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Customer Story

Baker Tilly Streamlines Specialty Tax Reporting with Alteryx

 

Baker Tilly Key Stats

Industry: Accounting

Department: Specialty Tax – Unclaimed Property

Region: Americas

50%

time savings in report processing

70%

reduction in errors for regulatory requirements

 

As a top 10 advisory tax firm, Baker Tilly is laser-focused on transformation-enabling services. One area of focus for the company is unclaimed and abandoned property, a source of hidden cost and risk for many organizations. The firm leverages Alteryx to simplify the compliance and reporting process for its clients, reduce exposure, and convert risks into recovery opportunities.

 

Battling data volume and complexity

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.

 

We don’t have to work 18 hours just on data manipulation anymore. We have the ability to do more value-added activity.

Maddie Hasiewicz

CPA and Tax Technology Manager, Baker Tilly

 

By automating data prep and analytics with Alteryx, the Unclaimed Property team has reduced the time spent on processing data and preparing deliverables by more than 50%.

The automated workflows also cut out the ever-present risk of human error, ensuring data accuracy. “Using Alteryx, we can provide accurate quality deliverables our clients can trust,” said Eunice. The Baker Tilly team estimates they’ve reduced errors in regulatory reporting by more than 70%. In one client example, reports built in Alteryx were more accurate than a review by auditors, which missed some key pieces of information.

 

The value of upskilling subject matter experts

A major advantage of Alteryx is the ability to give non-technical users the ability to perform analytics in the context of their line of business expertise. With little to no coding knowledge needed to set up a workflow, creating new processes is fast and gaining insights from client data is even faster. “We used to have to reach out to someone with Alteryx expertise to build a workflow rather than doing it ourselves,” said Eunice about the time-consuming process before she upskilled with Alteryx.

 

Subject matter experts who also know how to use Alteryx streamlined the process. It removed the extra step of having to explain what we do, why we do it, and for what problem.

Eunice Yi, Senior Associate for Unclaimed Property

Baker Tilly

 

“It’s almost like a secret sauce that I can speak both languages,” says Maddie. “I’m going to know what factors apply because of my background and being able to use Alteryx to streamline that is huge.” As a consultant, Maddie says it’s also a tremendous comfort to clients knowing the team has deep knowledge around tax law or unclaimed property.

On a personal level, Eunice and Maddie agree Alteryx also enables a work-life balance, eliminating the late nights spent waiting for large files to open and manually applying calculations to fulfill client expectations. Now, they can’t imagine doing their jobs without Alteryx. “Alteryx has never been needed more,” said Eunice, “we can’t run without it.”

 

3 Benefits of Alteryx

Ease of Use

Non-data experts can easily pull data from multiple sources and build workflows and reports.

Time-to-Value

Repeatable workflows can be built quickly, reducing manual and error-prone processes.

Cost Savings

Automating manual processes speeds analytics delivery and reduces resource requirements

 

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