Who will be the 2023 Tax Transformer?
2022 Tax Transformer Awards Grand Prize Winner
Brunswick – Siu Hardin, Manager - Tax Automation and Compliance
Meet the Dream-Team: Corptax, Alteryx, and Power BI
The Brunswick tax team faced mounting challenges, including regulatory changes, data complexity, tight deadlines, new acquisitions, and a hiring crunch—making their manual compliance processes untenable. Their leaner team had to be agile and eliminate manual, repetitive tasks:
- Consolidating Excel state apportionment schedules from all divisions
- Collecting fixed asset data from disparate systems
- Mapping new accounts from their consolidation ERP
- Tracking historical E&P changes on amended returns
After working with Corptax Professional Services to identify data sources and establish best practices, Brunswick used Alteryx to cleanse data and automate calculations, Power BI to visualize and review results, and CSC Corptax® Office and Data Exchange to seamlessly connect those platforms to the wealth of data in Corptax Provision and International, Federal, and State Compliance.
Brunswick says, “the ability to create Alteryx workflows and Power BI visualizations with Corptax data during tax preparation improved planning and transformed our federal, state, and international compliance processes.”
International Compliance – Brunswick uses Corptax Office and Next GEN forms to preload information to Forms 5471 and 8858—and data collect templates to import properties for new entities and populate Next GEN forms.
To eliminate headaches tracking historical E&P and tax pools after filing an amended return, Brunswick queries data from both the as-filed and amended returns, pulls the data into Alteryx to calculate differences, review results in Power BI, and pushes corresponding adjustments back into Corptax as the beginning balance for the current year.
Federal Compliance – For complex Schedule Ms, (UNICAP, depreciation, credits, etc.) Brunswick automates calculations in Alteryx and other tools, eliminating the team’s need to prepare calcs in numerous Excel files. Team members instead become reviewers of results in Power BI. Next, Schedule Ms are automatically uploaded to the system via Office or Data Exchange’s ability to automatically trigger data import when new source files are uploaded.
State Compliance – After Brunswick receives state apportionment files from their many businesses, an Alteryx workflow opens each file, cleans data, and performs calculations. Power BI easily visualizes and helps highlight items that require review. Once reviewed, a file is created to load apportionment data into Corptax via Data Exchange. Templates calculate and load state adjustments (e.g. bonus depreciation) in minimal steps with Corptax Office.
Another Alteryx workflow uses Corptax provision and compliance data to calculate and allow review of state RTP in Power BI.
In addition, Brunswick created Alteryx workflows to map new accounts and load the trial balance through Data Exchange.
Combining Corptax with analytics during tax prep allows team members to review at a high or detailed level and use visualizations to support review and planning.
- Saves 60+ hours eliminating Excel files to calculate and verify historical E&P on all CFCs
- Automates 80% of Schedule M adjustments
- Reduces 85% of manual entries for state compliance
- Relies on technology to file timely, absorb tax changes, and weather short-term labor fluctuations
2022 Tax Transformer Awards Finalists
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) – Fernanda Noronha, Alan Marsh, & Irina Kirova
ADM Closes the Technology ‘GAAP’ to Drive Provision Excellence
The Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) tax team manages approximately 400 controlled foreign corporations in 150 countries. Their decentralized accounting team involved in U.S. GAAP provision comprised 180+ accountants worldwide—many with roles and experience outside of direct tax—and new accountants rotated in every quarter.
ADM performed their U.S. GAAP income tax provision using disparate tax software, consolidating huge volumes of data in Excel. With “very low technology utilization” and without integration across systems, ADM manually entered all data.
The core tax team spent further time:
- Training and managing accountants
- Collecting and consolidating data in different formats from many teams
- Rekeying info and updating numerous tabs in Excel templates
- Tracing and updating several systems and workbooks when amount errors were discovered
To improve the company’s provision process, ADM launched the Income Tax Accounting (ITA) Transformation Project to centralize income tax accounting activities, reduce human resource hours, and automate as many processes as possible.
ADM centralizes activities within a much smaller group and uses CSC Corptax® as its single system of record to transform, automate, and streamline U.S. provision processes.
- Data Exchange imports accounting info into Corptax
- BOTS automates ~40% of tax adjustments based on GAAP balance sheet
- Office loads manual tax adjustments that require more complex support documentation
- Office POV creates data analytics files that support SOX controls, reconciliations, and ad hoc management requests
- Provision posting workpapers execute NOLs utilization and VA entries in tax packages
- Packages and connectors load payments, refunds, and FX rate into the system
Provision is now fully turnkey. When ADM acquires a new legal entity, it’s included in the process and automatically executed.
With fast, easy access to data, the core team can “quickly react to an ever-changing future by making timely decisions that benefit the company.” Increased accuracy and dramatic strides in performance, transparency, and controls improve forecasting and planning analyses.
