Organisations are increasingly recognising the need for robust tax technology and strong data analytics. In turn, they're beginning to embrace an improved range of data collection tools, management systems and automation processes to help develop strong information. In the case study below, we talk through the development stage, and how automating tax and data analytics works in practice.
Our client engaged us to develop a reliable data automation platform that could replace their manual processes and help them to embed this new technology. The organisation was looking to automate the process of collating multiple data points for all entities to provide a quarterly update perspective of their tax provisions. These provisions would then be used to amend or update their global tax budget accordingly.
The challenge was that their manual data process was at risk of becoming time consuming and unreliable. Change was needed. It required a dedicated team and resources to manoeuvre through a large database of information and identify key data to extract. The goal was to reduce the risk of inefficient data collection and inaccurate findings from the top down.
Implementing an automated data collection system would save the client time, remove inefficiencies, reduce the chance of human error and create an overall more reliable process for tax provisions. The challenge lay in how to process such a large amount of data quickly. It was clear that a dedicated analytics tools was needed to help filter through this information and ensure that their systems could effectively process current month and quarter data to ensure accurate forecasting.
The data collection tool also needed to be able to forecast corporate income tax (CIT) and withholding tax (WHT) separately. Manually inputting this information was unreliable, and there was a far greater risk of poor data being extracted due a lack of quality control when using this method. Our data automation tool looked to resolve this by spotting errors and prioritising quality metrics.
To take full advantage of tax automation, we needed to have a clear understanding of our clients’ internal systems. We also needed a clear awareness of the overall scope and end goal of the data automation system, which would later help us speed up the implementation process and provide greater consideration for key metrics and information.
The next step was to structure the automation system to suit their needs. We first built Alteryx workflows, which were used to import eight different data sources and create nine separate workflows to cover their range of entities. We then determined which of these entities could be grouped together to make the system as efficient as possible.
Throughout this process, we conducted rigorous testing to compare the automated process against the manual one – both to find bugs and to iterate, fix and retest the system with the assistance of the client. To ensure this was effective, we carried out three days of training to help the client understand the automation system and provided live examples of how to add entities. This process was highly productive in teaching their team how to use the tax automation software and make the most of it in future.
Incorporating an effective data automation system needs a specialist team in place to ensure that it runs correctly within the client’s systems. In this case, the client provided logic based on their individual knowledge of the tax provision process, which we then used to translate into an automated solution. We used Alteryx for the data transformation and Power BI to visualise this information; both tools had already been implemented by the client.
The goal was to save time by identifying specific ways to make their data journey more efficient. Our tax data analytics experts helped translate their metrics into an automated system and avoid inaccuracies. We also helped identify the main components of data and potential risks, ensuring that their tax information was being correctly processed and converted during the late stages of implementation, and easing the transition from manual data collection for their team.
Thorough and precise system testing is essential. Frequent stress testing helped to identify potential flaws and iron them out early in the process. Rigorous testing also provided a fair point of comparison against manual processes and highlighted any major differences within their data to avoid setbacks in the implementation process. This also gave our client greater clarity on their analytics and allowed for stronger scenario planning later on to help the team make better decisions and understand the development.
Running the automated process takes around five minutes to complete. It was found that automating tax processes would save around a week each quarter, or around one month per year. We were also able to identify specific ways to make the data process more efficient, such as grouping entities by how their provision process was completed, which also helped remove human error in the tax automation process.
In summary, tax automation can help you save a large amount of time during the tax process and transform your data methods to make them more efficient. Integral to success is the human factor, however – you need to know that the demands of the tax process are being met and that your automated systems will deliver with efficiency to meet best practice. Our tax data and analytics experts are there to ensure that happens.
Find out more about strengthening your business through automating tax and data processes.