There are tens of billions of dollars in unclaimed property held in the U.S. and every state has laws regulating the reporting and remittance of unclaimed assets. Unfortunately, unclaimed property laws and the way each state requires property to be reported vary by state, adding layers of complexity to the compliance process. “We have to follow the policies, procedures and regulations for each state,” said Eunice Yi, Senior Associate for Unclaimed Property at Baker Tilly. “That requires us to do research for every report cycle to make sure we’re up to date.”
Complicating the process further is the massive volume of data associated with unclaimed property. “The biggest problem is there are hundreds to thousands of files with up to a million lines or records of data,” said Maddie Hasiewicz, CPA and Tax Technology Manager at Baker Tilly. “The data is coming from multiple, disparate sources like disbursement bank accounts, accounts receivable and payable, and payroll,” added Eunice.
To reduce exposure for the client, it’s critical that every record be processed. “If you have millions of people with small dollars of unclaimed property, that can add up, and could be a huge exposure for the client,” says Maddie, “which is why we go through these processes.”
Manually opening and processing hundreds of large files for clients was taking days, and often weeks, to complete. “It could take up to 500 hours just to get all of the files open and start calculations,” said Maddie. That’s not just time wasted by resources with higher skill sets but billable hours that were passed on to the client.
Improving speed and accuracy with automation
To reduce time spent on repetitive tasks, improve accuracy, and save money for their clients, Baker Tilly now uses Alteryx to automate data prep, processing, and reporting. Leveraging Alteryx Server and Designer, the teams built workflows to consolidate files and apply analytics.
Batch macros, as they are called, streamline data processing from multiple sources and provide a repeatable way to accomplish low-value, manual tasks.