the Nuremberg Chamber of Tax Consultants, who drove and managed the project on behalf of all the chambers. “At the same time, we are now in an ideal position to successively optimize the processes of case processing in the background as well.”
Low-code approach speeds implementation
A key challenge of the project was to harmonize the chamber-specific applications and transfer them into user-friendly online forms. This process was accelerated by a clear division of tasks and the use of the enterprise low-code platform A12. “We modeled the first versions of the online forms based on an Excel spreadsheet in which the chambers had already standardized their paper forms. They were then improved in several iterations in coordination with the cross-chamber application working group established in the project,” explains Tim Bodenstab, who led the project on the mgm side.
To make the application as simple as possible, for example, some input fields are only displayed if they are actually required. Validation rules are used to describe the technical relationships between the requested information. This makes it easier for users to fill in the fields correctly, while increasing the quality of the structured data captured. “With A12’s tools, we were able to model the complexity of the online forms live and coordinate the results directly with the experts at the chambers,” adds Bodenstab.
Authentication via BundID and nPA
From a technical perspective, the portal is based on a microservice architecture and runs in a Kubernetes cluster. For user authentication, two processes were combined: the federal user account (BundID) and the online function of the new identity card (nPA) via the tax consultants platform launched in January. The portal automatically forwards the application data received to the document management system of the relevant chamber. Currently, this is done in the form of a generated PDF file.
Once the background systems have been standardized, the structured data captured in the front end can also be processed directly in the back end. This will open up new possibilities for dark processing, which will make mass processing easier. For example, the chambers process several thousand applications for admission to the tax consultants exam every year.
Expansion Plans: The End of the Classic Application?
“With the launch of the new application portal, we have taken another step towards end-to-end digitalization,” says Moritz Alt. “By gradually standardizing our background systems and migrating them to a modern cloud infrastructure, we are opening up completely new possibilities for processing and reusing data. This will enable us to respond even better and faster to the needs of our members.
For example, in the future, members may no longer have to repeat information they have already provided for a new application by pre-populating certain fields on a “one time, last time” basis, or they may only have to confirm that their information has not changed. But the digital future is also conceivable without any applications at all. For example, once a tax consultants has successfully authenticated himself, he should be able to change personal data directly – without having to submit an additional change request.
More information (only in German):
- Press release: 16 countries – 1 application portal: Nuremberg Chamber of Tax Consultants launches with digital offer
- Insights into the development of the central OZG application portal of the Chambers of Tax Consultants: Interview with Dr. Moritz Alt