Taxing process automated for telecom giant
As a $131 billion company, Verizon is a multi-national communications and media organization with over 150 million customers worldwide. Every aspect of their financial operations involves their corporate tax department. On any given day, the tax department’s responsibilities can include international operations, retail products and services, state and federal regulations, and tax reporting on acquisitions and subsidiary holdings. The volume of work can make manual processes that much more inefficient.
With over 200 tax managers filing over 260,000 tax returns each year, Verizon’s annual reporting process required extensive manual processes. Often this led to many employees working above 100% capacity. The level of due diligence to avoid human error and deliver on time reporting was taking its tolls. Workflow bottlenecks and blockages occurred frequently, and documentation and tribal knowledge resided with individuals who might call out sick or take a vacation, causing further delays.
The department also lacked a system for the storage and tracking of information. Data was generated from various sources (including email attachments from third parties) and ended up in different systems, such as internal databases, third party web sources and internal file stores. Data was scattered across the department between various owners, some of whom served as the sole proprietors of those data sources.
Most importantly, data quality and limited systems hindered Verizon during tax season—a time of hard deadlines, legally-mandated regulations and only so many hours in a day to complete tasks. The risks were too great to ignore. Verizon mandated the implementation of a new automated process and system that would improve their workstreams by the end of the year.
Led by a seasoned, experienced communications IT manager, Verizon sought a way to implement the most productive platform they could find. They saw an opportunity to introduce a new system with an adoption roadmap that could be embraced by the staff. And they needed a partner in PK to enable each team and user. PK partnered with the tax team through trainings and optimized workstreams to incorporate Alteryx into their work for self-service analytics.
Alteryx is a data science and analytics software solution that can significantly reduce the time and effort spent manually gathering data and reconciling business and legal entities. It visually displays processes, easily verifiable by any reviewer, and generates internal and regulatory reporting. Alteryx is better for compliance because, by its nature, it self-documents. Every step of every process is visually built and laid out in the system, along with annotations. In an industry where audits are commonplace, this built-in system of documentation is essential.
PK facilitated the adoption of a new work system, through instruction, coaching and encouragement. The experience was transformative for the Verizon tax team with time savings alone exceeding 500 hours a year due to the automation of manual processes. We trained more than 100 staff, performed enablement and consulting on over 80 workstreams, across 25 business users with 10 different teams – but the real service we provided was enablement. We enabled each team and user through the consulting process to build off their newfound capabilities for the future, providing exponentially more opportunities for time savings, accuracy in reporting, and production increases.
Thanks to our work, the tax team found themselves earning higher visibility and recognition within the organization and were eager to take on new challenges with their new tools and capabilities. Now able to hit deadlines with some breathing room, the tax department began leading the organization in efficiency and employee satisfaction.