- 75% of provision is now centralized and automated, a process that previously took ~650 hours per quarter
- 20 provision experts produce the provision vs. 180 accountants balancing other responsibilities
- SOX controls now automatic vs. manual for all entities
- No more rekeying—amounts are imported once, consumed by all reports, and exported to build management reports
With a huge success behind them, ADM isn’t finished yet! They’re currently moving state provision into the Corptax system, automating return-to-provision, building an SAP interface to integrate Corptax-generated journal entries, and much more.
Curran Group, Inc. – Angela Stephens, Senior Tax Accountant
Corptax Office Powers a Business Study, Earning CEO Praise
Achieving work-life balance was the driving force behind Curran Group’s mission to “find the fastest way to get work done, automate as much as possible, and get home by dark during Chicago winters.” The two-person team wanted to streamline compliance by automating manual account lookup, data entry, and calculations—and more quickly gather data for requests from external parties such as the U.S. Census Bureau.
On the planning front, Curran Group operates in close to 50 states, but they hadn’t optimized their filing footprint and structure—and were uncertain about ROI for doing so. Tax wanted to do a feasibility study to know if a change in location and/or filing election for five companies would be tax-beneficial and drive savings.
Curran Group fully leveraged Corptax Office POV’s push/pull functions to accelerate compliance and conduct a study to understand tax and cost ramifications around company location and filing elections.
Compliance: Using Corptax Office, Curran Group saves numerous hours of manual work and reduces errors by relying on a “single set of truth.” Specifically, they pull out thousands of state and federal return adjustments for ~400 returns in a click. Then, they quickly calculate current-year adjustments, compare them to prior-year, and push into Corptax—all in seconds.
In addition to helping with returns, Corptax automates extensions and estimates, giving the team more time to review.
And furnishing the U.S. Census Bureau with data for 10 surveys used to take up to 20 hours per survey. Now, Curran simply queries Office for needed information and gets it in seconds.
Planning: To better understand the significance of company location and filing election, Curran Group used Corptax Office to do extensive scenario-testing. They set up individual cases to keep test data separate from return data. By quickly extracting specific info, changing inputs in Excel, and pushing into Corptax, they rapidly performed a variety of hypotheticals around questions such as: What happens if we file unitary in this state or that state—or stay separate? What happens if we relocate people and operations to this state?
The study took just 30 minutes, and they were astounded to discover the potential for “astronomical” savings.
Curran presented their findings to the controller and CEO who were equally surprised by the cost differentials. As a result of the study by Tax, management is looking more closely at different proposals.
Curran felt the speed with which Office facilitated the analysis made the study possible, saying “If it hadn’t been so fast, we might not have attempted the study to figure it all out—Office made all the difference.”
In short, Corptax gives Curran Group more time to analyze data, do critical thinking, and create tangible value for the company. Corptax Office helped the team:
- Save 200 hours and $10,000 by automating compliance processes
- Spend 30 minutes vs. 25 hours performing the State Feasibility Study
- Spend mere minutes vs. ~110 hours extracting data for 10 U.S. Census surveys
GE Appliances – Leah Huber, Tax Senior Manager
50% Time-savings + $50K Cost-savings = Huge Success
After being sold by General Electric, GE Appliances had the immediate need to build a tax team from the ground up. All prior tax compliance was performed within General Electric—leaving GE Appliances with no tax team. Their goal: use outside resources with Corptax expertise to meet pressing state and local tax return deadlines – then ultimately bring all work in-house.
In an effort to quarterback many moving pieces, the team initially:
- Manually entered state tax apportionment, modifications, and payments
- Manually prepared and updated combined returns due to complex intercompany eliminations
Often, changes to the federal return with an impact on state modifications or state apportionment required the team to manually update or reallocate amounts across state returns.
GE Appliances elected to use CSC Corptax® Office to automate data import and dataflow from federal to state returns. With initial help from Corptax Professional Services, the team developed simple workpapers to push state apportionment, state modifications, and state payments into Corptax via Corptax Office.
Using Corptax Office in year one allowed the team to:
- Seamlessly prepare and update all state and local tax returns 100% in-house
- Reduce total state compliance hours by approximately 50%
Knowledge gained during year one helped GE Appliances increase efficiencies even more in year two by automating all intercompany eliminations. They have:
- Reduced compliance hours by another 15%
- Cut risk associated with entering amounts manually
- Increased confidence in returns filed
Now, GE Appliances:
- Completes returns 100% in-house
- Saves more than $50K per year on accounting firm help
- Deploys time-savings to focus on specialized projects
News Corp – Amir Keshwani, Director, Tax Technology and Operations
Working Smarter not Harder: Reengineering State Apportionment with POVs and Data Maps
News Corp files state returns for roughly 100 entities spanning 48 states. As their footprint grew, it became increasingly important to drive efficiencies in state apportionment and streamline the process wherever possible. Despite using the same data for federal returns and state apportionment, the team utilized two different templates, effectively creating separate processes for the 1120 and state apportionment. Adding to the inefficiencies, every time federal return amounts changed, the team had to revisit state workpapers to reallocate, reapportion, and reimport state apportionment.
Further, New Corp’s apportionment workpapers housed various calculations and separate data import tabs—and there was no way to reconcile imported data to system data. Different sourcing methods were lumped into a single import, making it hard to parse and review information.
News Corp leveraged CSC Corptax Office® POV and data map functionality to transform the process.
Using ingenuity combined with POV power, News Corp fused their federal and state functions, saving approximately 25 hours per year preparing state workbooks for four business units. They also complete the state apportionment process a month earlier than in previous years.
Their new process uses Office POV to pull relevant federal data out of Corptax and centralize it within a few workbook tabs. With pre-built data maps, they review data by state and entity, look at any variances or unallocated amounts, and push adjustments back into Corptax—all in a few simple steps.
And News Corp didn’t stop there. They use POV functionality to pull out imported state apportionment data to see variances between workpaper and system data in real-time.
For each sourcing method, the team imports data into different cases in Corptax, simplifying review and state-to-state comparisons, enabling compliance accuracy, and much more.
Now, News Corp:
- Completes the state apportionment process a month earlier than in previous years
- Saves 25 hours per year by consolidating state apportionment workbooks
- Ensures consistency between state and federal data
- Consolidates state apportionment workpapers and import files
- Aligns data for easy review, validation, and planning
- Ties-out import data and system data in real-time with built-in POV connections
- Produces a clean calculation—now consolidated into one workpaper, calculation, and import process
An added bonus: state now works concurrently with federal and no longer has to wait for the finished return to do the heavy lifting on state apportionment.
Next up for News Corp: incorporating Alteryx so local BUs can instantly input their data into the new state apportionment process.
Reynolds Consumer Products – Scott Wickert, Tax Manager
Time to Spare and No Surprises, Provision through Return
After spinning off from their parent company’s tax department, the Reynolds Consumer Products tax team wanted to reassess and modernize processes wherever possible. Challenges included intricate and fragile legacy provision and return workpapers with numerous interdependencies, tabs requiring external and manual calculations, and the need to update data in a certain order.
The team decided to move away from Excel and leverage CSC Corptax® Provision, Compliance, and Office POV with the goal of transforming their tax continuum to the fullest extent.
After implementing Corptax Provision, Reynolds fine-tuned the process and now automates more than 90% of calculations in Corptax.
They automate trial balance import, adding any new accounts monthly to eliminate extra tasks during busy quarterly and year-end closes. Once they import the TB, most adjustments are computed automatically. State provision is automatically calculated as federal taxable income flows directly, and apportionment percentages flow from prior-year, as-filed tax returns.
Next, they enter state modifications with a single click using Corptax Office and update the Corptax NOL and credit schedules for current year utilization. Once complete, this data automatically flows back to federal provision as the state deduction. Finally, the team reviews tax contingencies and valuation allowances tracked by Corptax, updating as necessary.
Using the state deferred scheduler, Reynolds’ deferred inventory by state automatically reflects current rates as well as enacted rates for future years.
Corptax computes and tracks all this data. Relevant interim and YTD provisional reports—ETR, Deferred Summary, etc.—are complete and in a reader-friendly, consistent format for the team, management, and auditors.
The best part: they do the vast majority of work before the books close, giving them time for detailed, unhurried review—resulting in complete, accurate, and auditor-passed provisions.
Reynolds copies the finished provision to their compliance case, saving time re-importing trial balances, posting auto adjustments, and validating work. Because state returns automatically reflect changes to federal taxable income, they just populate state mods and review for checkboxes and payments before filing. User-friendly Corptax e-filing resulted in zero e-filing rejections their first year filing extensions and returns.
With a single system, all data flows from year-end provision and tax compliance cases, automatically producing return-to-provision. Prior-year tax due automatically flows to state RTP—and both federal and state current and deferred RTPs naturally flow to the correct parts of the provision. Historically a large project, RTP now takes a matter of hours as the reviewed source data is centralized.
Corptax Provision calculates each state’s estimated annual tax; Reynolds uses this data to easily compute quarterly estimated tax payments. After pulling this data into Excel via Corptax Office POV, the team simply layers on adjustments.
With Corptax, Reynolds transformed outdated workpapers and processes into repeatable and consistent methods. Work and reviews are finished before books close. They say, “we don’t experience surprises because we know what to expect.” Plus, the team achieves work-life balance, and audit-approved results garner compliments from management for their consistency and clarity.
- Automates 90% of provision calculations
- Takes 2 people 2 hours to finalize journal entry once TB received
- Working ahead allows 3-week close with deep review vs. 4-day time crunch with minimal review
- Achieves 40-hour weeks vs. late nights and weekends
- Running scenarios takes no extra time with all data stored in Corptax
- RTP takes just hours as reviewed source data is centralized